Free and compulsory primary education in Lesotho : democratic or not?

Potjiri, Elizabeth Tello (2004-12)

Thesis (MEd)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The central question of this thesis is whether free and compulsory primary education in primary government schools of Lesotho has the potential to be thickly democratic. I hold that the Free and Compulsory Primary Education (2000) policy is a less democratic project because it is characterised by principles of thin democracy. My claim is that free and compulsory primary education in Lesotho can be more democratic if there is balance in the demand for equity of access in the FPE (2000) project. I hold that in order to succeed in further democratising the Free and Compulsory Primary Education (2000) programme, the whole process, but primarily the structures of education, should be anchored within thick democratic principles. Although primary education is regarded to have changed, this change has been illusory or superficial (meaning that it is still essentially the same as the colonial one), as it did not affect the structure and value systems governing the delivery of education. The reported conflicts that have come to the fore after independence have been mostly on matters of strategy rather than differences in terms of the values that drive the delivery of education in Lesotho. The focus of Lesotho's education has remained on an elitist and outwardly looking minority. This powerful minority remains geared towards the acquisition of a Western type of education driven by Western values. Lessons and opportunities that could have been learnt from Sotho (pre-colonial) educational experiences and which were regarded as democratic have been lost. I contend that a democratically driven education system has to draw its inspiration from the principles of thick democratic education. An effective and transformational educational system requires the commitment of those in political leadership as well as those in charge of education. This commitment must include a desire to implement an education system that transforms people's worldview qualitatively to put them at the service of their nation. I hold that the value of education in Lesotho can be successful when it is capable of producing men and women of the highest integrity, honesty, tolerance, responsibility and accountability. The education system should produce individuals who are hard working, patriotic, well mannered and committed to serving their society. Education should be able to equip each and everyone to contribute meaningfully to the development of the nation. Finally, the teaching of thick democratic attributes must be founded on the bedrock of a successful education system in Lesotho from the lowest classes or grades. KEYWORDS: Free and compulsory education, democratic education, quality education, equality in education, thick and thin democracy in Lesotho.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die belangrike vraag in hierdie tesis is of gratis en verpligte primêre onderwys in primêre skole in Lesotho die potensiaal het om "dik" demokraties te is. Myns insiens is die beleid van gratis en verpligte primêre onderwys (2000) 'n minder demokratiese projek aangesien dit deur die beginsels van onvoldoende ("dun") demokrasie gekenmerk word. Ek voer aan dat gratis en verpligte primêre onderwys in Lesotho meer demokraties kan wees indien daar 'n balans in die vraag na gelyke toegang in die Gratis Primêre Onderwys-projek (2000) bestaan. Ek meen verder dat die hele proses, maar hoofsaaklik die onderwysstrukture, in demokratiese beginsels veranker behoort te wees ten einde die verdemokratisering van die program vir gratis en verpligte primêre onderwys (2000) suksesvol deur te voer. Alhoewel daar gereken word dat primêre onderwys verander het, was hierdie verandering denkbeeldig of oppervlakkig (waarmee bedoel word dat dit steeds wesenlik dieselfde is as die koloniale onderwysstelsel), aangesien dit nie 'n invloed gehad het op die struktuur en waardestelsel wat die lewering van onderwys beheer nie. Die konflikte wat aangemeld is ná onafhanklikwording het meestal te make gehad met kwessies ten opsigte van strategie eerder as verskille met betrekking tot die waardes wat die lewering van onderwys in Lesotho beheer. Die fokus op onderwys in Lesotho het gerig gebly op 'n elitistiese en uitwaartse invloedryke minderheid wat ingeskakel het by die verwerwing van 'n Westerse soort onderwys wat deur Westerse waardes gedryf word. Lesse en geleenthede wat uit prekoloniale Sothoonderwyservaringe geleer kon word en wat as demokraties beskou kon word, het verlore gegaan. Myns insiens moet 'n demokraties-gedrewe onderwysstelsel sy inspirasie uit die beginsels van demokratiese onderwys kan put. 'n Doeltreffende en transformasionele onderwysstelsel vereis die verbintenis van diegene aan die roer van sake ten opsigte van leierskap in die gemeenskap sowel as diegene in beheer van onderwys. Hierdie verbintenis moet getemper word deur 'n behoefte aan die implementering van onderwys wat mense se wêreldbeskouing op kwalitatiewe wyse transformeer ten einde hulle in diens te stel van hulle nasie en die mense. Die waarde van onderwys in Lesotho kan slegs gesien word wanneer dit in staat is om mans en vroue van die hoogste integriteit, eerlikheid, verdraagsaamheid, verantwoordelikheid en aanspreeklikheid te lewer - hardwerkende, patriotiese, goedgemanierde mense wat daaraan toegewy is om hulle samelewing te dien. Onderwys behoort in staat te wees om 'n ieder en 'n elk toe te rus om op betekenisvolle wyse tot die ontwikkeling van die nasie by te dra. Laastens, die onderrig van "dik" demokratiese eienskappe moet gebou word op die basis van 'n suksesvolle onderwysstelsel in Lesotho vanaf die laagste klasse of grade. SLEUTELWOORDE: Gratis en verpligte onderwys, demokratiese onderwys, kwaliteit onderwys, gelyke onderwys, "dik" en "dun" demokrasie in Lesotho.

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