Lesotho is a small Commonwealth state with a largely rural population of about 2 million. Lesotho faces distinct challenges in economic development and education. 


School-age Population by Education Level1









Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Secondary Education
for the school year ending 20171









Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Tertiary Education
for the school year ending 20181









Percentage of female teachers in 1




Secondary (2017)


Tertiary (2018)



1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics Data Centre, retrieved in March 2020


Literacy rate (2009)1




Adult (15+) literacy rate


Adult (15+) literacy rate



Economic Activity (2010)1




Adult (15+) economic activity


Adult (15+) economic activity



Political Decision Making (2014)1


Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament



Life expectancy (2012)1









1. COL gender country profile April 2015 


0.4 113.8
Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1 Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1



0.3 59
Fixed-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1 Mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1



8.9 29
Households with a computer (%)1 Individuals using the internet (%)1



1. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ICT Eye Country profile, retrieved in March 2020


COL’S work in Lesotho is primarily in the areas of higher education, technology-enabled learning and tertiary education through the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth. Agreed priorities also include gender, open educational resources (OER) and OER policy development.

Higher Education

  • Representatives from Lesotho participated in a workshop on Developing Criteria for Peer Auditing for five Commonwealth countries, which led to the development of an inter-institutional framework for quality assurance in 2016.
  • The National University of Lesotho (NUL) implemented the COL Review and Improvement Model in 2012 to improve its internal systems and performance. In October 2015, COL’s Education Specialist: Higher Education visited Lesotho and found that the model was being implemented successfully. NUL has adopted quality assurance and open and distance learning (ODL) policies.
  • In 2017, COL conducted a workshop to develop institutional internal quality assurance mechanisms and a training manual with the Council of Higher Education, and over 15 institutions in Lesotho participated.

Learn more about Higher Education.

Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth

  • NUL is now offering distance education programmes as a result of COL’s support over the last few years. As a first step, COL helped NUL to build its capacity for offering ODL programmes, then supported the university in developing its own materials and using or adapting VUSSC materials. COL provided support for the university faculty via online facilitation when the ODL programmes were ready to be offered.
  • COL supported the development and contextualisa­tion of three programmes at NUL, including two diplomas — in Communication Studies and in Business Management — and a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Entrepreneurship. An Environmental Management for Sustainable Development programme has also been developed.
  • In October 2016, two workshops on Content Develop­ment were held at NUL with 37 participants. A work­shop to further support NUL in improving its capacity to offer ODL courses was held in October 2017 and attended by 45 participants. COL continues to work with NUL on programme development and OER.

Learn more about the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth.

Technology-Enabled Learning

Learn more about Technology-Enabled Learning.


Partnerships are fundamental to COL’s work. Strategic partnerships allow COL to broaden its reach and engage at global, regional and national levels, while implementation partners support COL’s work in communities and institutions across Commonwealth Member States. Partners include multilateral organisations, regional bodies, national governments, government agencies, foundations, civil society organisations, public and private (not-for-profit) institutions and the private sector.

COL's partners in Lesotho include: 

  • Lesotho Council on Higher Education
  • Lesotho Distance Teaching Centre
  • Ministry of Education and Training
  • National University of Lesotho