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MBUTFU – The pronouncement by government that pupils who do not have Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) will now be registered in schools, will surely be sweet music to the ears of hundreds of pupils who had dropped out due to lack of PINs.

This publication has gathered that hundreds of pupils in Lubombo, especially those in rural areas, were no longer attending school because they did not have PINs, which are a basic requirement for registering for enrolment in primary schools. It was gathered that some of those who dropped out were now in the second level (Grade II) but they were forced to drop out just a week into the commencement of the current academic year. In some of the schools, this publication understands, administrators made it clear at the start of this academic year that all pupils without PINs would have to stop attending lessons. Also, aspiring pupils, who did not have PINs but had provisionally been granted spaces, were also not admitted. The reasons head teachers kicked out pupils without PINs is that government does not pay free primary education (FPE) grants for improperly registered pupils, said a school administrator.

However, many head teachers this publication contacted, denied kicking out pupils without PINs, only stating that the pupils had opted to drop out because they were not given stationery. Some parents, however, confirmed that their children were sent home to ‘get PINs’ and that they would not be allowed in class without producing birth certificates. Fikile Mabuyakhulu of Mbutfu, said her son was allowed to attend classes last year, even though he did not have a PIN.


However, this academic year, her son was told he could not continue with classes without producing a PIN, she said. “The head teacher called me last Thursday and asked that I bring a certificate for my son, who is now in Grade II. I explained that he still did not have a certificate and after some days, he (son) came home and told me that they had sent him to fetch the certificate,” said Mabuyakhulu, whose son goes to Bekezela Primary School. Mbutfu is a rural community which lies along Eswatini border with neighbouring South Africa. In this area, there are quite a number of pupils who have dropped out of school because they do not have PINs.

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