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Illegal schools scramble to register

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

MASERU — Unregistered schools are scrambling to comply with the new Education Act 2010 to ensure they are able to operate when schools reopen in January.

The government in October gave the unregistered schools a November 30 ultimatum to either register with the Ministry of Education or face closure.

The Attorney-General’s Office wrote to the illegal schools on October 18 warning them to comply with the new education requirements.

The ultimatum triggered a frenetic response from the illegal schools as they sought to comply with the new education law. The Association of Private Educators (Assope), an organization that defends and promotes the interests of private schools, says it is trying to save its members from the education ministry’s axe.

Assope vice-chairperson, Motlatsi Mokhoeea, said some of their members had already submitted applications for registration to the education ministry. Mokhoeea said the association, which was formed in 2003 and has about 70 members throughout the country, was working hard to ensure their members are spared the axe. “We are trying to help schools that put together the needed registration requirements to apply,” he said.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure that schools that can qualify get registered.” Mokhoeea said private schools which were still to meet the requirements for registration would have to wait until next year to register. “We have also appealed to our members who were still to prepare their requirements to be patient,” he said. “They will have to put business on hold when the next academic year begins while they are still trying to meet the requirements for registration of their schools.”

Education Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla told the Sunday Express on Friday that the ministry was still conducting an audit to see which schools to shut down. She said schools whose registration was underway would be spared the axe to allow time for their applications to be assessed.

“I can’t really say if there are any unregistered schools which have been legally closed yet,” Khaketla said. “Some schools are still being audited.” The government says the decision to shut down illegal private schools will bring order in Lesotho’s chaotic education sector. There are however fears that many of the illegal private schools which were operating illegally are unlikely to meet the stringent requirements under the new Education Act 2010.

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