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‘Call to prioritise mentorship in schools’


Limpho Sello

EDUCATION and Training Minister Dr Mahali Phamotse has called on school principals to prioritise mentoring their students to create tomorrow’s leaders.

Addressing heads of schools from around the country on Friday during a three-day conference held at Lehakoe Club, the minister said mentoring future leaders was essential for development.

Organised by the Lesotho School Principals’ Association (LESPA), the conference was held under the theme ‘Changing leadership for now and for the future’.

Dr Phamotse said the conference theme was appropriate since leadership was an essential component for the advancement of society.

“This is a wonderful theme because, in these testing times, leadership is very much needed today and tomorrow,” she said.

“Today’s leader should pave the way for the leader of tomorrow, and in your case, tomorrow’s leaders are those students you teach in your schools.”

The principals’ main task, said Dr Phamotse, was to ensure their students are prepared for modern-day challenges.

“What you do today as you lead and manage those schools should show that the times are really changing. The kind of leadership you provide should equip your students for the 21st century and even the 22nd century,” she said.

“As far as I am concerned, the changing times call for highly responsible principals who will always remember that they are the first inspectors or supervisors of the schools they lead.

“They should also be the ones to lead and give direction in the Ministry of Education and Training’s policy implementation. The changing times also call for well-resourced schools in all respects that will allow proper implementation of all policies.”

Dr Phamotse further said the ministry was working towards implementing performance-appraisal systems for teachers and finalising principals’ performance contracts.

The minister said government would soon introduce a special course for prospective principals “as it is not everybody who can become an effective principal”.

The ministry also intends to put in place a process to be followed in the selection of potential school principals, she added.

“It is not everybody who is a born-leader. Therefore, attracting suitable candidates to become principals is very important,” she said.

Dr Phamotse also said the ministry would soon introduce an induction and mentoring process of newly-qualified teachers to ease the work of principals, and also implement continuous professional development for all practicing teachers and principals.

“The curricula at teacher-training institutions should also be reviewed so that it matches what is taught in schools. Information and communications technology should be an integral part of the curriculum as it is a crucial requirement in the changing times.”

The minister added a policy which mandates every principal and school board to come up with improvement-plans that would be monitored by the ministry was in the works.

For his part, LESPA Acting President Tsietsi Tshabalala said principals had an obligation to produce people who would contribute positively to society.

“We, as educational leaders, need to produce strong, healthy and hardworking citizens that will bring positive changes to society,” Mr Tshabalala said.

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