16 February 2018

Lesotho: LEC Students Face Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary action will be taken against scores of students at the Lesotho College of Education (LCE) who went on a strike this week demanding payment of their allowances.

The students' body has disassociated itself with the strike, arguing they were not involved in its planning because it did not make sense.

It is understood that after the mass action, many of the students who had not been paid received their allowances this week.

However, the treasurer of the students' representing body, Mosebetsi Ramphielo said they were disappointed in the students' action, which was unwarranted as school had just opened.

"We have since discussed with the school management and agreed that disciplinary action should be applied to ensure we do not set a bad precedence of illegal strikes happening at this college," Mr Ramphielo said.

He said the students' body never supported the strike because the third-year students arrived at the school this week while first-year students who have been at the school for almost a month, were already receiving their allowances in batches.

"The third years normally get their allowances two weeks after school opens. The second-year students are on teaching practice. We really do not understand the logic behind the strike because the third-year students are even in the process of registering. How can they then expect their allowances when they are not even registered?" Mr Ramphielo said.

However, the students on Tuesday said they had resorted to protesting after failing to get their allowances on time from the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS).

They chanted songs and burnt tyres in front of the college administration offices.

"It's been a month since we came here, we are expected to buy books and other learning tools, but no one is understanding that we have not yet received our allowances," one first year student said.

The students also said they were shocked that the students' representative body elected by the students to protect their interests was siding with the school management and throwing their responsibilities out of the window.

"Do we have to wait for a month before we can buy food to eat? What is the meaning of this? This our so called representative body are now siding with the school management and trying to intimidate and silence us as if we do not know that it is our right to get the allowances. We are disappointed that our representatives chose to ingratiate themselves with the school management and to throw us under the bus," another student said.

Efforts to get a comment from the college management were fruitless.


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