Mbabane: The Examinations Council of Eswatini is continuing to prepare for the marking of examinations for both primary and high schools in the Kingdom amid the outbreak of the coronavirus that has led to schools being closed for over two months.
On May 19, the council made an announcement, inviting qualified teachers who are interested in the 2020 marking exercise to start applying before the June 30 deadline.
Registrar of the Exams Council of Eswatini Dr. Edmund Mazibuko confirmed that the council has called upon teachers interested in marking external examinations to register online as per COVID-19 regulations which restrict movements. Mazibuko said once the teachers have applied, the council will find a way to confirm the teachers’ credibility because under normal circumstances the council was assisted by head teachers in confirming the teachers’ qualifications and credibility, adding that forms are now readily available on the council’s website.
Mazibuko went on to say that the council is putting all necessities in readiness for writing of exams by the end of the academic calendar as usual. He said examinations will continue because pupils in completing classes are continuing with their subjects through the national radio and television. The registrar advised those pupils who do not have access to the radio or TV not to relax but also continue studying at home with the books they have and they should make it their own responsibility to find all other materials like past examination papers to help them prepare for their exams.
Mazibuko said the council is aware of the subjects that have practical components like Agriculture, Design and Technology, Consumer Science and Prevocational Studies. In response to this, he said the council will accommodate those subjects when preparing for exams because the COVID-19 situation is beyond anyone’s control, adding that does not mean pupils will not be examined on those practical subjects.
Concerning pupils who are supposed to sit for the exams as private candidates, he said the council is urging those to indicate with the council pertaining finding centres where they will sit for their examinations. He said the council will also work close with those pupils to solve any problem arising upon their registration processes done online.
The government has not said anything concerning opening schools anytime soon as Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini said schools remain closed under the extended national emergency.
Meanwhile, Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) has issued 15 demands to the ministry of Education and Training to comply with before opening schools.
In 2012 the academic calendar was once disturbed in the kingdom as teachers were engaging on a strike action that lasted for over two months. The strike was long to an extent that it was branded as ‘Waya-Waya’ which can be loosely translated as continued strike. Despite this strike, exams were written under those unfortunate circumstances.
Almost a fortnight ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO), called on decision makers to reflect on a number of key factors when deciding on whether and how to reopen schools.
“First, a clear understanding about current Covid-19 transmission and severity of the virus in children is needed. Second, the epidemiology of Covid-19 where the school is geographically located needs to be considered. “Third, the ability to maintain Covid-19 prevention and control measures within the school setting,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“When reflecting on the decision to reopen schools, the local government should assess the capacity of the schools to maintain infection, prevention and control measures.” Efforts to pave a way to restart schools in South Africa stalled after school management teams, who were supposed to report at school on Monday, were directed not to come. According to Eswatini Observer on Thursday, May 7, Minister of Education and Training Lady Howard-Mabuza said that the 2020 academic year was far from being scrapped because government was still adopting the principle used by South Africa.