PRIVILEGED AND UNDERPRIVILEGED SCHOOLS IN SWAZILAND

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THE ROOTS OF THE LOCALISATION POLICY

It is important to gain an understanding of the decisions made on the localisation of the curriculum. The concept of localisation as defined by the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (Hornby, 2005) is the act of limiting something or its effects to a particular area. The principal aim of the localisation policy was therefore to ensure that the content of the curriculum development process was limited to the context of Swaziland.
When the O-Level curriculum was phased-out, it was replaced by the ‘stop-gap’ IGCSE programme which was to make way for a supposedly new, relevant curriculum whose content was to be drawn from the immediate context of the learner using the then newly established localisation policy.
The localisation policy on its own emanated from the country’s need for a locally produced curriculum which was cited in a number of documents and research studies to be the ideal curriculum in the context of the country. It was cited as ideal for a number of reasons. Lawton (1989) referred to the idealism of a local curriculum which would lend credence to the local culture by ensuring a full utilisation of the local material easily understo d in the immediate context of the learner. It became evident that it was important to gain insight into the formal and authoritative decision that was previously taken in Swaziland and elsewhere regarding the implementation of the new SGCSE curriculum programme. It was hoped that such insight was going to provide a clue to the extent to which the government and other various stakeholders were involved in ensuring that the outcomes of the curriculum programme were going to be positive. In other words, the review of various documents by government was done with the aim to understand the procedures and undertakings by government and relevant stakeholders directed at ensuring that challenges were minimised when the SGCSE was actually implemented.
The need for a locally produced curriculum began way back in 1985 when the NERCOM Report (1985) suggested that in order for the curriculum to be relevant to the needs of Swazis, the local culture had to be used as a source for educational objectives. There was a strong perception that a properly aligned and relevant curriculum was going to be based on the localisation policy. The reason for this government perspective was that the local context had vastly more resources that could lead to the proper derivation of curriculum content. Further, such content derived from the vicinity of the learner, in government’s view, was going to lead to the improvement of learner academic performance since they were going to learn concepts of international significance using material that was familiar to them. Thus there was a recommendation by the review that the schools should participate in community activities and local old men and women were to come to the schools and talk to the pupils about Swazi customs and traditions. These recommendations actually were a revisit of the main considerations of the Imbokodvo National Movement Manifesto (1972).Of key relevance to our concern for the basis of a local curriculum is Section 2.2.6 of the review, which states that:
Culture could further be introduced into the curriculum through the use of local materials. Syllabi could have a lot of local content – for example in Home Economics pupils could learn to prepare and serve traditional dishes; the teaching of traditional crafts could also be included.
The quest for a local curriculum in the country over the years has been grounded on the need to bring together the curriculum and the national objectives of the country’s education system.
In the same fashion, the NERCOM Report (1985) proposed to establish permanent machinery based at the Department of Economic and Planning to ensure an adequate link between the supply and demand for trained manpower on the one hand, and to relate school curriculum to national employment prospects. This shows that the MoE was concerned about ensuring that the education did not only have short term goals such as engaging students in activities that were to keep them from criminal activities, but that it was also, largely concerned about the long term lives of individuals.
The Draft Policy on Curriculum Reform in Secondary Education in Swaziland (2007) recognised the following to be the main strategies for curriculum reform in the country: Policy, curriculum, implementation (time frame), monitoring (assessment etc.), staff development, accreditation, finance, and marketing. The document recognised that the school leaving certificate in place then (the O-Level) was fraught with a number of elements that were considered to be archaic when compared with curriculum practices implemented internationally. It was common knowledge that the curriculum was content-based, and that it catered for a narrow ability range, while at the same time it was considered mainly reliant on engaging the learner in written work. At that time, the learners in the country were still clinging to the O-Level system. After a comprehensive survey of various curriculum models, the MoE advocated for a curriculum which is skills-based, learner-centred and would be suitable for a wider range of ability. Research that was conducted on this endevour pointed to the IGCSE or HIGCSE which was then utilised by other countries in the SADC region. The MoE then took it upon itself to be the chief proponent of the bold step to raise education from the “…doldrums of archaism to a level where it would be relevant, competitive, and internationally viable” (The Draft Policy on Curriculum Reform in Secondary Education in Swaziland, 2007).
It is noteworthy that the need to change from a content-based curriculum to a skills-based and learner-centred curriculum occurred at a time where the country was preparing itself to localise the curriculum. The document First Meeting of the sub-Committee on the Possible Direction for Education (1996) which reported on a meeting held at the University of Swaziland on the possible curriculum programmes that Swaziland could choose from referred to five curriculum options that were then available for the country to choose from.
The first option was to ensure that the O-Level was a local one “…. This option wa eventually ruled out since at the time there were rumours that the O-Level wol be phased out” (Examinations Council Officer, personal interview, 7th October, 2014. The second syllabus option was the Higher International General Certificate of Secondary Education (HIGCSE) which was then utilised in Namibia. This option meant that the learners were going to write an examination after five years of secondary schooling. Its advantage was that it was aligned with the Cambridge Examination with which Swaziland was familiar, and was recognised by the South African universities for the purposes of entry into their programmes.
The third option was that the country should develop its own curriculum and examination systems of higher complexity which would be of the same level as the HGCSE of Namibia. The main advantage that was cited for this option was that the MoE was going to adopt and then adapt an examination system that already existed rather than re-invent the wheel. Again, it was a likelihood that such an examination system was going to be recognised by the Examination Board of South Africa.

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
1.1. BACKGROUND AND SETTING
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM.
1.3. AIM OF THE STUDY
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.6. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY..
1.7. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY.
1.8. LIMITATIONS TO THE STUDY.
1.9. CONCLUSION
1.10. ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER 2: INTRODUCTION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THESWAZILAND GENERAL CERTIFICATE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION
2.1. INTRODUCTION
2.2. THE ROOTS OF THE LOCALISATION POLICY
2.3. INTRODUCTION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF IGCSE
2.4. STUDIES ON THE STRUCTURAL CONTEXT
2.5. CURRICULUM ALIGNMENT.
2.6. PRIVILEGED AND UNDERPRIVILEGED SCHOOLS IN SWAZILAND
2.7. CONCLUSION .
CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
3.1. INTRODUCTION
3.2. CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOG
4.1. INTRODUCTION.
4.2. PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH
4.3. RESEARCH DESIGN
4.4. RESEARCH METHODS
4.5. CREDIBILITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS
4.6. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
4.7. DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.8. WRITING THE REPORT.
4.9. CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5. DATA PRESENTATION AND INTERPRETATION
5.1. INTRODUCTION.
5.2. DATA FROM DOCUMENT ANALYSIS.
5.3. DATA FROM INTERVIEWS.
CHAPTER 6: DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS

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POLICY CHANGE AND CURRICULUM ALIGNMENT: EXPLORING THE PERCEPTIONS OF LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT HEADS IN SWAZILAND’S UNDERPRIVILEGED SCHOOLS

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