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MBABANE – Contrary to the Ministry of Education and Training’s directive for teachers to report for duty, some ignored it yesterday, resulting in government dispatching inspectors.

Some teachers did not report for duty yesterday as per their vow last week that they would instead attend branch meetings organised by their union, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). In some schools around the capital city, which were visited yesterday by reporters from this publication, some pupils were found loitering around school premises, while others attended classes. At around 11:10am, some pupils were found making their way home after they were turned back by their teachers. This was the case with KaSchiele Primary School, where pupils were found walking to town, while others played games on the road side. The head teacher was not found at the school as he had reportedly gone to the regional education office (REO).

“We had to send pupils home because there is no water at the school,” one employee of the school said. Noticeably, some teachers were seen hanging their dripping wet clothes on washing lines at their quarters, which is within the school premises. Interestingly, there was a voice clip that did the rounds on social media platform WhatsApp from Monday, requesting teachers not to set foot in staffrooms but rather do their laundry or other home chores. Meanwhile, classes seemed to be proceeding as normal at KaSchiele High School, as there were no pupils loitering around. While others were in their respective classrooms, some were seen preparing to water the school garden. Attempts to have an interview with the head teacher and deputy head teacher were unsuccessful, as they were reportedly in a meeting. The same was the case with KaBoyce High School, Woodlands High School and Mbabane Central High School where pupils were found in their classrooms. In all the aforementioned schools, some teachers were seen conducting lessons.

One of the head teachers interviewed yesterday said some teachers were present, while others went to the meeting organised by SNAT. The head teacher, whose name will be deliberately withheld, said most of the teachers who were not at the school attended the meeting during their free periods. He said as head teachers, they could not stop teachers from attending SNAT meetings. He said they left it to them to decide whether to attend such meetings or not.

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