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Trade ministry donates ICT, hospitality equipment to Fokhothi

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Nthatuoa Koeshe  

THE Ministry of Trade and Industry has handed over M2 million worth information communication technology (ICT) and tourism and hospitality equipment to Lerotholi Polytechnic.

The equipment included computers, kitchen equipment and utensils, cutlery, camping tents, teaching equipment and hiking gear. It was handed over to the institution on Wednesday.

Lerotholi Polytechnic rector, Professor Sepiriti Tlali, said the equipment would immensely improve of the institution’s teaching processes and enhance the students’ learning.

The equipment would also aid the institution in aligning its courses with the Lesotho Qualifications Framework which requires that lectures should be conducted using state of the art equipment.

“The donation is going to be instrumental in some initiatives that we are currently involved in,” Prof Tlali said.

Lerotholi Polytechnic, also known as Fokhothi, is resuscitating its cafeteria for both students and staff and the equipment will come in handy apart from aiding the learning processes, he said.

Trade Minister, Thabiso Molapo, said the handover was a great milestone in the development of Lesotho’s tourism and hospitality sector.

Dr Molapo said the initiative was in line with the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) and the National Tourism Policy’s strategic vision of developing Lesotho into a quality destination and making the country the preferred tourism destination.

“The equipment comes at the right time when our country is facing a myriad of unemployment challenges which are worsened by the considerable mismatch between the skills and knowledge that graduates acquire and the needs of the industry and business.

“It also comes at the time when the country is just beginning to recover from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economy,” Dr Molapo said.

He said his ministry, through the Economic Diversification Support Project (EDSP) was supporting the Tourism Environment and Culture ministry in engaging a company that will provide advisory services regarding the development of well-equipped tourism training facilities at the institution. This is meant to develop a workforce with market-oriented skills in the tourism and hospitality sector.

“The ultimate objective is to create sustainable jobs and to contribute towards poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth through tourism. This intervention coincides with the completion of the Lesotho apprenticeship strategy to address the skills mismatch between the training offered by higher education institutions and the skills required by industry.

“The support will catalyse the piloting of the strategy in the tourism and hospitality sector while complementing the operationalisation of the tourism training facilities at Lerotholi Polytechnic,” he said.

Deputy Education and Training minister, ‘Maletsema Letsoepa-Lenkoane, said the quality of teaching and learning at the institution has been improving due to the support from the Trade ministry since 2020.

“Hospitality and tourism studies will flourish even more with this donation. Students and lecturers will interface more professionally and effectively because of these improvements and the institution will continue growing,” Ms Letsoepa-Lenkoane said.

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