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EZULWINI – The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) says as long as government neglects primary and high schools, quality education will remain a dream in the country.

SNAT Secretary General (SG) Lot Vilakati said this when he was making reference to the mandate of the Eswatini Higher Education Council (ESHEC). Vilakati said there was no way possible that the country would have higher quality education in tertiary institutions while primary and high schools were a mess. “I heard you speaking about the quality of education several times. The quality of education won’t grow just on air but it starts from the grassroots level, which is primary schools,” he said. The SG asked how ESHEC would link the education sector policy together with the higher education sector policy, because he felt there was a link between the two.He noted that the policy also included the Deputy Prime Minister’s (DPM) Office in terms of paying orphaned and vulnarable children (OVC) grants on time.


“The policy is good on paper and it even involves the DPM’s office. It is unfortunate that the DPM’s office is doing nothing to comply with the policy in terms of ensuring that the OVC grants are paid on time to schools. If these grants would be paid on time, schools would be operating smoothly and teaching would not be interrupted as well as the quality of education will be at an all-time high,” he said. “DPM not paying grants on time and government not supplying books and food on time have all crippled the quality of education. It pains us a lot that after these poor learning conditions, fuelled by government, when the minister issues external results for completing grades, she always says the results were marvellous, knowing very well that there was no learning that took place in schools,” he added.

Vilakati added that local institutions of higher learning were producing graduates that were not required by the industry anymore. As a result, most graduates were working as textile workers.He said as a union, they were pleased that the council would conduct an assessment of the courses offered by tertiary institutions that would be relevant to the time. He said looking at the syllabus offered in primary schools currently, the children were learning nothing that would help them in the near future. He said he was convinced that the current syllabus would not even give them access to tertiary institutions. The SG said pupils, mostly those in government primary schools, would be worse-off in terms of skills and proper education.
He urged ESHEC to also meet with the students unions so that they would contribute to the policy, including the Eswatini Schools Committees and Parents Association (ESCAPA) and Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS).