'Muso oa Lesotho (The Kingdom of Lesotho) is an enclave in southern Africa and is completely surrounded by South Africa. More than 80% of the country is 1,000 meters above sea level. The population is 2,128,180 and the literacy rate is 84.8%, which is one of the highest in Africa. Sesotho and English are the official languages.
The San Bushmen first inhabited present-day Lesotho until the arrival in the early 1600s of refugees from other areas gradually when they formed a tribe and called themselves Basotho. Moshoeshoe I consolidated the various Basotho tribes, and, in 1818, became their King. The area became known as Basutoland. From 1856-1868, Basutoland was in a series of wars with South Africa and lost some of its territory. After an appeal to Queen Victoria from Moshoeshoe I, Basutoland became a protectorate of Great Britain in 1868. On October 4, 1966, Basutoland was granted independence, changed its name to Lesotho and became a constitutional monarchy.
Education is free and compulsory from ages 6-13. Primary school is 7 years beginning at age 6. At the end of the 7th year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Primary School Leaving Examination Certificate.
Lower secondary school is 3 years. At the end of the 3rd year, students sit for the Junior Certificate Examination. Upper secondary school is for 2 years. At the end of the 2nd year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate.
Post-secondary educational programs are offered at the National University of Lesotho. Lerotholi Polytechnic, and the Lesotho College of Education. Admission to all post-secondary programs requires sufficient scores on the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate.
First Cycle, Academic
Bachelor's programs are 4 years. Bachelor of Science (Honours) programs are an additional year following a Bachelor of Science.
First Cycle, Vocational/Technical
Vocational/technical post-secondary programs lead to the 2-year National Certificate and the 3-year National Diploma.
Second and Third Cycles
Graduate programs included a 1-year Post Graduate Diploma and 2-year Masters programs. A Bachelor's degree is required for admission to all graduate programs. Doctoral programs are 2-3 years following a masters degree and require defense of a dissertation.
The Lesotho College of Education offers 3-year programs for primary school teachers leading to the Primary Teacher's Certificate. A Junior Certificate is required for admission, but most students enter after passing the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate Examination. Lower secondary school teachers are trained in a 3-year program leading to the Secondary Teacher's Certificate. A Cambridge Overseas School Certificate is required for admission. Upper secondary school teachers must hold a Bachelor of Education.