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HEAD TEACHERS HINT FORM III’S OPENING ON AUGUST 24

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MBABANE – Head teachers claim that government gave a hint that the tentative date for the reopening of Form III pupils was now August 24.

Initially, sources within the Ministry of Education and Training had indicated that their principals had suggested August 17 but this date was not endorsed by the relevant authorities.

Sources who were in a meeting with the Ministry of Education and Training Principal Secretary, Bertram Stewart, revealed that a hint given to them was August 24 as the expected date for reopening of Form III pupils. 

The source said the initial plan of the ministry was to open both Grade VII and Form III which was opposed by the Ministry of Health as this may overwhelm the health system. 

Publication

An impeccable source who is a head teacher, informed this publication that officials from the Ministry of Health, when the dates were discussed in Cabinet on Tuesday, felt the pupils needed to be managed hence the need of staggering the reopening of Form III and Grade VII classes. 

The meeting was to discuss readiness of schools in reopening for Form III especially because inspections by the ministers were almost concluded. 

 It was established that there were four ministers in Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Natural Resources Education and that of Education and Training who were tasked with inspecting schools from all the country’s regions. 

The ministers are said to have done the inspections in different dates and were expected to give Cabinet a report before the official date of Form III opening would be officially announced.

It was stated that the inspections were to confirm the readiness before the Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini announced the date, possibly next week. 

Meanwhile, sources also disclosed that in the meeting, it was discussed that Grade VI, Form II and IV were scheduled to open on October 6 along with all levels at tertiary institutions on October 5. 

It was said that by the time the schools’ closure was announced on March 27, 2020, students at tertiary level had already written tests and assignments which were what would be used as part of their results. 

Also, it surfaced that the other grades not mentioned might not open this academic year. 

The source said they were also not told how these pupils would be graded if they were to proceed to the next year. 

Examination timetables were also part of the discussions in the meeting according to the source. 

The source said Eswatini Primary Certificate (EPC) exams were scheduled for November 30 to December 10, 2020 while Junior Certificate (JC) would write their exams from November 27 to December 18, this academic year. 

Exams

Eswatini General Certificate of Secondary Education (EGCSE) pupils, on the other hand, will sit for their exams from November 2 to 26, 2020 while   International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams will start on October 6 to 11 2020. 

Meanwhile, head teachers said they were willing to work and accommodate more classes but they needed finances from government. 

Minister of Education and Training Lady Howard Mabuza said they explained that the issue of finances had been discussed several times. 

This is after head teachers from some of the schools toured by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Shakantu said their main challenge was the lack of funds which they needed to continue smooth operations at the schools. 

This according to the head teachers included gloves, sanitisers and soap among other things. 

Resources

They said the opening of Form III classes meant doubling the resources needed. 

Eswatini Principals Association President Welcome Mhlanga confirmed the meeting with the PS and the discussions that took place but pleaded not to say much when asked about the reopening dates.

He, however, acknowledged that they were short of funds to smoothly run schools and having to accommodate more classes meant more money was needed. 

He said they engaged the ministry about it but the responses were not promising. 

On the other hand, minister said they were still working on getting the money as the country’s funds were redirected to COVID-19 fight. 

“Since they told you, if you have it, you can give it to them,” she said. 

When asked about the dates she told this reporter to ask the PS as he was in the said meeting and that she did not know. 

“What if he was going to say it tomorrow (today)? If you want to know now then call him,” she said.  

 

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