Opening Shrinking Space for Non-State-Actors for Inclusive Education
Education plays an important role in developing human capital. It is paramount that the education system, its management and governance are geared towards improving the standard of living.
Lesotho is a signatory to several international conventions, protocols, frameworks as well as local human capital development frameworks such Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, The Sustainable Development Goals and have developed a National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II) tailored upon her global commitments.
Notwithstanding, implementation is low and has not translated into the improvement of a Mosotho child. Watkins (2021) highlights the gender imbalance in Lesotho education in that there are 1.6 girls for every boy enrolled in secondary school.
In Lesotho, education management is a tripartite partnership between government, churches and the community. However, the partnership has for many years been clouded by ambiguity on the respective roles of the said partners and over areas of responsibility and accountability with consequent parallel management structures at school level with regard to accountability as the chairpersons of school boards are nominees of school proprietors whose main qualification is an allegiance to the particular churches not skills per se. Mokotso (2016).
These chairpersons are only accountable to managers appointed by the churches and therefore not accountable to the Ministry of Education (MOE). The manifestation of such non accountability has resulted in maladministration of such schools and learners suffer, especially those from poor households, as the cost of education becomes high and inaccessible.
Lesotho Council of NGOs’ (LCN) problem tree analysis revealed inadequate civic space and advocacy on one hand and lack of accountability, implementation and reporting from the ministry of education, on the other. Khati (2007) and Mohlerepe (2010) pointed out that civil society is weak and lacks the capacity on social accountability tools to demand accountability from duty bearers.
This has exacerbated poor education management in Lesotho as the government has no pressure to be accountable. The result is that there is no return on education investment yet the government allocates around 16% of the recurrent budget to education.
Boy child learners from poor families, the rural mountains and the Senqu Valley from the north eastern part of the country suffer most as they only share 40% of the budget allocation yet their region contribute 80% the country royalties such as water and diamonds.
The goal of the action is to have a strengthened and capacitated civil society and more transparent and accountable education public institutions. The action will enhance participation of coalition members in education management by equipping them with social audit and accountability tools to demand accountability and also to empower parliamentarians on their oversight role. It will further train the school boards and school proprietors in the Senqu Valley on education management and governance and further use human rights-based approach and gender mainstreaming as a point of reference to achieve intended results.
Subsequently, there is increased accountability from duty bearer’s leading to improved service delivery especially quality education outcomes and quality of life is improved.
An earlier phase of the project was implemented in 2020-2021 with support from Education Out Loud.