Education in Lesotho
Lesotho has made significant progress in its efforts towards Education for All by introducing Free Primary Education from 2000 through 2006, which was then reinforced to Free and Compulsory Primary Education by law in 2010. The net enrollment ratio in lower basic education increased from 82% to 95% between 2000 and 2010, and the gross enrollment ratio in grade 1 was 98% in 2014. Furthermore, the government engages in tangible efforts towards financing its system.
The education sector is allocated 23.3% of the government’s recurrent budget on average, which corresponds to 9.2% of the national GDP. Still, a diagnostic study conducted in 2015 highlighted that the education sector faces major challenges including:
- Poor retention rates at primary and secondary levels,
- Low student learning outcomes/achievements,
- Graduate with inadequate skills for the job market,
- High inefficiency in the system,
- HIV and AIDS, and
- Poor school governance.
In addition to these, the sector lacks adequate facilities and displays disparities across districts. For instance, mountainous districts experience difficulties to attract and retain teachers and show poorer performance compared to lowland districts.
To address these challenges, Lesotho has set strategic objectives in its Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2026, which are to:
- Reform the national curriculum and assessment system to meet the needs of Lesotho.
- Improve access to comprehensive early childhood care and development, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
- Increase access to quality free and compulsory Lower Basic Education.
- Increase access to quality Secondary Education.
- Increase access to Technical and Vocational Education.
- Improve relevance of programs offered at Higher Learning Institutions.
- Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Non-Formal Education delivery
- Curb the spread of HIV and AIDS among sector employees, teachers and learners by 2025
- Improve strategic information, planning and accountability at all levels of the sector.
All amounts are in US dollars.
Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.
Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)
Primary Completion Rate (%)
Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)
Out-of-school Children Rate (%)
Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)
Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)
Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)
Teachers Trained (%)
GPE in Lesotho
The latest GPE-funded program in Lesotho was completed in April 2015. The project objective was to provide improved facilities at existing primary schools, support and contribute to expand access to pre-primary education, and support improvements in teaching quality.
The three components of the grant were:
- Improve the quality of primary school infrastructure through providing additional fully furnished primary gender and disability friendly classrooms, and toilet blocks.
- Support and contribute to the expansion of pre-primary education through procuring caregivers, learning materials, catering services, and additional reception classes.
- Contribute to improvements in quality of teaching through analyzing conditions of education service delivery, increasing the qualification level of the teaching force, providing additional in-service teacher training, and distributing textbooks.
The GPE funding contributed to progress in the education sector through the following outcomes:
- 3,682 additional students enrolled in classes supported by the program
- 143 classrooms at the primary level built, rehabilitated, and furnished, and 3 toilet blocks constructed.
- Student-teacher ratio in primary schools reduced from 59:1 to 45:1.
- 380 additional qualified primary teachers and 11,158 teachers and principals trained in the new curriculum
- 1.1 million textbooks purchased and 928,276 textbooks distributed.