Swaziland: teachers protest shuttered schools

Teachers demonstrate in the streets of the Swazi capital, Mbabane (AFP, Jinty Jackson)

(AFP) – September 15, 2011

MBABANE — Around 500 Swazi teachers marched through the capital Mbabane on Thursday to protest the closure of schools due to the kingdom’s severe budget crisis.

Teachers handed a petition to government demanding it pay over $11 million (eight million euros) into the school system by the end of Friday.

“Failure to do that will cause chaos which no one will be able to stop. We will be left with no option but to mobilise parents and children to join rolling mass action,” the Swaziland National Association of Teachers said in the petition.

Most schools failed to open this week for the start of a new term.

Principals say they no longer have the money to run them because government has not paid fees for orphans since January. Swaziland has the world’s highest HIV infection rate, and orphans make up a significant part of the student population. Continue reading