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Schools’ poor performance worries education minister

MASERU — Education Minister ‘Makabelo Mosothoane says the ministry is considering introducing performance-based contracts for principals.
The minister was speaking at a press conference to announce the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) result on Friday.
She said the ministry was concerned that some principals have been on the job for years but their schools are underperforming.
“We are considering introducing performance-based contracts for principals as some schools never improve their performance,” the minister said.
“Contracts will be renewed based on the school’s performance. The quality of education is deteriorating. There is one school that had 80 candidates who sat for exams but they only have a few second classes.”
“There was a conflict between teachers and the principal. School boards, principals and teachers should work together”.
The results were published on Saturday morning.
“May I remind the nation that we will be taking COSC examination for the last time in 2013. Thenceforth, this examination will be replaced by the Lesotho General Certificate of secondary education (LGCSE),” Mosothoane said.
She said the ongoing in-service training of high school teachers is intended to prepare for this change.
Mosothoane said the ministry was concerned with the declining education standard in schools.
“This is unacceptable in view of increasing expenditure on education and I want to promise the nation we will work
round the clock to redress this situation,” she said.
She said the percentages of candidates in the first and third class division have decreased compared to 2011.
The percentage of students with second class improved slightly.
“A total of 13 855 candidates had registered for the COSC examination in 2012. However, only 13 739 of those who had registered managed to sit for the examinations. Out of the 13 739 who sat the examination, 7 616 obtained a School Certificate (SC). The overall SC passes have decreased by 1.4 percent in comparison with those of 2011,” she said.
She said 658 candidates obtained a first class pass, reflecting a 0.6 percent decrease.
The minister said there was a 0.8 percentage increase in the number of students who obtained a second class pass in comparison with 2011.
Mosothoane said 5 998 candidates managed to get a General Certificate of Education (GCE).
The percentage of candidates in this category has increased by one percent from the previous year.
The least performing districts were Thaba-Tseka and Quthing with 46 and 43 percent.
The best performing district was Berea with a 62 percent pass rate.
Mokhotlong was second with a pass rate of 61 percent.
For principals whose schools underperform their contracts will not be renewed.
There will be new positions for regional manager who will monitor the education inspectors who go around schools to make sure that students are getting quality education.
She said students should not be allowed to loiter in streets and bunk classes.
The minister congratulated four students who achieved an aggregate of six each.
They are Mabote Robert Thabiso (Tsakholo High School), Mokobocho Moeketsi (Lesotho High School, Monaheng Liepollo (Lesotho High School) and Mothala Lineo (St Stephen’s High School).

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