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Students push for teaching practice suspension

teachers‘Mantoetse Maama

Second-year students at the Lesotho College of Education (LCE) have asked management to suspend the deployment of trainee teachers to schools under the Teaching Practice (TP) programme.

The three-year teacher-training programme comprises two years at the college, with the second one, dedicated to attachment at schools around the country.

Following an impasse between the college and lecturers over salaries, the tutors last month decided to withhold students’ end of year results, insisting they wanted to see their salaries adjusted first before they could release the results.

Consequently, last year’s first-year students cannot proceed with the course because of the absence of the results.

To make matters worse, without first year results, the students cannot renew their sponsorship contracts with the Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS).

Three weeks ago, the students demonstrated on the college’s premises demanding their results, and also held the Rector hostage, insisting they would not let him go until their grievances had been resolved.

The President of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), Gibson Matlenya, onFriday said the learners had written to the college management requesting the suspension of the internship.

“The second-year students’ results were supposed to be released in December but our lecturers were on strike complaining about their salaries. Unfortunately, their strike coincided with the date for the submission of our results into the college’s system,” Matlenya said.

Matlenya further said failure to get their results had caused untold suffering to the students.

“The students have not renewed their contracts with Manpower because they don’t have their results.”
Matlenya also said he had a meeting with the Minister of Education, ‘Makabelo Mosothoane on Friday, after writing a letter seeking her intervention on the matter.

“We wrote to the Minister on Thursday and on Friday she invited us to a meeting where she told us that she would attend to the matter as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, repeated attempts to get the college management’s side of the story were fruitless, while there was also no immediate comment from minister Mosothoane.

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