There is no compulsory schooling in Swaziland: yet just over four out of five children are expected to start the seven-year primary school, which starts at the age of six.
A small number of students drop out of elementary school early, often because they are needed at home for the family’s livelihood. Fees for, for example, school supplies are already charged in primary school, which can be too expensive for poor families.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Swaziland, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Approximately one third of each year of study goes on to the extension phase, which lasts a maximum of five years. Girls attend elementary school to the same extent as boys, but at the post-secondary stage the proportion of girls decreases.
There is a university and about ten colleges. In addition, some young Swazis study abroad, mainly in South Africa.
Literacy is relatively high among both men and women. The state has invested quite a lot of resources in the education system, but the AIDS epidemic has created a shortage of educated teachers.
The government tightens the lashing strap
In an effort to gain control of state spending, the country’s new head of government bans all government officials, including ministers, from flying first class. Ambrose Dlamini announces that for the same purpose, he will inherit his predecessor’s car instead of buying a new one. Reduced government spending and high spending have resulted in a high budget deficit. In its forecast, the World Bank forecasts that the country’s GDP will shrink by just over half a percent in 2018.
Change of head of government
King Mswati III appoints businessman Mandvulo Ambrose Dlamimi as new head of government after Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini who passed away in September. Dlamimi lacks political experience but, on the other hand, the scope for a government head is very limited in Swaziland where the king has all power.
The opposition calls for election boycotts
Swaziland holds parliamentary elections. Since parties are not allowed to participate (see Political system), the choice is between a number of individual candidates who are loyal to King Mswati III. 59 members are elected and 10 are directly appointed by the king. The opposition calls the election a farce and calls for boycott, while the authorities and others who support the system describe it as a unique blend of tradition and politics according to the AFP news agency. Before the election, thousands of public servants express their displeasure with the regime by participating in union-led protest marches demanding higher salaries.
Premiere for Pride Parade
A Pride parade is being held for the first time in Swaziland where male homosexuality is prohibited. The historical manifestation in the capital Mbabane attracts around 500 participants.
Eswatini country’s new name
King Mswati III announces that the country is renaming Eswatini which in the local language means “Swazi place” or “Swazi country” Unlike some other African countries, Swaziland retained its colonial name in 1968, which has been a source of controversy. A change of name has been discussed on several occasions. The King makes his announcement in front of a packed sports arena in connection with the celebration of 50 years of independence. “Swaziland now retrieves its original name” announces the King and states that “from now on it is the official name of the Kingdom of Eswatini”.
Protests against expensive national day celebrations
For the sake of unusualness, a demonstration is being held in the capital Mbabane. Participants protest against deteriorating living conditions and the ways of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Britain’s liberation. The ceremony, which takes place on April 19, coincides with King Mswatis III’s birthday and is expected to be a lavish story. According to the union that organizes the protests, funds for the party have been set aside from the country’s pension fund. Police are deployed to disperse demonstrators who burn tires, block streets and try to get into the head of government.
Free Trade Agreement in Africa
Swaziland is one of 44 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement at the African Union Summit in Rwanda. The agreement must be ratified at the national level before the AFCFTA free trade area can become a reality, but it is seen as a historically important step towards increased trade exchange within Africa.