Maseru, Jan. 22 — Teachers’ unions have raised concern following the decision to turn the closed Moshoeshoe II High School into another campus for Lerotholi Polytechnic fondly known as Fokothi.
The school was closed in December 2021 by former Minister of Education and Training, Mrs. ‘Mamookho Phiri on the basis that the school buildings were not in good shape and therefore were hazardous to both students and teachers. She had said that the school would be closed for the whole of 2022 while working on the structures. It was supposed to reopen in 2023 but that did not happen.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) General Secretary, Mr. Letsatsi Ntsibolane said that as stakeholders in education, they were not aware of the decision saying that they last learned of the school closure of which they were also not engaged or consulted.
He said that the school was closed on allegations that it needed revamping as structures had dilapidated saying that it is unfortunate that there was no maintenance work done since its closure and instead it is being given to Lerotholi Polytechnic.
He said that schools are needed to cater for children so that they do not travel long distances saying that in this case Moshoeshoe II High School was serving many villages within the Matsieng area.
“It is unfortunate that instead of improving the school, the government decides to turn it into Fokothi campus without care of how the closure has impacted the community, students and teachers as well. This is a classical example of leaders we have,” he said.
He emphasised that this is not a good move at all saying that there are many empty factory shells which could have been used to accommodate Lerotholi Polytechnic.
He added that the Ministry of Education and Training should advise itself and seek consultation from relevant stakeholders.
On the other hand, former school board Chairperson Professor Tefetso Mothibe told the Agency that they were approached by Lerotholi Polytechnic management saying that the school’s patron King Letsie III agreed to the proposal.
He indicated that they held gatherings with the community where they informed them of the changes saying that they were pleased and embraced the initiative.
He said that this came at an opportune time saying that it is going to bring big change into the area. He highlighted that parents were no longer taking their children to Moshoeshoe II because of the problems it had saying that the roll had also decreased.
Moshoeshoe II High School was founded by the late King Moshoeshoe II around the 1970s and when closed, it had a roll of about 200 students.