AllyCAD Showcase

Built Environment Studies

Lerotholi Polytechnic, Lesotho
The Lerotholi Polytechnic in Lesotho was established in 1905 through the help of Chief Lerotholi Letsie who recognised that Lesotho's unique geographic situation and limited employment required an educational institution that would support a new generation.

Among the dedicated team at the Lerotholi Polytechnic, is Machela Nkhethoa, Director of Studies for the School of the Built environment who has supported this vision since he first walked through the doors of the institution some fifteen years ago.

The Polytechnic recently celebrated its rich history when they honoured their 100th year milestone. It was also during this landmark event that the team took the time to reflect on how much the institution had achieved since it was first established. "The Polytechnic has grown from offering one programme to accommodating the current 20 diploma level courses and we intend starting degree level programmes very soon," says Machela.

The School of the Built Environment has four programmes that are offered at diploma level and three courses offered at craft level. "When I was first appointed as the Director of Studies, we only offered the Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering and Architecture diplomas. We later incorporated the Architectural and Building Technology diplomas to make up the four diploma courses we have today."

Besides a challenging diploma level, the institution also provides for craft level courses. These building related craft courses are mostly hands on and includes brick laying and plastering, carpentry and joinery, as well as planting and shift metal work.

Machela is very passionate about the role that the Built environment plays in industry and has big plans for the department. "We want to offer credible quality programmes related to the built environment. The challenge however will be to bring these courses in line with the current socio economic needs of the country so that it can assist with infrastructural development initiatives."
  "One of our objectives was to build strong ties with South African institutions like the University of Wits, UCT and recently, CPUT. We learn a lot from these institutions especially when it comes to incorporating software programmes like AllyCAD and Civil Designer into core curriculum programmes."

"The great thing about building ties with a country like South Africa is that many of our students aspire to work there and the software is used by the majority of consulting engineers in the RSA. The amount of students that enter the School of the Built Environment seem to increase every year though. There is currently an overcapacity of students and in some cases we have to turn a student away because of limited space," he explains.

One of the worrying factors at the institution has been the declining pass rate figures at the Polytechnic, something that has become almost a personal challenge for Machela. "Many students who have entered the educational institution have progressed to continue their studies and have moved on to become professional engineers. The pass rate has however become a worrying factor particularly in Mathematics. There seems to be a major gap with what is being taught at the institution and what is being taught at school level. We have therefore embarked on various initiatives where we are able to offer foundation programs to increase the pass rate," he says, his face beaming at the prospect.

Chief Lerotholi Letsie envisioned a Lerotholi Polytechnic educational institution that would grow into a true tertiary institution with a wide range of programmes that would be able to accommodate the entire country. Today the institution has grown from a few students to accommodate 1500 students and hopes to increase its profile to 4500 students in the next five years. According to Machela, every staff member at the Lerotholi Polytechnic is committed to this vision and is passionate about the future of Lesotho's engineers.


 
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