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MANZINI – The country’s Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini says the policy to have pupils taught in their home language in the first four grades is a policy by UNESCO for all countries and Swaziland is no exception.

The premier, however, did point out that the policies that were mentioned yesterday would not all be implemented overnight. He said their implementation would be the work of the siSwati Board that was going to be appointed by the Ministry of Education and this Board would be appointed soon rather than later.

“UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has said that all countries must conduct lessons in vernacular in the first four years of school as this will help the children develop linguistic skills.

“It also helps the child to acquire the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy and lays an emphasis on understanding and creativity. It is normal that most parents think that a child is only smart if they can speak English.” Dlamini explained.

He added that the organisation highlighted the importance of one’s mother tongue as a channel for safeguarding and sharing indigenous cultures and knowledge.
“Cabinet says if the World Union says so, who are we to argue?” Dlamini said.
Dlamini emphasised his point that the policies would be worked out in a manner that was both practical and recognised at all times that the education of the child remained the greatest priority.

“The SiSwati Board will be made of experts in the language, who will find practical ways on how best these policies can be implemented and turned into circulars, some of them are taking place as we speak and some might need a few years to be developed, however, at the end of the day, the most important thing is the child’s education,” he further explained.

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