German Varsity Launches Students’ Empowerment Project
The Leuphana University in Germany has, in collaboration with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Lesotho National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), launched the Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (STEP) (Public Eye; 2015).
STEP is a joint project between the Leuphana University and some partner institutions in seven countries across Africa, including Lesotho (Public Eye; 2015).
The main purpose of the project is to provide an answer to adverse labour market conditions and limited employment opportunities (Public Eye; 2015).
In Lesotho, STEP trainees will be final year students at tertiary level (Public Eye; 2015).
About 100 of them will be from the Lesotho Agricultural College (LCA), and 20 from each of the following institutions; Lesotho College of Education (LEC), Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, National University of Lesotho (NUL), Centre for Accounting Studies (CAS) while the other 20 will be recent graduates (Public Eye; 2015).
A representative of Leuphana University, Kim Boschoff, said the first training of STEP started in 2009, with the institution affiliating with a Ugandan university, piloting the project with 200 students (Public Eye; 2015).
We only enrol a maximum of 200 students each year and divide them into classes of 50 students each.
Boschoff said the idea of STEP was brought up by their partners in Uganda, where they had realised a high rate of youth unemployment subsequent to completion of their university studies(Public Eye; 2015).
The idea is, with the training that helps them become self-employed, we can address the adverse labour market in these countries and help them create employment,
she showed (Public Eye; 2015).
The Secretary General of Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO, Palesa Montši, gave a brief background of cordial relations between the German National Commission for UNESCO (DUK) and the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU), which led to STEP in Lesotho (Public Eye; 2015).
Montši said through this noble association, the LNCU has, among other things, reaped the benefit of capacity building, through human and material resources in 2008 (Public Eye; 2015).
The DUK, she showed also supported the Lesotho Task Team on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to attend the UNESCO world conference on ESD in 2009 (Public Eye; 2015),
“The LNCU received funding for the preparatory study to a feasibility study for a Man and Biosphere reserve in Tšehlanyane and German Cultural Youth Voluntary service for young German adults (Public Eye; 2015).
DUK has injected about M250 000 for the implementation of the STEP in Lesotho, for the preparation and execution of the training of 200 tertiary students for free,
she also said (Public Eye; 2015).
For his part, the chief executive officer of the LNDC, Kelebone Leisanyane, said his organisation has invested M100, 000 towards financing the project (Public Eye; 2015).
STEP is aimed at empowering young professionals and students with skills and knowledge to start new businesses, to be able to provide their own business plans and marketing strategies as well as have necessary skills and knowledge for employment
(Public Eye; 2015).
Speaking at the same event, the German Consul to Lesotho, Heinz Fiebig, noted the project is totally financed by the Federal Republic of Germany, adding he hoped it would stand the test of time (Public Eye; 2015).
Lesotho might be a small country in size but it has great human potential. So let me conclude by saying Germany, as the biggest contributor to the European Union budget, will continue to be a strong supporter of Lesotho and stand by Basotho in their development efforts; now and after the forthcoming elections,
Reibig said (Public Eye; 2015).
In her address, the minister of education, ’Makabelo Mosothoane, expressed gratitude to all the partners for the noble gesture aimed at assisting young professionals to realise their dreams (Public Eye; 2015).
As the education minister and of course a teacher as well as a mentor, I wish to give the trainees a few words of encouragement that I feel could be useful in their entrepreneurial journey
(Public Eye; 2015).
Always bear in mind that entrepreneurship at its core is about having a can-do attitude, about showing initiative and about making things happen. Once again when I take a look at you I see people who have all these attributes, hence my confidence in you,
Mosothoane concluded (Public Eye; 2015).
Article by Rethabile Kamohi
Leuphana (2015) About Us. http://www.leuphana.de/en/about-us.html /[Accessed: 26 February 2015]
Public Eye (2015) German varsity launches students empowerment project. http://www.publiceyenews.com/site/2015/02/06/german-varsity-launches-students-empowerment-project/[Accessed: 26 February 2015]