Transforming Lesotho’s education landscape

Transforming Lesotho’s education landscape

ROMA – KOPANO Sekhoari, a National University of Lesotho (NUL) Economics student, is spearheading a project that will help high school and college students. Sekhoari is the founder of Academic Youth Progress, a NUL based organisation that has just scooped a US$2000 prize in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Challenge.

Academic Youth Progress won a prize that may as well help it change the education landscape of Lesotho, for the betterment of students in both high school and college levels. The theme of the competition by the UN was “addressing disconnection between education and unemployment”.
“With this money,” Sekhoari said, “we are kick-starting a magazine that will cover issues of career guidance and entrepreneurship among Lesotho students.”

The magazine will, indeed, be unique in that regard. Sekhoari says his organization believes in two things: entrepreneurship and career guidance.
These two, he believes, can make a difference. For instance, just think about this. The problem of students following careers they never loved or intended to do is…a problem. Wrong choices affect students’ productivity later in life.

Experts view this as one of the contributing factors to low creativity and innovation among the youth. Well, if you cross paths with Sekhoari and Company, you many never need to worry about it anymore. That is because, Academic Youth Progress, founded jointly by Kopano Sekhoari, Tsotang Mokone and Thabiso Ramakoae, all students at NUL, provides just about the right answers.

The founders believe in the power of the youth only if they are well guided. The minds of the youngsters, they say, are a fertile land ready to give forth in abundance, what is sown in them. The objectives of the organization are in two parts: first to provide career guidance at high schools across the country.

During such events, professionals from different fields are invited to teach students about their respective fields.
Students, Sekhoari suggests, need to make informed decisions. But, and this is noteworthy, they have a different approach from the often boring commonplace career guidance events.

They include competitions among high school students during the events. Students conceive innovative ideas and compete.
But the prize is not just money. Not in this case. “The first prize is awarded for payment of school fees,” Sekhoari said.

“The second prize goes to an exam fee and the third prize is a package of stationery.” For them, it’s all about sowing seeds for the future.
These fellows have visited various high schools across the country to provide students with career guidance and the visits were a success
But they have bigger dreams!

After a 10-year-period, the organisation hopes to raise enough funds to open a unique technical college—that which will allow society to learn practical, relevant and applicable skills.

They think Lesotho urgently needs much more than just intellectuals. Lesotho needs to have more of those folks who get things done.
Of course these guys have their hands full already!

According to Sekhoari and with the help of the prize won, the organization is going to sell magazines in which the following will be contained: detailed information about tertiary institutions in Lesotho to assist high school students to make wise choices and stories on entrepreneurship projects by youths across the country, to motivate more youths and to encourage the owners of the projects.

“We also hold a workshop every month at NUL called Entrepreneurship Network and Motivational Talk,” Sekhoari said. The idea is to create business friendship, trust and network among youth entrepreneurs and to inspire those who are willing to venture into business. They also have a WhatsApp group created to build friendship among the youths.

The WhatsApp group aims to achieve the big three: (1) Buy Local, (2) Support Local, and (3) Wear Local. In this platform, youths are supporting each other.

If one is willing to buy a certain local product, he should first find out if anyone in the group sells the product. What is the philosophy behind this idea?

“If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together,” Sekhoari quoted a famous saying.
His last message to the youth is: “At any given point there are always enough resources at one’s disposal to make something better no matter the situation.”

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