Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) message addressed to Education International
16 September 2011
Dear [Education International] Secretary General,
The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) informs Education International (EI) that our gains in as so far as Education For All in Swaziland is under very serious threat. SNAT has been very instrumental in making sure that Free Primary Education is introduced such that we were part of civil society when government was forced to introduce it in 2009. This year all school going children from grade 1 to grade 3 are attending school without paying school fees even though there are few schools which demand top up. In the Secondary from grade 4 to grade 12 government introduced grants (bursaries) for Orphans and Vulnerable Children. This has been going on for more than five years now, but this year due to the Economic Crisis we are facing government has failed to give money for both programmes.
Our members who are School Head teachers have found it difficult to run schools due to shortage of basic teaching material and to pay for Support Staff as they currently not under the government payroll. There have been a lot of unfulfilled promises from government on when the money was going to be deposited into the schools accounts. Some schools were forced to close early for the second term on 12 August with hope that when schools open for third term on 13 September funds would be available. We held a number of meetings with the Ministry of Education officials to no avail.
We then gave government an ultimatum that the money should be deposited in the schools accounts by the 14th of September failing which we would march to demand the payment. We were joined by University students on Thursday 15 September to deliver petitions to the Ministry of Education & Training where the money for Free Primary Education is disbursed and Deputy Prime Minister Office where the money for OVC's is disbursed.
There is a lot of confusion in our schools as some Head teachers have taken a decision not to open schools while we have told our members to go back to school to avoid a situation where government will charge us with being in an illegal strike. We have told our members to be at their duty stations until further notice. We will inform your office if the conditions change.
Muzi Gladwell Mhlanga
SNAT General Secretary
TEACHERS PROTEST CLOSED SCHOOLS