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close this bookEnhancing Cooperation Between Technical and Vocational Education and the Economy in Swaziland (UNESCO, 1993, 58 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentQuotation
View the documentPreface
View the documentBackground of Vocational and Technical Education in Swaziland
View the documentAnalysis of the Economic and Social Context of Vocational and Technical Education
View the documentNational Policy on Vocational and Technical Education
View the documentFormal Vocational and Technical Education
View the documentAdult/Youth Nonformal Vocational and Technical Education
View the documentVocational Special Needs Education
View the documentConstraints on Vocational and Technical Education
View the documentSuggestions/Recommendations for The Improvement of Vocational and Technical Education
View the documentReferences

Adult/Youth Nonformal Vocational and Technical Education


In 1974 the Ministry of Education developed nonformal vocational programs to serve out-of-school youths and adults. In respect of policy measures and institutional reforms, the purpose of adult/youth and nonformal education is to provide an opportunity to those who were unable to avail themselves of formal educational opportunities. The objective is to provide vocational training, along with basic literacy and numeracy skills, so that each individual can participate and contribute more effectively to his/her well-being, and to society. Such adult/youth and nonformal vocational technical education is conducted on a nonformal basis through programs offered by Rural Education Centers, School of Appropriate Farm Technology, Manzini Industrial Training Center, to name a few. The following comprise some of the major adult/youth nonformal vocational and technical education training centers.

Manzini Industrial Training Center-Emakhonweni

As a result of the pressing need for vocational and technical skills training as an alternative form of education, Manzini Industrial Training Center (MITC) was established with the aim of giving its trainees useful and practical skills in a trade or craft which may help them find a job upon completion. The MITC provides skills training for unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 25 years. These are out-of-school youth who are at risk. Fundamental to the program is the acquisition of basic vocational skills which will enable a young person to earn his/her own living whether by self- or waged employment.

In most of the courses offered at the Center, upon completion of the two year course in basic skills, the trainees take the relevant Swaziland Government Trade Test-Grade III with the intention of going on to Government Trade Test level-Grade II. This enables those who have not had the opportunity to complete high school (grade 12) to obtain a qualification which is recognized for pay purposes, in the wage employment sector. However, for those trainees whose desire is to become self-employed, they can apply for placement in the Business Management Extension Program (BMEP), a one year course which offers facilities and training, under the "sheltered workshop concept," to prospective entrepreneurs.

The MITC has an enrollment of over 200 trainees receiving skills training in 13 areas. Agriculture, Sewing, and Upholstery are one year courses in duration whereas Building, Carpentry, Electrical, Metal Work, Motor Mechanics, Plumbing, Printing, Panel Beating, Small Engine Repair, and Spray Painting are two years in duration. The approach employed in the training utilizes a combination of on the job training and theory lectures. Remaining as the principal training approach is "Training through production" (Manzini Industrial Training Center, Annual Report 1990/91).

Business Management Extension Program

In 1986 the management of Manzini Industrial Training Center (MITC) established the Business Management Extension Program (BMEP). BMEP is an indigenous small enterprise development project set up to combat the problem of unemployed youth who have already acquired vocational technical skills. With a grant from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an administration building, warehouse, and eight workshops were built. BMEP is a unique institution in Swaziland that fills a specific niche: training and technical assistance for small and microbusinesses and the development of new enterprises (Gamedze, 1993, Personal interview).

BMEP's mission is to promote small enterprise development by providing trade and business skills training, individual business consultancy, and financial assistance to persons who are matured, have job experience and vocational skills, work for themselves full-time, and exhibit entrepreneurial traits. The mission statement contributes to the goal of increasing employment generated by Swazi-owned and/or managed section of the economy and expand the Swazi-owned or managed small business sector. (Gamedze, 1993, Personal interview).

The primary goal of BMEP is to assist its clients in transforming income generating activities into small business enterprises which are operated as viable economic entities. In doing so, BMEP seeks to improve its clients' ability to produce quality products/services and to effectively manage their business activities.

BMEP is governed by a Board of Directors; however the day to day operations are the responsibility of the Director assisted by a program manager responsible for training and extension, and a finance manager who oversees the functions of the organization and administration of the loan scheme.

BMEP extension officers are serving a total of 94 clients. They provide business assistance to 47 clients who also have received loans, 16 clients who are receiving business assistance only, and 31 clients who are in the assessment phase. BMEP is providing business assistance to 7 tenants in the BMEP "sheltered" workshops (Gamedze, 1993).

BMEP has established relationships and linkages with other organizations that are involved in some kind of economic/business activities, and therefore identified areas of specific need for BMEP's assistance. BMEP has formed strong linkages with other organizations involved in both urban and rural economic/business activities. These include among others: Women in Development (WID), Rural Education Centers (REC), Swaziland Farmers' Development Foundation (SFDF). BMEP has established good relationships with financial institutions (e.g., commercial banks) in which their representatives participate in BMEP training sessions and workshops as resource persons (Gamedze, 1993).

Nhlangano Agricultural Skills Training Center

The Nhlangano Agricultural Skills Training Center is an institution with an agricultural focus but supported by four other technical training programs, namely, Carpentry, Building and Construction, Motor Mechanics, and Metal Work. The Center had its first intake in 1992/93. When the Center is in full swing, a business management program to develop entrepreneurial skill will be put in place. Aimed at the youth usually referred to as "street kids" who are at risk, which includes the underprivileged, the unemployed, the educationally and socially disadvantaged, and school dropouts; the Nhlangano Agricultural Skills Training Center (NASTC) has given the youth of Swaziland another lease on life (Malan, 1992). This recently constructed skills training center offers training over a duration of two years.

Modeled after the Manzini Industrial Training Center (MITC), the Nhlangano Agricultural Skills Training Center (NASTC) has the objective of training people toward self-employment or earning a wage in the agricultural sector of the economy. The establishment of such a center that provides "on-the-job training" in Swaziland is of significance in that it plays a major role in promoting self-sufficiency among young people. On the other hand, the underprivileged young persons, those with limited formal education, are catered for in so far as skill acquisition is concerned (The Swazi Observer, 1992).

Table 7.

Manazini Industrial Training Center Enrollment, 1990/91














Electrical Repairs



Metal Work



Motor Mechanics



Panel Beating/Spray Painting

















Upgrading trainees to Trade Test

Grade II level






School of Appropriate Farm Technology

The School of Appropriate Farm Technology (SAFT) is a nonformal and vocational agriculture school that targets secondary/high school leavers and drop-outs who cannot proceed to formal postsecondary education for one reason or another. The aim of SAFT is to provide high school leavers with relevant vocational agricultural skills and experiences to enable them to increase agricultural production at home in their local communities, and also earn an income from sales of produce (Sibisi, 1981). The school leavers catered to by this School are those with little or no prospect of getting a job in the formal labor sector. This is a rapidly growing segment of the population of unemployed youth who may soon dominate the total population in numerical terms (Cousins, 1983).

Entrants to the School need a minimum of education in the sense that they are expected to have completed primary school (Grade VII), at least. However, those responsible for admissions have stressed motivation toward farming as one major requirement. The enrollment of the School averages 20-25 students, the majority of whom are boys. The age range of students is 18-25 years. The School has a capacity to enroll 40 students. Although the applications may range from 100 to 200 and admission may approximate the full capacity of 40 students, after the Preentry course of two weeks duration, students dropout as they experience difficulty coping with the practical demands of the course.

Rural Education Centers

In pursuance of the policy on the improvement of the quality of life and the general standard of living of the rural people, the Government of Swaziland established eight Rural Education Centers in 1978. Aiming at improving the socio-economic status of the rural people in Swaziland, the Rural Education Centers were established with the following specific objectives in mind (Ministry of Education, n.d.):

· To provide formal schooling to rural youth, and non-formal instruction to adults and unemployed school leavers.

· To instruct in vocational education through training in appropriate skills which may lead to self-employment and self-reliance.

· To assess needs and initiate projects; to coordinate services, resources, and activities of Government and Non-Governmental Organizations involved in rural development.

· To serve as a community resource center where educational, economic and social activities may be developed and focused providing facilities that may be used for non-formal education purposes.

Seven of the Rural Education Centers (RECs) were built at secondary schools whereas the 81 was built at a primary (elementary) school. In practice, REC programs have primarily served rural women, especially in training of skills for income generation. The direct beneficiaries, in the main, have been rural women, and also some men, and school leavers, who enter vocational training courses and participate in community projects (Ministry of Education, 1988).

Bosco Skils Center

Bosco Skills Center is a Youth Enterprise Scheme for Self-Employment with the goal of (a) providing suitable workshop space for the development of small businesses, and (b) offering suitable training in trades and business skills primarily for those neglected and forgotten and at-risk young people who wish to be self-employed. The small business person (the experienced entrepreneur) joins the Skills Center to operate and improve his/her business, and for the use of the Skills Center's facilities, he/she makes a contribution by training a maximum of three young persons (trainees) for self-employment over a two year period. In addition to the training provided by the experienced entrepreneur, the trainee business person attends afternoon classes in basic Mathematics, English and Business Management Skills. Mathematics and English are each taught two hours a week whereas, Business Management Skills is taught one hour a week by the Business Management Extension Program (BMEP) (McDonnell, Personal Interview).

The Skills Center has 60 small business trainees for its first group of intake who undergo vocational skills training under 21 experienced entrepreneurs. The trainees, who must be 18 years upon admission, are given three months to decide whether this kind of vocational training is suitable for them, and during this period they also work in close cooperation with the Center's Training Coordinator. The admission process entails interviews conducted by the experienced entrepreneurs who, select three young trainee businesspersons to train. Once admitted, the trainee receives E10.00 (about US $3.30) a week to cover off-pocket expenses drawn from the trainees Fund to which the experienced entrepreneur, for operating his/her own business at the Center, has made a contribution as part of the agreement to use the Skills Center workshop and facilities. The fee for one year is E150.00 (about US $50.00) payable in three installments of E50.00 ($16.66) by the trainee business person (McDonnell, 1993).

The Skills Center has eight workshops, and offers vocational skills training for self-employment in the following areas:

· Motor mechanics
· Auto electrical
· Panel beating and spray painting
· Upholstery
· Carpentry
· Welding/metal work
· Plumbing
· Dressmaking and tailoring
· Sewing
· Pottery
· Refrigeration repair
· Radio and T.V. repair
· Printing
· Hairdressing.

Upon joining the Skills Center the experienced entrepreneur takes on the following financial commitments:

· Contribution to the cost of electricity
· Contribution to the cost of water
· Contribution to the salary of the show/display room manager
· Contribution to a trainee fund
· Payment for telephone use
· Payment for transport use

Currently each experienced entrepreneur makes an agreed contribution of E165.00 (about US $55.00) a month to cover the above costs. The amount to be paid for the above costs is established by the Executive of the Skills Center Management Committee which reports to the Bosco Center Board, the top policy making body.

Unlike the Manzini Training Center or the Nhlangano Agricultural Skills Training Center (NASTC) whose target population group are school leavers with a Junior Certificate (grade 10) or there about, Bosco Skills Center reaches out for the young people with much less formal education who have no hope of anything else. They constitute the very bottom population group of young people with very little schooling. They are educationally deprived, socioeconomically disadvantaged and "are at-risk of not achieving the goals of education, acquiring the knowledge, skills and dispositions to become productive members of society" (Natriello, McDill, & Pallas, 1990, p. 8). They comprise the majority of the young and unemployed whose hope for making living lies in self-employment since their formal schooling leaves them with little or no prospect of getting a job in the formal labor sector of the economy.