Saturday 2018-01-20

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EDUCATION CRISIS: E33M NEEDED AS 169 TEACHERS AWAIT POSTS

By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2018-01-04

With the introduction of Christian Education Syllabus as a compulsory subject for all schools in the country, the ministry of education has found itself in a serious financial dilemma.

It has to secure about E33 million that will be used for posts that are meant for 169 teachers who will be teaching the Christian Education Syllabus in schools.

Minister of Education and Training Phineas Magagula revealed that about E33 million is needed by the public service department in order to create posts for about 169 teachers who will teach the subject. However, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) has made it clear that they are not happy with the way government has been handling things including the introduction of the Christian Education syllabus.

SNAT President Freedom Dlamini speaking through a statement released by SNAT Secretary General Zwelithini Mndzebele, said the ministry of education and training's action at the beginning of 2017 of changing the format of the Religious Education subject syllabus to make it strictly Christian, has shown the importance of teachers not leaving curriculum reform to be strictly a prerogative of government.

He said it was as if the ministry had been seized by some unknown psychosis, by proceeding to make the Christian Education syllabus a compulsory subject.

“Our education system was immediately thrown back into the dark ages, not that we had ever got out,” Dlamini stated.

He added that this new syllabus was to be examined at the end of the year. He said the formal procedures that should be followed during curriculum reform were now of no consequence.

The president said in some schools, especially at secondary level, pupils had to drop one subject to comply with this order and contrary to the promise by the ministry that schools were going to have teachers, most schools had no teachers posted.

He said even now there are no signs that teachers would be there. The SNAT leader said SNAT intervention in the matter is critical since as educators they have an ethical role of ensuring that the education system serves its purpose. He said one of the key functions of education is to socialise learners. He noted that as people who live in a global community, the country’s school leavers should be world citizens and a strictly Christian religious education syllabus hardly fulfills that objective.

“We don't want to create religious fundamentalists from our future generation, a predicament that some nations are finding themselves in today’’.

In response, the minister said the ministry is working with the teaching service commission (TSC) to sort out the shortage of teachers.

Magagula said they engaged in a survey starting from 2009 up to date, whereby they were looking at teachers who majored in Religious Studies and History. Magagula said they discovered about 169 teachers who majored in the two subjects.

The minister said what they are doing now was to ask the public service to create posts so that they can be able to shift the teachers from C3 to C5.

Magagula said such will require a lot of money which they will request from government in order to create the posts.

The minister said the ministry will need about E33 million to complete the task and this is an issue which is under discussion.

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