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Friday, 24 March 2017

END OF FREE SWAZI PRIMARY SCHOOLING

Free primary school education in Swaziland is a thing of the past as schools are to be allowed to charge parents ‘top-up’ fees.

This goes against S29 of the Swaziland Constitution.

The Swazi Government pays E580 per child but this is supported by the European Union. The cost to European taxpayers since 2011 has been US$8 million.

School principals have complained that the money given to them was inadequate. Local media reported that some schools had declared bankruptcy.

Dr Phineas Magagula, Minister of Education, told a budget debate in parliament that top-up fees had been authorised.

Now, parents will be sent a bill for their children’s’ education. No additional money will be given by the Government.

Up until December 2016, the EU had spent a total amount of E110 million (US$8 million) to fund the Free Primary Education Programme in Swaziland. In 2015, it reportedly sponsored 34,012 learners in 591 schools. The EU plans to continue paying for the school fees until the end of 2018.

The EU started funding FPE for first grade pupils in the whole country in 2011.

The decision to charge fees contravenes S29 of the Swaziland Constitution which states, ‘Every Swazi child shall within three years of the commencement of this Constitution [2005] have the right to free education in public schools at least up to the end of primary school, beginning with the first grade.’ 

In February 2017, nearly E2.7 billion (US$216 million) was allocated in the national budget for the kingdom’s security forces that comprise the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF), Royal Swaziland Police Service (RSPS) and His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS). 

Security will take up 12.4 percent of Swaziland’s total budget of E21.7 bn ($US1.66 bn), up 11 percent from last year.

Education was allocated E3.5 billion.

See also

SWAZILAND: MASSIVE ‘SECURITY’ SPENDING

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