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AGRICULTURE: THE DE-PRIORITISED PRIORITY

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At this very moment, thousands of Swazi young adults, fresh from high school, are spending their hard earned cash applying to the Faculty of Agriculture and Consumer Science of the University of Swaziland.


They are doing this with the hope of being accepted into the institution and studying a course being marketed as ‘the backbone of the economy of the country’.


Swaziland schools offer Agriculture from Grade V, giving the pupils the notion that it is a needed skill.
Agriculture programmes are being marketed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security as priority courses. In its assertion, the ministry says it undertook a study to ascertain the skills needed, and having identified such, decided to sponsor the Swazi child to study them.


After the grueling four years at the university, the graduates face another lifetime of uncertainty. After defending their thesis, they jump from the frying pan to the fire, living from hand to mouth.


If lucky, they are engaged by the Teaching Service Commission, albeit on contract basis, lasting a maximum of two years. This job is not guaranteed. The contract can or cannot be renewed. Renewal depends on the discretion of the head teacher of the school one has been posted to.


The reason the graduates turn to teaching is because the priority has not been prioritised. Upon completing, one borrows money from parents and relatives; write application letters, CVs and make copies of their degree certificates and apply in as many as 20 companies, including the Ministry of Agriculture.

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