Supporting vulnerable learners in Lesotho Education System
The case of Lekhalong Combined School
Keywords:assessment, empowerment, inclusion, psycho-social support, resources, vulnerable learners
This article explores a dissonance between the way reports published by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), explain how schools are supported and empowered to be inclusive of learners with barriers to learning and development, and perception that teachers, in one school, have of the support to vulnerable learners. A qualitative approach was used to gather and analyse data, and results indicate that the MOET documents learners' registration annually, including learners with disability and orphans, and spends huge sums of money on bursaries and book subsidies. The Ministry's records also show training of teachers on counselling as it plans to establish support structures from schools to the Ministry headquarters. However, teachers deny receiving any training on counselling and yearn for any form of support from MOET: schools lack systematic methods of assessing learners’ needs, and psycho-social support to learners is not only minimal but also lacks continuity. Teachers mostly focus on their teaching load in overcrowded classes while mostly oblivious of learners’ individual psycho-social needs. It is recommended that the MOET develop clear policy guidelines on psychosocial support to vulnerable learners, provide requisite resources for such support and devise mechanisms to assess efficiency of such support.