Proficiency in English as a second official language (ESOL) in Lesotho: a survey on views of examiners and moderators
The purpose of this article was to survey the views of external examiners and moderators regarding written English at the National University of Lesotho (NUL), Lesotho College of Education (LCE/NTCC) and other education institutions in the country. This has been motivated by the general concern that the standard of English in Lesotho is very low. The paper first presents a background to English as the international and global language and the second official language as well as the medium of instruction in Lesotho. It further discusses the meaning of proficiency in English and the rationale for teaching and learning English as well as using English as the medium of education. The authors then specifically present examples of poor performance in English at the NUL, LCE (NTTC), COSC, LJC and primary schools as seen through the eyes of examiners, moderators and researchers. Most importantly, the article proposes ways and means of how written English can be improved in Lesotho’s educational institutions. First, there has to be a drastic change of attitudes towards English. It should be considered positively as a global language that is here to stay. Secondly, all that whose responsibility is to teach English and through English should always strive to create communicative atmospheres for the students of English. Thirdly, the educational institutions should introduce and use consistently the concept and practice of language and learning across the curriculum (LLAC). That is, every teacher should be conscious of the position of English in the education system and, therefore, make every effort to help improve English. Finally, the article proposes that another strategy to improve performance in English writing skill is to establish a close cooperation and liaison between and among departments of English at the NUL, LCE, and Language and Social Education Department in the Faculty of Education at NUL. The article concludes by indicating that these are the challenges that face every English language teacher and teacher educator specifically and the entire teaching profession generally.