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FACTORS CAUSING HIGH FAILURE RATE AMONG FORM E LEARNERS IN HLOTSE, LESOTHO

M. Motseke

Central University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
The failure rate among Form E (matriculation) learners in Lesotho is very high. This has been the case for many years. Lesotho was a British colony until 1886. Consequently, the British influence is reflected in Lesotho’s history, politics and education. In education, specifically, Lesotho adopted Britain’s Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) for their Senior Secondary education (which includes Form E as its final year). However, when the COSC was adopted, the curriculum, the lesson presentation approaches, and the assessment and promotion practices were not adequately adapted to suit the Basotho’s cultural practices, lifestyle and purpose of education.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the factors which cause the high failure rate among Form E learners in Hlotse, a town in the Leribe district of Lesotho. Twenty five teachers from five different high schools participated in the study. A questionnaire was distributed to all twenty five participants, and interviews were conducted with them. A qualitative interpretive approach was followed. It was found that the lack of teaching and learning materials, poor teaching approaches and the irrelevant curriculum were the major causes of the high failure rate among Form E learners in the Hlotse schools. Other factors included poor command of English, poverty, irregular school attendance by learners and inadequate revision or lack of preparation of learners for the examinations. In order to improve pass rates among Form E learners, the Lesotho government has to provide adequate resources required for effective teaching and learning, improve teaching skills through in-service training, and provide education content that is relevant to the economic and social needs of the Basotho.