By Wonderboy Dlamini, Sizwe Dlamini and Sabelo Majola | 2018-09-12
TEACHERS across the country defied the strong warning by their employer, the ministry of education and training and dumped pupils at the various schools across the country opting to attend their scheduled branch meetings.
This was after the ministry’s principal secretary, Dr Sibongile Mntshali-Dlamini had issued a strong warning in all the media houses in the country, advising teachers and their principals to open schools and continue with normal teaching. This did not happen in most schools. In the Lubombo region, approximately 400 teachers abandoned their duties and attended a branch meeting called by the Swaziland National Association of Teachers at Lubombo Central primary where they formulated strategies of engaging in the proposed strike action which is scheduled for September 19. Speaking during the meeting, branch secretary Mxolisi Sinisela first highlighted that the gathering was a build-up meeting towards the proposed strike action. He called upon the teachers to make suggestions on how they would want the strike to be conducted. Sinisela said teachers who would prefer to stay away from the strike action must brace themselves for violent visits by striking members. Such visits are normally referred to as ‘vusela’ exercises by the teachers.
Sinisela also warned the teachers that they must be prepared that government might impose the infamous ‘no work, no pay rule’ in relation to their upcoming strike. During the same meeting, the teachers hinted that they might have to ask parents and pupils to also join them in the strike action. Furthermore, in the capital city, pupils enjoyed lengthy periods of social conversations and reminiscing as teachers snubbed classes in most schools to attend a branch meeting that was held at the Coronation Park yesterday. Most of the schools at the capital city were in a relaxed mode and most pupils were seen as early as 10am around town gallivanting.
Mater Dolorosa pupils said only a few teachers were present at school and those that were present hardly came to give lessons and the pupils were either roaming around the school or engaged in social conversations.
“There is nothing academic that we did as most teachers were not present at school. It was a day of catching up and wandering around the school without any strict supervision like it is under normal circumstances,” said one pupil.
It was the same scenario at Mbabane Central High School where pupils only had one or two teachers coming in to carry out their duties.
However, it was not all schools that didn’t have classes as it was business as usual for Ka-Boyce pupils as teachers did get the memo and were present at school.
When contacted on the situation in schools yesterday about their assessment, PS Mntshali said they asked regional education officers to task officials to monitor the situation at different schools and they are yet to get a report which will be ready today.
Hhohho Regional Education Officer Thuli LaNgwenya was also contacted and she confirmed assigning officials to inspect schools but the report from the officials was not ready at the time of compiling this report.
In Pigg’s Peak, about 200 pupils from Mhlatane High were also seen roaming the streets yesterday morning.
However, the pupils had been turned back because of untidy hair and had been ordered to go shave their heads. The pupils littered the small town looking for barbershops before quickly returning to school.
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