from RETHABILE SELLO in Leribe, Lesotho
LERIBE – THE rollout of a coding programme in Lesotho has revealed the true extent of challenges bedeviling the country as it lags behind in the fourth industrial revolution.
This could have ramifications for future generations and the economy of the country in a world that now revolves around technology.
Literacy in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are imperative.
These gaps have come to the fore during a recent coding programme initiated in schools and organisations by Impact Schools, headquartered in Ireland and registered in Lesotho at the end of 2021.
Mamonaheng Koenane, the local founder, said implementing the coding initiative was a challenge as schools had a shortage of teachers and insufficient computers to cater for students and the educators.
“In other schools we even have to use chalkboards to demonstrate and it becomes more difficult,” she stated.
Some children use their parents’ mobile phones for computing classed.
To worsen matters, the teachers do not have the computer skills, let alone coding, to impart to the children.
“They (teachers) just know the computer but they do not even know how to use it,” Koenane said.
This, according to the official, underlines the country’s not prioritising technology.
“Technology development is not recognisable and considered at the moment in our country,” she stated.
“It is sad that our children only end up at administrative level whether they work in government or private sector as they are afraid to challenge the technology world or they are not given an opportunity to do so.”
Koenane said eventually, due to the changing world, Lesotho must adapt to the technological developments.
Bahlakoana Tau, a Basotho student speaking in an interview, said they were aware the coding program was crucial in developing technology, starting from primary school, and would in turn grow Lesotho.
He thus appealed to authorities to include computer in the curriculum in every school.
“This will instill love for technology from the lower level,” Tau said.
Khabiso Mofolo, a teacher, concurred.
“Lesotho needs more to do in order to fit into this world we are living in now,” he stated.
Impact Schools has managed to celebrate Africa Code Week in Lesotho.
The initiative is marked in 37 countries worldwide.
Impact Schools was also able to mentor the Lesotho team which took part in Pan African Robotics Challenge in Ghana for the first time last year. The team also participated in the first Global World Robotics Championship.
Meanwhile, the Lesotho government, through the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology, has embarked on e-government Infrastructure Project Phase I, covering 30 schools- that is three schools per district.
Each school receives 40 laptops.
– CAJ News