Education System of Swaziland
Education in Swaziland is not required and it is not free for the majority of students.
The Swaziland education system is made up of three parts:
Primary education consists of seven levels. The first two
are called Grades one and two and the next five years are
called Standards one to five.
Primary education starts around ages six or seven, and most kids in Swaziland,
about ninety three percent, obtain a primary education.
As of January 2010, the first two years (Grades one and two) are free, and the
Swazi government is looking to expand the number of years of free education as
much as their funds allow.
During Primary education, children in school study English, siSwati (the Swazi
language), math, science, social sciences. Some schools teach classes in
agriculture, home economics, physical education and developmental studies.
At the end of the seven years, the Swaziland Primary Certificate Exam is
administered, which helps determine which students are eligible for continuing
Secondary education is not free, and only about twenty percent of children of
school age are able to go to primary school, mostly because families need their
children working on farms at home or because they can only afford to send one
child to school. Availability of spaces also accounts for the chance that a student
has of going to a secondary school.
The first three years of secondary school are called Forms I to III. Completion
of these years results in the student earning their Junior Certificate, or J.C. by
the Swaziland Ministry of Education. The J.C. is the most common entry-level
qualification for employment.
The curriculum for a J.C. includes English, integrated sciences, math, and
siSwati as its core and also includes development studies, history, geography, and
practical subjects like bookkeeping or agriculture.
During the next two years, Forms IV and V, students study for the Cambridge
Overseas School Certificate (C.O.S.C.) examinations at the Ordinary (O) level.
There is a Form VI in which students prepare for their Advanced (A) level
examinations, but it is only offered at three schools in the entire country.
There are two possible paths to take the C.O.S.C. exams:
The arts curriculum includes English, math and biology, siSwati or French,
geography, history, two subjects of development studies, and one practical
The Cambridge Science curriculum includes English, math, biology, and
Only about five percent of students of schooling age will receive a tertiary
Schooling is paid for by the government for students who qualify for a higher
The government sponsors the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), which has
two campuses. Aside from the two campuses, there are three teacher-training
colleges, two nursing colleges, vocational institutions, and the Swaziland College
In order to be admitted to degree courses at college, the C.O.S.C. and a credit in
English and math is required. Students who meet this requirement may go on to
earn a bachelors degree, a masters, or even a Ph.D.
Degrees in the arts, sciences, commerce, education, and law are available,
with supplementary courses offered in accounting, business management, and
Grades are given on and A to F scale. Earning an A is very unlikely, and Bs and
Cs are considered to be strong grades. A D is a respectable grade, but anything
lower than a D is not passing.