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by James Kay

For entities in Swaziland see Category:Swaziland

Partners situated in Swaziland


Swaziland in a nutshell

(sourced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swaziland)

Swaziland, the Kingdom of Swaziland (Umbuso weSwatini), sometimes called Ngwane, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south, and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique.

The nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th century king Mswati II.

Its population is 1.18 million.

Its capital is Lobamba (royal capital) and Mbabane (administrative capital and the largest city).

Swaziland's economy is dominated by the service industry, manufacturing and agriculture. Some 75% of the population are employed in subsistence farming, and 60% of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day.

Swaziland's main trading partner is South Africa, and its currency is pegged to the South African rand.

Swaziland's economic growth and societal integrity has been highly endangered by an ongoing HIV epidemic.

Education in Swaziland

Education in Swaziland is now free at primary level mainly 1st and 2nd grades and also free for orphaned and vulnerable children but not compulsory. In 1996, the net primary school enrollment rate was 90.8%, with gender parity at the primary level. In 1998, 80.5% of children reached grade five. (1) Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Swaziland as of 2001. In 1996, 91.3 percent of the teachers were certified to teach according to national standards, and the pupil to teacher ratio was 33:9. (2)

Swaziland education system

Pre-Primary education The Ministry of Education’s policy has moved away from Pre-School Education that caters for children between the ages 3 to 6 in order to also incorporate ages 0 to 3. However, the Ministry has no formal control over this very early level of education because it has not yet been fully integrated into the formal education structure.

Basic education Swaziland adopted a ten-year basic education programme as part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Education. Seven years of primary education are followed by three years of lower secondary education. This system faces several challenges that include ensuring the availability of schools and teachers, and the provision of teacher salaries.

Secondary education As in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Swaziland’s school system allows only a small proportion of students access to secondary school. The bulk of the students drop out at earlier levels. The Government is exploring ways to ensure that graduates at this level possess the skills and knowledge to participate effectively in society. This has led to the development of a prevocational pilot project that aims to give children practical and entrepreneurial skills.

Non-formal education Non-formal education is currently in the hands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and parastatal bodies. They mainly address the need for adult literacy and numeracy programmes. (3)

Higher education

According to the Southern African Regional Universities Association, there is one publicly funded university, one polytechnic and four publicly funded colleges in Swaziland. (4)

Universities in Swaziland

The University of Swaziland http://www.uniswa.sz/

Polytechnics in Swaziland

Specific information difficult to find.

Colleges in Swaziland

Swaziland College of Technology http://www.scot.co.sz/

Education reform


Swaziland’s main priority at Independence in 1968 was to expand its school system. Over the following 20 years there was a major increase in resources made available to all levels of education, and a systematic movement towards the achievement of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1985. In recent years the country has been struggling to maintain UPE because of difficulties associated with financial constraints, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and poverty - which is beginning to manifest itself in the rural areas of the country. (3)


There is no national HE policy in Swaziland. (4)

Administration and finance


The education system is still very centralised, with all power and authority located at the national level. There is minimal delegation, and the main task of the District Education Officers is to focus efforts on the implementation of national policies. The National Ministry of Education manages the curriculum, assessment procedures, and recruitment of teachers. However it should be noted that this is carried out in association with local communities and civil society. (3) For example, the Ministry of Education pays teacher salaries, while student fees and money raised from the community pay for costs such as building upkeep and teacher housing. (2) Financial planning is controlled by the Ministry of Planning and Development and the Ministry of Finance. That is, the Ministry of Education’s financial operations are decided and monitored elsewhere - a situation that offers many challenges for the Ministry of Education. (3)

Public Expenditure on Education as a % of Gross National Income (GNI) = 5.5% (4)


  • The University Council is responsible for university operations and ensures the smooth operation of the University of Swaziland.
  • University Senate is responsible for all academic affairs of the university and all affiliated tertiary institutions.
  • The University Research Board is responsible for commissioning research studies, advising on issues related to research and ensuring the progressive operation of the university research centre.
  •  % Education budget allocated to higher education = 22% (2007)
  • There is a loan/grant scheme in place (4)

Quality assurance


The National Ministry of Education manages the curriculum and assessment procedures.


  • The Scholarship Selection Board is responsible for screening tertiary education scholarship applications and making recommendations to the minister of education on who should be awarded scholarships. (4)

Information society

The telecom sector in Swaziland features an old-style posts and telecom monopoly operator for fixed services but with private participation in mobile and Internet services. Nevertheless, fixed and mobile penetration is relatively high compared with other countries in the region. While Internet usage is growing reasonably fast, the level of penetration is still well below international standards, but about average in the region. The government is considering unbundling the national operator to create discrete telecom and regulatory entities and later privatise them.

  • Fixed-line subscribers: 46.2 per 1,000 persons
  • Mobile subscribers: 113 per 1,000 persons
  • Dial-up subscribers: 19.0 per 1,000 persons
  • Broadband subscribers: 0.0
  • Internet users: 36.0 per 1,000 persons
  • Television broadcast stations: 12 (including 7 relay stations)
  • Radio stations: AM 3; FM 2; shortwave 3

National Development Strategy – Vision 2022 The government adopted a national economic strategy called the National Development Strategy – Vision 2022 in 1997 which articulates development priorities for all economic sectors including education. The vision of this strategy is that by 2022 Swaziland will be in the top 10% of the medium human development group of countries founded on sustainable economic development, social justice, and political stability. The strategy’s vision statement also states that the focus is on quality of life, of which the critical dimensions are poverty eradication, employment creation, gender equity, social integration, and environmental protection, which are in turn linked to education, health, and other aspects of human resource development. Important elements in this strategy are appropriate education and training (including a move away from the present academic orientation and towards a technical and vocational orientation); adequate incentives extended to businesses and households to encourage the full development of human capital; appropriate youth programmes; special attention to members of society with disabilities; and all other areas that have an impact on the quality of human capital (health, water, sanitation, shelter, etc).

The National Development Strategy also mentions the need for the “cableway and telecommunications” sector to:

  • Improve accountability and performance measures
  • Strengthen the implementation of the Public Enterprise Act to attain financial and

performance targets

  • Streamline the regulatory framework
  • Allow competition in the telecommunications industry within a conducive

supervisory environment

  • Base investment decisions on economic criteria
  • Co-ordinate installation of communications infrastructure with national

development agents

  • Formulate and implement a rational communications policy
  • Promote the economic empowerment of nationals by encouraging their

participation in telecommunications as owners, managers, and technical operators (with foreign technical partners where necessary)

  • Ensure that the telecommunications network is in line with new technological

developments abroad

In 2006 the Swaziland government developed a draft ICT policy document. The government has appointed a multidisciplinary team to consult with a wide range of stakeholders and ensure integration and linkages to the National Development Strategy. (5)

ICT in education initiatives

Virtual initiatives in schools

Computer Education Trust The Swaziland Computer Education Trust (CET) is a non-profit organisation that was set up 1999 in Mbabane with funding from private business sources within Swaziland to address the poverty of technical education across the country’s state school system. Its objective is to extend computer literacy and vocational ICT training to every child in secondary and high school in Swaziland. The computers are intended for use across the whole school curriculum with the aim of future Internet integration in education. CET facilitates the development of the necessary pedagogical materials and the delivery of professional pre-service and in-service training (INSET) for all Swaziland teachers. CET will install a 20-PC computer lab in each of the 187 secondary and high schools across Swaziland and guarantee their sustainable use by providing full technical and maintenance back-up support facilities. CET has partnered with SchoolNet Africa and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa to upgrade its existing Technical Services Centre which serves to source, refurbish, and distribute second-hand computers to Swazi schools.

CET is already directly providing teacher training in ICT and is currently negotiating with the Ministry of Education to integrate this provision within the existing programme of pre-service and in-service teacher training. CET has installed 20 computers in 40 schools and is providing effective maintenance and technical support. Teachers are given an introductory course in ICT trouble-shooting and comprehensive training in the use of computers in education specifically tailored for the Swaziland education system. Negotiations have begun, and agreement in principle reached, with the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) and the Swaziland College of Technology (SCOT) to incorporate these technical functions within the framework of the curriculum of their existing computer maintenance courses and work experience placements. This will replicate the successful South African model where diploma and degree students are given the opportunity to develop applied skills in computer installation and maintenance while establishing the capacity to deliver computer education in schools. In other words, they will actually install PCs in schools and provide technical back-up as part of their studies. (5)

Virtual initiatives in post-secondary education

The University of Swaziland has an Institute of Distance Education which has in October 2009 produced Issue 1 of an informative Newsletter - http://www.uniswa.sz/academic/distlearn/newsletter.pdf

The Institute will offer three new programmes:

  1. Certificate in Portuguese
  2. Bachelor of Education degree in Primary Education
  3. Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary Education

These are done in collaboration with the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo (Portuguese programme) - it is the oldest and largest university in Mozambique - and the staff of the University of Swaziland Faculty of Education (degrees in Education)

The Institute has also recently installed Moodle.

Lessons learnt

The lack of national infrastructure seriously constrains the use of ICTs in Swaziland’s education institutions. (5)


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swaziland#Education

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Swaziland

3. Southern and Eastern African consortium for monitoring educational quality http://www.sacmeq.org/education-swaziland.htm

4. http://www.sarua.org/?q=Swaziland

5. InfoDev report April 2007 http://www.infodev.org/en/Publication.431.html

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