Teacher motivation and incentives in Lesotho


The study draws attention to relevant aspects of education in Lesotho. Since 2000 primary school enrolment has expanded as a result of the phasing out of school fees. In response to this expansion the proportion of unqualified teachers has increased and there is increased reliance on in-service training. Although churches and community organisations own most schools in Lesotho, the salaries of nearly all teachers are determined and paid by the government. There are two national teachers' organisations, with rights to be consulted by the government, but they enjoy only limited support from teachers. Public pensions for teachers took effect in 2000 and small allowances are paid to those serving in areas designated as \"mountains\".

Three main types of procedures were used to collect data for this study. Firstly, semistructured interviews were held with 12 well-informed, professional stakeholders at the national level. Secondly, in case studies of ten primary schools, the researchers interacted with teachers, head teachers and community representatives and measured teachers' attitudes to relevant aspects of their work situation. The schools were selected in three clusters, in mountain, foothill and urban areas that represent different levels of quality in the provision of education. The mountain and foothill clusters have three schools each and the urban cluster four schools. Thirdly, documentary and statistical sources at the national level were studied, especially for evidence about the pay, staffing patterns and attrition of primary school teachers. The instruments used were to a large extent designed by the international lead researchers of the project.

The report concludes that teacher motivation is an important element in the quality of educational provision, strongly influenced by the way in which education is managed and by those with whom teachers interact. Motivation involves willingness to improve a service as well as maintain it. In Lesotho a localised system of recruitment selects unqualified teachers who are willing to stay in remote, rural primary schools, but not necessarily to improve them. Qualified teachers in more accessible schools seem to be more likely to seek improvement of their schools, but less committed to remaining in the profession.


DFID, London, UK, ix + 92 pp.

Teacher motivation and incentives in Lesotho

Published 1 January 2005