Education in the Lerala area
Lerala is a large dispersed village in eastern Botswana, within Central District, 32 km from the River Limpopo and the border crossing with South Africa at Martin’s Drift. The capital, Gaborone, is 300km to the south-west. It is south of the equator, just inside the Tropic of Capricorn. It is a quiet farming village, where donkeys and carts are more common than tractors, or even cars. The people are subsistence farmers growing sorghum, millet and maize and keeping cattle, goats and chickens on small farms just outside the village. Near to the Limpopo River, 30 km away, there are more commercial farms growing potatoes and oranges.
The village has three primary schools which take pupils from Standard 1 to 7 (6-12 years). From primary school, pupils go to junior secondary school for three years (Forms 1-3) and senior secondary school for Forms 4 and 5. Lerala Junior Secondary school is the only junior secondary school in the village and approximately 600 students attend the school. Students sit an examination at the end of form 3 and, if they pass and obtain their Junior Leaving Certificate, they are able to continue to senior secondary school which is a boarding school at Moeng nearly 40km away. The students who fail can go on to vocational training or seek a job. In 2014, 41% of the students at Lerala JSS passed this exam. Nearly all those who pass carry on to senior secondary school.
At Lerala Junior Secondary School lessons start at 7.30am; in reality, the students come in at 6.45am to study. They receive a breakfast of bread and peanut butter at 10.00am and a free lunch at 1.30pm. School finishes at 4.30pm. There can be as many as 40 children in a class and corporal punishment is still administered. The village elders support education and support the schools.
As well as schools, Lerala has several places of worship, three shops and a few other services.