Africa-Press – Eswatini. So far, head teachers from about 70 schools have reported that the threats from unknown people and chaotic episodes from pupils prompted them to close schools last week.
The head teachers purported that many educators in various schools had been threatened by unknown people for going to school, resulting in them closing schools for the day on August 8, 2022. Others claimed that there were protests staged by the pupils who also damaged property. The above reasons were recorded in the preliminary reports which were submitted by head teachers through their regional education offices (REOs), following the Ministry of Education and Training’s order that they should explain why schools were closed on August 8. Head teachers were ordered to individually explain why they closed schools last week Monday and Tuesday, where most learners were sent home. Schools that were writing mock examinations also had to suspend them.
The ministry has received at least over 70 reports from the different regions across the country; Shiselweni, Hhohho, Manzini and Lubombo. According to the Principal Secretary (PS) in the ministry, Bhekithemba Gama, reports were still coming in from the various REOs. He stated that the feedback received in the Hhohho Region showed that 17 high schools out of 78 were disturbed and 14 out of 171 primary schools. In Manzini, six schools closed, while 38 reported disturbances. In the Lubombo Region 12 primary schools and nine high schools were disturbed. Two schools were forced to close. At Mafucula High School, the community blocked the entrance leading to the school.
When questioned on whether disciplinary action would be taken against schools which closed, Gama said REOs would refer cases that were expected to be investigated further. The PS said they would use the reports to check against the referred cases. The closure of schools came after an audio circulated on social media, where members of the State security organs were given 14 days (which elapsed last Friday) to withdraw their services. The audio advised security personnel to withdraw their services in defending the Tinkhundla System of Government, while also making a litany of threats which cannot be repeated given their nature. Following the circulating audio, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) advised teachers to stay at home for safety reasons.
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