Education and Training Deputy Minister Thabang Kholumo says “over 3000” qualified teachers remain jobless.
Mr Kholumo made the revelation when addressing Workers’ Day celebrations at Teyateyaneng LECSA Primary School on Monday.
The deputy minister said Lesotho faces a serious challenge of lack of employment while scores of graduates leave tertiary institutions each year.
“We have over 3000 qualified teachers who remain jobless and loiter in our streets every day, stranded. I should mention that these are jobless teachers who have registered on the unemployment list with he ministry. This means there are even more jobless teachers who have not registered their names for various reasons,” he said.
“Soon there will be more teachers graduating from the Lesotho College of Education (LCE) and National University of Lesotho (NUL) to add to the jobless list. The number of teachers on the streets is increasing at an alarming rate. We even have teachers working in textile factories and other sectors and doing jobs way below their qualifications. But because they don’t have a choice, they take the jobs.”
Mr Kholumo appealed to all such teachers to register with the ministry “because the government is doing its best to see how we can place them where there are vacancies”.
He further said the ministry was currently reviewing the country’s education law in order to accommodate such graduates.
“Our intention is to have all teachers employed by the government and not churches, like it is the case as we speak. This is because it has come to our attention that church authorities delay to employ teachers even where vacancies are available. This has also contributed to this challenge of serious unemployment,” said Mr Kholumo.
He added with the government taking responsibility over the employment of teachers, “we will be in a position to speedily fill the vacancies”.
The ministry, he added, was also working towards reducing the retirement age for teachers “so that they can retire early to increase employment opportunities for young teachers. This will assist reduce the large numbers of jobless teachers on the streets, which I have already alluded to.”
Mr Kholumo also said the ministry recently ensured teachers who improved their qualifications while already employed were remunerated in line with their latest education.
“We started in December last year to pay up teachers who improved their qualifications while at work. We are doing this in batches because there are also too many of them, dating from many years ago,” he said.