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Union fights downgrading of education standards

Lijeng Ranooe and Moorosi Tsiane

THE Lerotholi Polytechnic Teachers and Non-Teaching Staff Union (LPTANSU) has vowed to fight until the institution’s management reverses  some major changes it made to curricula including the downgrading of  the examinations qualifying mark from 40 to 30 percent.

According to an internal circular from the Lerotholi Polytechnic Senate issued on 25 January to staff, students and Students’ Representative Council (SRC), the decisions were made with regard to academic regulations based on clause 2.1 of Academic Regulations 2014.

LPTANSU petitioned the school management on Tuesday, giving them until Wednesday to have address grievances.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express recently, LPTANSU secretary general, ‘Manthabiseng Mahloko, said the management has since requested for more time to discuss the matter before they can respond next Tuesday.

Among other concerns, LPTANSU is unhappy with the institution’s decision to suspend course prerequisites (foundation or basic courses), downgrading the examinations qualifying mark from 40 to 30 percent, and the eligibility of students to write special examination of the course they did not attend.

“Suspending prerequisites is an injustice to the quality education the institute is expected to provide; prerequisite courses are put in place for a reason,” Ms Mahloko said.

“Having special exams for students who have failed these courses without the guidance of lecturers throughout the semesters only exerts a lot of pressure on students. There are no mechanisms put in place to ensure guidance is provided.”

LPTANSU also accuses the management of taking major academic decisions without consulting relevant stakeholders.

“Management has not consulted the committee before making these changes. As stakeholders, we should have a say in the matter. We were only told bluntly that these changes were with immediate effect, despite the fact that the changes are against the school regulations. We are concerned about the low requirements, which management has put in place. If students are expected to only get 30 percent for the entire semester and then go to exams and expected to get 70 percent to have a 50 percent grade average to pass the course; to us this seems unrealistic,” Ms Mahloko said.

“As a way forward, we urge the management to revisit and reverse all their decisions and align all changes to the school rules and regulations.”

Ms Mahloko said they will until next week to hear from the management.

“We are not going to take this lying down. We will fight until this matter is resolved. Our concern is that, these decisions are not in the best interest of both the Students and Basotho at large, but rather are going to degrade the quality of our education. You can just imagine a situation where a student failed to pass the foundation course and then is expected to go and do the main course, which is even more demanding,” she said.

Ms Mahloko urged the management to work in harmony with the school staff in the matters that affect them directly while at the same time, management should adhere to the rules and regulations of the Council of Higher Education (CHE).

Efforts to get a comment from the school authorities were fruitless.




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