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Teacher wins competition promoting use of technology

Lerato Matheka

MASERU –— Toloane Primary School teacher, Thejane Malakane, was on Friday named winner of a local competition to promote the use of technology in schools.

Mpho Phakisi from Phethahatso English Medium School came second while Matela Monaheng came third out of 12 teachers who took part in the 2011 Lesotho Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Teachers Forum competition.

Malakane and Phakisi walked away with a laptop each while Monaheng received a digital camera for his efforts.

Malakane also won sponsorship to enrol for an Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) at the University of the Free State.

The three will now represent Lesotho at the 2011 Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Education Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, in August.

The competition focused on how teachers can use technology to transform teaching and learning in Lesotho’s schools.

Speaking at the ceremony at Lesotho Sun Hotel, the chief education officer in the Ministry of Education, Ratsiu Majara, said Lesotho’s education system must respond to the country’s needs.

“Gone are days where jobs were readily available for graduates from our formal school systems,” he said.

“There is now growing need to inculcate basic scientific and technological literacy because we have to produce students and graduates who can grasp concepts of innovative thinking.”

Majara said the ministry is aware of the critical role Information Communication Technology (ICT) can play in enhancing effective teaching and learning.

“We are embracing the Public Private Partnership strategy to encourage the use of ICTs in our schools.

“It is in this context that a partnership was forged with Microsoft to improve Lesotho’s education system by enabling teachers to witness how various ICT solutions can be used to effectively deliver better curriculum,” he said.

Dr Kasongo Kalanda, who manages the Lesotho School of Technology and Innovation Centre, said teachers were showing growing interest in the use of technology in schools.

“For the past three years we have had primary schools participating but this year we saw two high schools taking part,” Kalanda said.

He said if the teachers win in Turkey they will take part in the World Forum for Teachers to be held in Washing DC in the United States.

First prize winner, Malakane, said he was delighted by the win.

“I am very happy and proud of my project.

“I had anticipated the victory, this triumph is for my students, they did a lot,” he said.

Malakane’s project was titled Wondrous Agave.

It came from the students’ observation that there was an abundance of aloes around their school.

They found out more about this plant of Lesotho through investigation and collaboration with a traditional healer, the community, a local radio station, the Morija Museum and Archive and the Morija Scott Hospital. 

The class then produced a ‘photo story’ to document their findings. They also produced items such as chairs and key-holders using dried aloe.

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