No regard for education
Ah! I see why the teachers are being ignored. I see why the children are being left stranded in classes, if not thrown out into the streets to put them in harm’s way.
I see why there is so much uncertainty as to what the future holds for the schools whether they are going to remain open or if they will be closed soon.
I see why the children are being used as pawns in this debacle of the 4.5 per cent salary demand.
I see why teachers are out on the street, dolo phezulu and all, without anyone getting worried about what this translates to the financial situation parents find themselves in and the quality of education of our children.
The answer is quite simple really government has no regard for education in this country. None, whatsoever. In fact, they do not care so much about schools and the situation as it is right now can remain like this for the rest of the year.
So what if schools are disrupted? So what if education is compromised? So what if the mock examinations are disturbed? So what if parents can’t afford to send their children to school?
This is the mentality of a government up there in its ivory tower, in total disregard of the frustra-tions of the public that they are struggling to make ends meet - and therefore it is painful to helplessly watch the situation right now.
In any given country, and never mind if it is democratic or not, this strike would have been solved and a solution would have been found. But not in our beloved beautiful Swaziland, which apparently prides itself as believing in dialogue and being a peace-loving nation.
Yet it is so ironic how the situation says this is anything but a peaceful country, for no one right now is at peace with what is going on.
Many parents have asked themselves countless times, while not expecting any answers of course, how government can just sit there and allow this situation to play on like this. But the answer is plain and simple it does not matter. It is not just because the children of the leadership are in schools outside of this country, or in those known as private schools, it is just that we all didn’t get the memo from 2005 when the Constitution became the supreme law of the land.
The memo was that they were going to destroy our education system, bit by bit. Perhaps it came into effect in 2008, who knows. But when this government failed to prioritise education, it was evident what the plan was—after all, Sikhuphe is the real priority. The army is an even bigger priority. So, too, the lining of politicians’ pockets. But not education.
And to prove this, Free Primary Education has become a non-starter, with government failing to pay the fees on time every year. There also was no political commitment to prioritising this, to ensure that it became the crucial stepping stone for government and setting the right tone for its social services. To date, government is still lagging behind in its payment to schools, yet it expects these schools to run effectively and principals to run schools efficiently.
In addition to this, government came up with an unworkable scholarship policy that now criminalises education. It stopped giving scholarships to university students, with hundreds having their hopes of a bright future dashed and sent home to do nothing but resort to other means to earn a living.
This, for a country that says it wants to get to developed status in 10 years, is a crying shame.
To date, the university has been operating like it is on a life-support system in an ICU; it is a miracle that it has not collapsed. Lecturers have had to endure months of no pay, students have had to study and write exams without any allowances for books and food it’s incredible, if you ask me. And yet, here we are, with the entire Cabinet operating like everything is normal. Operating like nothing has ever happened, with teachers running up and down the streets, unrecognisable in their conduct towards some of their colleagues who had not heeded the call to strike and their confrontations with these as well as the police. Children have been grabbed out of classes to join the strike which now has entered a third week.
These are teachers, expected to teach our future leaders. Yet government is doing nothing, but to pour petrol onto the fire by declaring that there will not be a salary increment in three years.
Great stuff—just what the situation needed, if you ask me. This is because it is all going according to plan; our children must not get a decent education. The future leaders of this country cannot be people who are intellectuals and who are going to challenge things.
Clearly, if you consider that this country does not pride itself on the quality and calibre of Swazis who are passionate about this country and have attained an education to stand them-selves in good stead anywhere in the world, it is obvious this is the direction we want to take.
And because of this, people like Judge Qinisile Mabuza, or Thomas Masuku, can’t really stand a chance of being Chief Justices of our High Court ever! They would rather give it to an individual who was under-qualified, like Richard Banda; or get rid of the best brains such as Judge Masuku; just because they can!
In essence, this is what it comes down to; our government does not value education and there is no chance whatsoever that the teachers will get the 4.5 per cent; because it is only the selected few who should get the privilege of a decent education; or decent salaries; or a say in this country. The rest of us, well, we can forget it no matter how much we love our Swaziland!
To quote Vusi Sibisi (because this is his trademark) they want the ‘knee-bending, grovelling sycophants’ only in this country.
Wayisho ngayibona lentfo wena Mr Editor!!...its painful to see a country that does not prioritize in Education! Vele angeke lakhe lelive....no matter what!!!
Jul 6, 2012, 7:13 AM, Mamba Lendze
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