Rural teachers’ views: What are gender-based challenges facing Free Primary Education in Lesotho?
This paper gives prominence to rural teachers’ accounts of gender-based challenges facing Free Primary Education in Lesotho. It draws on feminist interpretations of social constructionism to discuss factors within the Basotho communities that affect gender equality in the schools. The inductive analysis offered makes use of the data generated from semi-structured interviews with 12 teachers in three primary schools. Basotho culture, superstitious symbolism, and family dynamics are found to be some of the factors that reinforce inequitable gender relations. The findings indicate how teachers exploited these factors to promote the polarisation of gender qualities, and to exalt masculinities at the expense of femininities. The paper argues for the promotion of counter-hegemonic discourses of gender, with an emphasis on conceptions of gender as multiple and fluid human qualities. It explains how paying attention to the cultural architecture of gender formations in localised contexts could become an effective strategy in promoting gender equality in schools.
Keywords: Basotho culture; family dynamics; Free Primary Education; gender equality; schools; superstitious symbolism; teachers
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