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 MBABANE – The Ministry of Education and Training has confirmed payment of the free primary education (FPE) grants to a total of 430 schools.

These are the latest statistics contained in the First Quarter Performance Report for the Financial Year 2019/2020 for the ministry. The country has 592 public primary schools that benefit from the FPE Programme and 162 have not been paid yet.

The ministry had promised that the remaining schools would be paid before opening of schools. Indeed schools started on a positive note on Tuesday as a majority of the head teachers confirmed to have received the balance from the FPE grants.

All the schools under the Manzini Region have reportedly been paid.
Payment of the second tranche of the FPE grants commenced in May and is still ongoing.


According to the report, despite the milestones that were achieved, the ministry still encountered a number of challenges that still needed to be addressed.
Some of the challenges encountered included the ongoing cash flow challenges experienced by government which delayed the execution of the ministry’s programme including the payment of the FPE grants.

Further, it states that the enforcement of the use of personal identity number’s (PINs) in the payment of the grants resulted in delays in the disbursement of the funds owing to the fact that schools continued to submit wrong information. “Consequently, this causes some delays in the processing of the claims for the schools,” reads part of the report.

As a result of this challenge, payments of the grant for most schools in Lubombo and Shiselweni Regions have not been completed.
Also highlighted in the report is the issue of staff retention, especially in some departments, including teacher training colleges due to uncompetitive salaries.

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