1 October 2018

Swaziland Police Ready to Invigilate School Exams During Teachers' Pay Dispute

opinion

Police officers in Swaziland are being prepared so they can go into schools and invigilate exams if teachers who are campaigning for a pay rise refuse to do the job.

More than 500 police officers are being trained, a report in the Observer on Saturday newspaper in Swaziland reported (29 September 2018).

Training has taken place at the Police Academy in Matsapha.

Members of the Swaziland National Association of teachers (SNAT) are seeking a 6.55 per cent cost of living pay rise, but the government has offered zero.

The industrial Court in Swaziland (recently renamed Eswatini by absolute monarch King Mswati III) forced SNAT to postpone a three-day strike due to start on 25 September 2018. SNAT has since said its members will attend school but will not work normally.

The Observer reported, 'A visit by the Observer on Saturday team to the institution uncovered government officials from the Ministry of Education and Training and other ministries training over 500 police officers in readiness for the examinations on Monday.

'The officials took the police officers through instructions that should be given to the pupils throughout the examinations. Teaching Service Commission (TSC) Chairman Simanga Mamba, in his own words yesterday, said government will not condone any unlawful conduct by teachers and took the opportunity to assure the nation that all steps would be taken to ensure that the final examinations for schools proceed uninterrupted from Monday 1st October, 2018.'

The newspaper added, 'The academy was yesterday littered with a number of high ranking government officials including Principal Secretaries (PSs) from the Prime Minister's office Victor Nxumalo, Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Winnie Stewart, Ministry of Agriculture Bongani Masuku and that of Public Works and Transport Makhosini Mndawe. The place was also littered with top police officers as well officers from the ministry of education that included Regional Education Officers (REOs) from the various regions.'

It added, 'Sources at the Police Academy confirmed that yesterday's move was a clandestine plan that should be put into motion in the event teachers stick to their plan not to administer the examinations to the pupils.'

The police denied training was taking place, but the Observer published photographs it said showed police officers undergoing training at the college.

The Observer on Saturday reports police are being trained to invigilate school exams.

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