Swaziland Education

Unlike in most countries, education in Swaziland is neither compulsory nor free for most students. Whilst the state does pay teacher wages, it is up the communities to pay for the upkeep of school buildings and provide homes for teaching staff, however as from January 2010 the first two grades of primary school became free and it is anticipated that this free program may be extended as the country's finances allow.

Despite this, nearly all children in Swaziland attend primary education however drop out rates are high and only about half the children of secondary school age attend formal education as working on the land and providing for the family is considered more of a priority.

Swaziland EducationEntrance into a secondary school also depends on whether the child has passed the Swaziland Primary Certificate Exam and, of course, whether there are places actually available in the school. In reality this means that only about one in five students enrolled in primary school actually go on to secondary school.

Primary education itself starts at seven years old in rural areas (at the age of six in urban areas) and lasts for seven years, followed by three years of three years of 'lower' secondary education.

Many families tend to choose which child in their family would most benefit from education or rotate their education each year so that only one set of school fees would be payable in any given year. (Around 2/3rds of Swazi's live on less than 60p a day and school fess are around £45.00 a year.)

Educational attendance is also hampered by the ravages of HIV / AIDS across the country with children being forced to remain at home to care for family members. In fact 100,000 children have now been orphaned by AIDS and the virus has also killed many teaching staff.

This short video documentary shows what it is like inside a typical Swaziland school and hears from a teacher about the provision of education to children in Swaziland.


Swaziland School

Typical Swaziland School

Swaziland Education

Swaziland Education

Swaziland Education

Swaziland Education



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Swaziland Education This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Swaziland Education

If you are interested in helping with the provision of education for children in Swaziland you may wish to visit the Swaziland Schools Project. This is a charity that helps promote education there by paying bursaries (fees) so that children can attend school, helps with building classrooms, toilet blocks, kitchens, life skills units, agricultural units and providing water supplies at schools and provides equipment for schools such as books, computers, sewing machines and sewing materials


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