In Lesotho, there is a gap between what the Government of Lesotho (GOL) and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) expect for teaching and learning in primary schools and the quality of actual teaching practices of rural primary school teachers. While MOET promotes the use of child-centered, interactive pedagogies, classroom teaching remains largely teacher-centered and focused on preparing for national exams. This study explores reasons for this gap, focusing on the teaching practices used by teachers and their perceptions of their skills and training. A case study approach was used to gather data from a wide variety of sources. Interviews with teachers and MOET officials, classroom observations of teaching, and review of key GOL and MOET documents were all employed. The study reveals that teaching and school activities in rural primary schools in Lesotho have changed very little in the past 30 years, and that teachers’ understanding of child-centered pedagogies is limited. While the MOET identifies teachers as the primary reason for the poor quality of education in the country, this study suggests that teachers alone must not be blamed, identifying a web of interrelated factors that contribute to poor quality. These factors include poor quality teacher training programs, lack of consistent training opportunities for principals, and lack of support and supervision at the district and national levels of MOET. It is hoped that these findings are useful in informing policy aimed at improving the quality of education in Lesotho. The reports of teaching and learning activities at the classroom and school level provide data that is essential, particularly because there is a lack of classroom-level data since the introduction of Free Primary Education in Lesotho in 2000.


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | International and Comparative Education