Sends Paul to stand in for him at a farewell func­tion

Observer on Saturday - - News -

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.”

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