Mbabane: Schools offering matric in Eswatini will remain closed despite South African schools opening on June 1 for Matric and Grade 7.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Training Bertram Stewart told Independent News that all schools in Eswatini will remain closed, either offering South African National Senior Certificate (Matric) or the local syllabus known as Eswatini General Certificate for Secondary Education (EGSCE). Stewart said what they are doing in South Africa does not mean Eswatini should do. “This is not a matter of matching the South African academic curriculum but it’s a matter of safety and wellbeing of children hence all schools remain closed here in the country” said Stewart.
On May 19 Minister of Education in South Africa Angie Motshekga announced that South African schools will open for Matriculates and Grade 7. This follows that schools were forced to close amid the outbreak of Coronavirus globally. In South Africa schools were closed on March 15 after President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered immediately closure following the outbreak of the coronavirus and Eswatini also followed suit and closed schools on March 17 after Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini had declared a national emergency in Eswatini under the command of His Majesty King Mswati III.
The re-opening of schools in South Africa has raised a concern to the local schools that offer the South African syllabus: matriculation as they have to abide by the local regulations of closing schools. This schools are in dilemma as to balance complying with the local regulations and also adjusting to the South African academic calendar that is about to resume as soon as June 1 when schools open in South Africa. The local schools that offer matric are using the same calendar used by the South African schools and according to Minister Motshekga her department will give out the adjusted calendar before the end of the month.
The schools offering matric in Eswatini include U-Tech, Sisekelo, Saim Christian High School, Mbalenhle Christian Academy, Kobe Ramkgadi Advanced Learning Academy to name but a few.
On January 8 one of the local newspapers reported that Eswatini pupils shined in Matric examination written in 2019. The students were mainly from U-Tech school.
The issue of Eswatini schools offering Matric has been a thorn in the flesh to the Eswatini government as the South African counterparts have been threatening to terminate the teaching of matric in other countries like Eswatini. However, in August 2019 Eswatini was given an extension of three years until 2021 to continue with the South African syllabus. This extension was given so that Eswatini could put her house in order as far as the offering of matric is concerned.
On another note Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporations Senate Thuli Dladla told this publication that her department has been engaging the South African government on returning of students to South Africa and South Africa has given a green light only to Final year students studying medicine to return back to South Africa to continue with their studies. Dladla said regarding those working in South Africa it is still issues on the negotiation table and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Is still engaging South Africa on the matter.