On Thursday, the 6th August 2018, Development for Peace Education (DPE) met together with teachers’ representatives from three different teachers’ unions and the Lesotho Principals Association. The objective of the meeting was primarily to find a way of addressing school conflict that has now been reported at more than ten different schools. DPE reported that the objective of the meeting was to find strategies for undermining violence in schools and restoring relationships between students, teachers and the administration because the worry is that violence will extend to even more schools and therefore be difficult to deal with later; but also to get an understanding from the teachers’ unions of the depth of the disagreement between teachers and the Ministry of Education.
The meeting was attended by ntate Moteuli Mathafeng of the Lesotho Principals Association, Tšepo Lethobane of the Lesotho Teachers Trade Union(LTTU) also representing the Lesotho Principals Association, ntate Letsatsi Ntsibulane of the Lesotho Association of Teachers(LAT), ntate Mafokane Ramakhula(LTTU) who is a member of the board of DPE and also a teacher, ‘Mathaabe Majara of the (LAT), ‘Mamoholana Folene of the (LTTU) , Tsepang Matsietsa of the Lesotho Young Christian Students and Relebohile Senyane, Lemohang Molibeli and Sofonea Shale of DPE.
The teachers reported that most of the school violence has been in schools in the districts of Berea, Leribe and Mafeteng. They also said that in some of the schools, students have acted violently even though there was no clear cause or even as teachers continued to be in the class teaching. In fact, there was agreement that some of the students acted violently because they did not want to be engaged while other students are not being taught and free to spend their day as they like. At the time, it was reported that schools that had experienced violent students behaviour or acts of teacher intimidation included the following:
- Makaota high school
- Mokoallong HighSchool
- Berea high school
- Qhoqhoane primary school
- Thamathu primary school
- Lerotholi secondary school
- ‘Masentle high school
- Lipohong high school
- Mapoteng high school
The teachers reported that in one incident of school violence a teacher was left with a broken arm, while in another incident a parent who was visiting the school was also attacked. The teachers also said that there is not yet a direct relationship between the school violence and the teachers’ strike because in most of these incidents students are raising issues from a long time in the past. The teachers’ also said there is a possibility that most of the students have been incited into violence, but the meeting decided not to look at the causes of violence but rather to address it and limit its spread.
The meeting decided that the structure that will work to address school violence should include people from different social sectors with most of them being based in Maseru but recognised that the structure might need to be expanded as need arises. The agreement was that structure should include representatives of teachers, one parent, students, owners of schools, a representative of the police, a representative of the Ministry of Education, youth organisation, a member of a community council, a local chief and representative of school boards.
END VIOLENCE AT SCHOOLS!!!!