Sends Paul to stand in for him at a farewell function
On a parallel note the premier sent his deputy, Paul Dlamini to stand in for him during the farewell function of Manzini Nazarene Practising Primary School yesterday.
“I regret that I am unable to be here in person but the acting Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini, has kindly agreed to read my statement to you.”
In his speech the premier noted that the future of Eswatini was substantially determined by the quality of education provided to its young students.
He said within that zone of a young person’s life, the importance of primary schooling could never be overstated. “And when I say primary schooling I also include pre-school education.
Provided both are of an appropriately high standard, the social and intellectual development of a child in such an environment enables the child to gain a huge benefit, both then and in later life.
It is the foundation on which a life and career are subsequently built.
That is, of course, the reason why the need to introduce free public primary schooling was given such a high priority over the past decade.
And I am happy to share, with you all, this moment of reflection today on the successful rolling-out of that programme right through to grade seven.
This is a very suitable opportunity to once more thank all the teachers, school staff and government officers for the part they played in that hugely significant period in the history of education in Eswatini.”
He said while recognising the substantial contribution that primary schooling gives to the development of the young Swazi, the nation should never forget how important it is for a child to recieve support from his or her family.
Strong, loving and active parenting is a valuable supplement to a child’s school education. “We are not talking about bringing the classroom into the home but emphasising how important it is for the parent to take an interest in the child’s education, supporting it by ensuring the child is properly fed, pursues good sleeping habits and is not exposed to violence and other forms of disfunctionality, whether in person or through the media and social networks of today.
Good parenting also demands responsibility, supervising the child to ensure homework is done properly, at the same time as helping the child to develop a strong moral fabric to prepare them for a strong and worthy life ahead.”
He added that another very important aspect of domestic support for a child’s education was to encourage the child to read. Reading is an activity with multiple benefits.
He said it enabled a child to acquire knowledge while developing writing and speaking skills. “And how important are those skills? Regardless of the innovative progress in information, communication and technology (ICT), as long as the human race lives and breathes there will be oral communication – that is, communication through talking.
Throughout one’s life the ability to communicate through the written and spoken word will have a profound impact on the ability to connect with others, to communicate effectively with family, friends and work associates, and to motivate others, as well as develop the skills of conflict resolution.”
As a country, Eswatini has made great strides in its education. Over the past 20 years the number of primary school students has risen by 20 per cent while the number of teachers in that section has increased by 50 per cent. Enrolment in primary education has risen to almost 95 per cent. Our literacy rate has risen from 75 per cent to 93 per cent.
Part of the success of that programme is due to the dedication and effectiveness of head teachers like D.S.Magongo, the gentleman for whom this function is being held today.
He has been at the head of the Manzini Nazarene Practising Primary School for the past 27 years.
Mr Magongo has overseen the continuing growth of this school and bringing it to, and sustaining, a high standard of education such that, the school achieved a 100 per cent pass rate in the past primary certificate results.
One very interesting piece of information about Magongo’s time as head teacher is his introduction of agriculture into the school syllabus in 2006.
“I believe it is very important to remind everyone how important it is that our young students are increasingly exposed to, and trained in agriculture.
For some reason agriculture is not appealing to the young student as a potential career.
Yet, regardless of the pace of ICT innovation and how it impacts increasingly on our lives, the human race is still going to need to eat.
At least into the foreseeable future! So, whether we are growing more staple food to achieve self-sufficiency or high value crops for export, there is a crying need for more interest in careers in agriculture.
Magongo’s initiative was a valuable one and very much in line with the government policy requirement for schools to introduce agriculture wherever space permits, an initiative that also provides a much-needed supplement to the school feeding programme.”