In the ever-evolving tapestry of any nationâ€™s history, the thread of leadership is woven by those who hold the reins of power. Their decisions, actions, and policies leave an indelible mark on the trajectory of a countryâ€™s progress.
Yet, beyond the immediate concerns of governance, there lies a deeper responsibility – the duty to empower and nurture the leaders of tomorrow. This obligation transcends political ideologies and affiliations; it is a universal imperative for the sustenance of a nationâ€™s vitality and dynamism.
Section 20 of the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right of every citizen to participate in government. This section stands as a beacon of democratic ideals.
However, the reality on the ground paints a different picture, particularly for the younger generation.
The disconnection between the constitutional promise and the lived experiences of young Basotho is multi-faceted. It encompasses socio-economic barriers, limited access to quality education, and a lack of meaningful opportunities for civic engagement.
These challenges collectively contribute to a sense of disillusionment and disengagement among the youth, perpetuating a cycle of disenfranchisement.
Empowering young people to exercise their right to participate in government is crucial for the vitality and sustainability of any democratic society.
The youth represent the future of a nation, and their active engagement in governance ensures that decisions reflect the diverse perspectives and needs of all citizens.
Empowering future leaders entails a holistic approach that spans education, mentorship, access to resources, and the cultivation of a culture of civic responsibility.
It is a commitment to not only address the immediate challenges facing a nation, but to ensure its enduring prosperity by fostering a generation of capable, visionary, and morally-grounded leaders.
Education stands as the cornerstone of this endeavor.
A robust educational system, accessible to all, equips individuals with the skills, knowledge, and critical thinking abilities necessary to navigate the complexities of the modern world. It instills a sense of civic duty and imbues young minds with a passion for positive change.
Educational institutions must not only impart academic excellence but also nurture character, ethics, and a deep-seated commitment to the collective welfare.
Lesotho has strong literacy rates â€“ 97 percent of women and 85 percent of men aged 15-49 are literate, according to the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) II. Expenditure on education as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa.
However, in terms of quality, pupil learning scores compare poorly with the Sub-Saharan African region.
In tertiary education, according to the NSDP II, the relevance of curricula, employability of graduates, and skills mismatch are widely cited as major causes of high graduate unemployment with simultaneous shortages of skilled labour in the private sector.
This means there is a need to reform our education system. Without quality primary education, quality secondary and tertiary education will not be possible.
This means that primary education graduates should have strong foundational skills â€“ in reading, writing and arithmetic â€“ learned during the junior primary phase.
This, in turn, would require investment in Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD).
In addition, it is imperative that there be an investment in teacher training on the new curriculum and assessment, strong coaching and supervision mechanisms of teachers at the school level, and continuous learning assessment.
Education alone is insufficient to empower our young people. It must be complemented by mentorship â€“ a guiding hand offered by experienced individuals who can provide valuable insights, counsel, and encouragement.
Mentorship bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, offering young leaders a roadmap to navigate the challenges they will inevitably face. It instills confidence, imparts wisdom, and fosters a sense of belonging to a larger community of leaders.
Furthermore, providing opportunities for young leaders to actively participate in governance is paramount. Youth councils, advisory boards, and leadership training programs could offer platforms for them to voice their perspectives, influence policy, and contribute to the decision-making process. Such involvement will not only hone their leadership skills but also infuse a fresh, dynamic energy into the corridors of power.
Access to resources is another critical facet of empowering future leaders.
This extends beyond financial means to encompass opportunities for professional development, exposure to diverse experiences, and avenues for personal growth. Breaking down barriers that hinder access to resources ensures that leadership potential is not stifled by systemic inequities.
Also, a culture of civic responsibility must be cultivated from an early age. Civic education, integrated into the educational curriculum, instills a sense of duty towards one’s community and country. Encouraging volunteerism and community engagement reinforces the idea that active participation in societal progress is not merely a choice, but an obligation.
It is imperative that those in positions of power recognise that empowering future leaders is not a transient or expendable pursuit. It is a sustained commitment that transcends political cycles and personal ambitions. It requires a collective effort, a unity of purpose that places the long-term well-being of the nation above all else.
We are in the midst of a national reform process aimed at creating lasting political stability, the imperative to empower future leaders holds particular resonance. The youth of Lesotho, with their untapped potential and boundless aspirations, represent the driving force behind the nationâ€™s progress.
Ensuring their active engagement and providing them with the tools to lead effectively is not only a moral responsibility but a strategic investment in the nationâ€™s future.
Empowering future leaders is a responsibility that falls squarely on the shoulders of those in power. It is a commitment to the perpetuity of a nationâ€™s prosperity, a testament to the foresight and wisdom of its leaders.
By fostering a generation of capable, visionary, and morally grounded leaders, we pave the way for a future that is marked not only by progress but by enduring stability and shared prosperity.