Swaziland: Confusion As Swaziland Schools Try to Reopen After Coronavirus Shutdown

There was confusion across Swaziland (eSwatini) as schools attempted to reopen after an almost one-year closure because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ministry of Health and Training had issued a staggered timetable for reopening but many pupils turned up when they were not scheduled.

There was also confusion about whether school fees needed to be paid.

Staff and pupils were required to wear masks and to keep social distancing. Many had their temperatures screened before they were allowed into school. Many were unsure how they were supposed to behave.

The Times of eSwatini reported, 'It was a bad start to the reopening of schools as a lot seemed to have gone wrong. Teachers had a tough time while trying to arrange pupils who had no clue which classrooms they had to occupy.'

It added, 'Meanwhile, some of the pupils in Grade IV, V and VI had to be turned back as they had attended school yet they were not supposed to.'

The eSwatini Observer reported several schools in the Shiselweni region were expected to open without teachers. There are over 140 primary schools and over 70 high schools in the region.

It quoted Regional Education Officer Siboniso Gumbi saying, 'The only serious challenge I have received from a number of principals it is that of the shortage of teachers. There are schools that will open with only five teachers. Other schools are likely to open with fewer teachers than that.'

Separately, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers and the Swaziland Association of Schools Administrators said that there would be no lessons until the number of teachers was doubled.

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