Education in Swaziland - An Overview

Swaziland lies across this great geological fault, which passes from the Drakensberg Mountains of Lesotho, north through the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe, forms the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and, ultimately, peters out in present-day Turkey. The topography of Swaziland varies from east to west.

The education system in Swaziland is divided into four main categories-

  • Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD),
  • Primary Education,
  • Secondary Education, and
  • Post Secondary Education. Post secondary education comprises of tertiary education and vocational education offered through different institutions.
The Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) targets children 0 to 8 years old. For ECCD some organizations used terms like Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and Early Childhood Development, (ECD).

The Ministry of Education is the administering authority for ECCD. For admission into Grade 1 a child must be 6 years old. The duration of Primary Education in Swaziland is 7 years. Children 6 to 13 years old attend primary schools.  The seventh year is externally examined by the Examinations Council of Swaziland (ECOS). After successful completion students proceed to Junior Secondary School. About 83% children join Junior Secondary School. Parents contribute towards primary education through school fees and building fund.

The secondary education in Swaziland is divided over two sub systems i.e. junior secondary school and senior secondary school commonly called secondary school. An external public examination is held after 3 years called Junior Certificate Examination. Swaziland Examination Council administers the examination. Students must require passing in Junior Certificate Examination to proceed to Secondary school.

There are few schools in Swaziland that offers 4-year secondary school program that culminates in International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations. At Form 5, students appear for the O-Level examinations set by Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Some students proceed to do A-Level at centers that offer it within and outside Swaziland.  After successful completion of Secondary school students may join university / college for higher studies.

Besides formal education, non – formal education is also available in the Swaziland for adult people and dropouts.  Special education program are also conducted in different locations.

On January 25, 1978 Swaziland joined UNESCO. The UNESCO Regional Office in Windhoek, Namibia covers the country.  The UNESCO Institute for Statistics has prepared detailed report on Education and Literacy Scenario in Swaziland. For complete details, click here.
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