Ireland and Cyprus sign partnership agreement to improve access to education in Lesotho

Ireland and Cyprus sign partnership agreement to improve access to education in Lesotho

Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, T.D and the Ambassador of Cyprus, Mr Sotos Liassides, today signed an agreement to improve facilities at Lesotho’s only polytechnic which will result in an additional 600 students enrolling in science and engineering courses.

The agreement will see Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, manage funding of €440,000 which is being provided by Cyprus to improve education facilities in Lesotho.

Lesotho is one of Ireland’s nine priority countries for long-term strategic assistance.  This year Irish Aid will provide €10.7m in funding to improve education, health, HIV/AIDS treatment and governance in the sub-Saharan country. 

Speaking after today’s signing Minister Power said; 

“Today’s agreement addresses one of the most pressing needs in Lesotho - improving access to third level education.  Significant advancements have been made in increasing enrollment at primary and secondary levels. Now, the challenge is to accommodate the rising numbers of school leavers. 

“In consultation with the Government of Lesotho, this agreement between Ireland and Cyprus will see the construction of new facilities at the Lerotholi Polytechnic, the only technical and vocational facility in the country. 

“Upgrading this 100-year old institution will not only increase enrollment but will directly tackle the severe skills shortage in the areas of science, mathematics and engineering.  Some 600 additional foundation students will benefit from this initiative. We are proud to work so closely with the Governments of Cyprus and Lesotho to effect long-term change in the lives of hundreds of students and their families.”

Today’s agreement launches the final phase of the partnership between Ireland and Cyprus which began in 2007. By the end of 2011, the value of the funds managed by Ireland on behalf of Cyprus in Lesotho will have totaled €1.33m.

Speaking about the partnership, the Minister said;

“Previous cooperation agreements between Ireland and Cyprus have yielded tangible results for the people of Lesotho.  The first phase of the partnership involved the construction of a dormitory, dining and kitchen areas and equipment which enabled 64 girls to attend Sekonyela High, a girls’ boarding school in the mountainous eastern part of Lesotho.  Without these facilities, it would not have been possible for these girls to continue their education. There are few secondary schools in Lesotho and they are usually far from pupils’ homes, making the residential facilities as important as those for teaching.

“The second phase of the Ireland-Cyprus partnership involved rebuilding four schools which had been destroyed by high winds in 2007.  A total of 12 classrooms, four administration blocks, one kitchen and toilet facilities for both pupils and staff were handed over to the school communities in early 2010, allowing more than 600 students to receive an education in safe and sheltered surroundings.”

Ends +++
13 October, 2010

 

For further information or to request an interview with Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs on 01-4082653 or 087-9099975.

Notes to the Editor

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is an integral part of the Department of Foreign Affairs. For more information visit http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/
  • Ireland has had a development programme in Lesotho since 1975, making it Ireland’s oldest development partnership.
  • Ireland’s cooperation agreement with Cyprus comprises of three phases. Phase 1 and 2 are completed. At the end of phase three, the value of the funds managed by Ireland on behalf of Cyprus will have totaled €1.33m.
  • Phase One - €351,000: Construction of a dormitory, dining and kitchen areas and equipment which enabled 64 girls to attend school at Sekonyela High is a girl’s boarding school in Mokhotlong district in the mountainous eastern part of Lesotho. (2007-2008).
  • Phase Two - €540,000: The Lowlands Primary School Project, funded by Cyprus and managed by Ireland rebuilt four schools in 2010 which had been destroyed by high winds.  A total of 12 classrooms, four administration blocks, one kitchen and toilet facilities were constructed that will benefit more than 600 students.(2009-2010)
  • Phase Three- €440,000: The construction of facilities at the Lerotholi Polytechnic which will increase enrollment and tackle the skills shortage in the areas of science, mathematics and engineering in Lesotho. 600 additional Polytechnic students will be accommodated and will benefit from this initiative which is due to be completed in April 2011.

 

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