Male herders in Lesotho : life history, identities and educational ambitions.
Pitikoe, Selloane Florence.
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Lack of access to education in developing countries has been attributed to the high levels of poverty (UNESCO, 2012a). Additionally, the ever-changing escalation of the HIV and AIDS pandemic coupled with orphanhood have become further educational barriers which impede education access and continuity. Unlike other African countries, Lesotho has higher reported literacy rates among females than males with a considerably greater number of boys than girls becoming victims of dropping out of school in search of employment mainly as miners in the neighbouring South Africa or as livestock herders. Herding as part of the culture of Basotho dates back to the 17th century and it has seemingly taken high priority because the situation whereby males look after the family livestock or are employed by a wealthy livestock owner to generate income, prohibits their access to and retention in education. The study explored the educational needs and lifestyles of the adult herders in order to inform the national Non-Formal Education (NFE) policy. There is limited information about the herders’ lifestyles and educational ambitions and this called for an investigation to obtain an indepth understanding of them in order to analyse what kind of curriculum would respond more appropriately to their lifestyles. Since it can be argued that a herder’s identity is central to how he interacts with educational systems and the wider society, understanding their life experiences and how these have influenced the herders’ multiple identities and ambitions can help to inform Lesotho’s provision of non-formal education. Positioned within the interpretive paradigm, the study adopted a qualitative design. The study was conducted in the three geographical regions of Lesotho, namely: the lowlands, the foothills and the highlands. Semi-structured interviews, unstructured interviews, transect walk and photovoice were utilised for data collection from a total of 30 herders. The NFE service providers were also interviewed for data triangulation. The data were transcribed and analysed manually using the pattern coding method.
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