1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Multi-level regulations 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring 


  1. Terminology

While the Education Act 1981 (which governs primary and secondary education in Eswatini) only refers to “public” educational institutions, the Higher Education Act 2013 (governing higher education) defines a “private higher educational institution” as an institution which is “wholly owned and funded by a private individual or individuals”. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini Act 2005 refers to “religious communities” which are “entitled to establish and maintain places of education and to manage any place of education which that community wholly maintains”, while the National Education and Training Sector Policy 2018 (covering all education levels) refers to “private providers”. In the Annual Education Census Reports, however, schools are classified in detail according to ownership, with data separately collected on “government”, “community”, “mission government-aided", “private government-aided", and “private (not government aided) schools”.


  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

Most schools (64%) at primary (7 years, ages 6 – 12) and secondary (5 years, ages 13 – 17) level are owned by the state (including government and community schools). According to the Free Primary Education Act 2010, the state is obliged to provide 7 years of free and compulsory education at primary level for all Swazi citizens (with most foreign students having to pay fees). However, while most schools in Eswatini are owned by the state, very few state schools (2%) are exclusively funded by the government. In 2017/18, schools in Eswatini were classified as government (2%), community (62%), mission government-aided (29%), private government-aided (2%), and private non-aided (5%).

Non-state managed, state schools

No information was found.

Non-state funded, state schools

Most state schools (62%) are community schools, which are owned and (partially) funded by the state, with communities involved in setting up the school and providing significant resources in terms of operational costs and support staff. The number of community schools has been increasing in the country due to many new schools being built in partnership with the communities, which contribute financially or through human resources. The government employs and pays teacher salaries in these schools and assists in some operational costs.

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

Private (non-aided) schools are a few independent non-state schools established, owned and managed by private organizations that receive no assistance from the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) or the Teaching Service Commision. These schools are fully funded by non-governmental sources such as school fees and private actors and can be operating on a for-profit or non-profit basis. Private schools are free to determine curriculum delivery, with some schools following international curricula and examination systems such as Cambridge or International Baccalaureate (5 schools). These schools cover only 2% of enrolments at primary and secondary level and 5% of all schools. According to the Annual Education Census Report 2018, enrolment figures have been on the increase in private schools from 2015 (3,910 students) to 2018 (5,235 students).

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

Most non-state schools in Eswatini (29%) are faith-based/mission government-aided schools which are owned and operated by faith-based or religious organizations, with the government employing and paying their teachers. These schools operate on a non-profit basis and are free to determine how to deliver the curriculum (with the government setting minimum learning standards at each level). As stated in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini Act 2005, religious communities “may not be prevented from providing religious instruction”.

The government (through the MoET or the Teaching Service Commission) additionally funds the teacher salaries for a few private schools in Eswatini also referred to as private government-aided schools, which are owned and operated by private companies. These schools receive government support in teacher salaries.

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.

2.3 Other types of schools


While there is no legal provision for homeschooling in Eswatini, the Free Primary Education Act 2010 only allows students to be exempt from compulsory school attendance if they are suffering from a physical or mental disability, illness, or suspended from the school without permission to enrol in a different school. Eswatini has additionally established the Emlalatini Development Centre which offers Open and Distance Learning for Basic and Non-formal Education catering to students who cannot attend conventional classes for various reasons.

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found.

Unregistered/Unrecognized schools

In the government’s Annual Education Census Report 2018, it is specified that data has been collected from “educational institutions that were active in 2018 and were known and registered”. The government recognizes the existence of unregistered private schools (which are not known by the Ministry of Education and Training and fail to meet the registration requirements, enrolling children illegally), with data not systematically collected for these schools. At the pre-primary level, it is stated that most centres remain unregistered from the Ministry (and largely in private hands). In 2018, at least 21 private schools were declared illegal and closed down due to their failure to comply with ministry requirements. Approximately five dozen additional private schools were found to be operating under provisional status, despite their failure to comply with measures in infrastructure, student-teacher ratios and other factors. In 2021, a high school was closed indefinitely after students protested against the use of corporal punishment that some students had received.


  1. Governance and regulations

Both state and non-state education from early childhood to secondary level in Eswatini is centrally governed and regulated by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET). Early childhood care and education is not entirely under the MoET, with a few programs being governed by the Ministry of Health and the Deputy Prime Minister’s office. In 2015, the Eswatini Higher Education Council (ESHEC) was established to supervise and regulate all tertiary education (state and non-state).

Vision: According to the National Education and Training Sector Policy 2018, the non-state sector is “encourage(d) and facilitate(d)” by the government, provided that it conforms with the minimum standards and regulations. As stated in the National Education and Training Improvement Program 2018-20, “the role of the private sector in education is very important and needs to be encouraged in the coming years”. The increase in private school enrolments are acknowledged in the Annual Education Census Report 2018, stating that the “Ministry has to go in and ensure that standards are also maintained in these schools”.


3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education


Early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Eswatini broadly covers ages 0 – 8 (with existing services targeting ages 3 – 6) and is mostly provided by non-state actors such as communities, individuals, and churches. Services mainly come in the form of privately owned preschools or neighbourhood caring points that are centre or community based. As the ECCE sector is “largely in private hands in the country”, the government states that is remains a challenge for the Ministry to collect comprehensive data on the sub-sector. Most ECCE centres are also acknowledged to be operating unregistered from the Ministry.

According to the National Education and Training Sector Policy 2018, the government is developing an Early Childhood Care and Development Policy with specific registration guidelines and minimum standards applicable to all ECCE services, irrespective of ownership. ECCE services are currently guided by the National ECCE Guidelines and Eswatini Early Learning and Development Standards.


Registration and approval: Individuals, communities, and faith-based providers that wish to establish an ECCE centre in Eswatini must register with the MoET through their Regional Education Office. Both state and non-state providers are required to comply with minimum infrastructure and ratio standards which include pupil-teacher ratio, classroom size, and toilets (separated by sex). To be considered for registration, applicants must additionally establish a centre committee and have the parents participating in its composition.

LicenseThe MoET initially issues applicants a one-year provisional registration. If the centre is deemed to have met all the required standards and guidelines within one year of operation (following an inspection), the provider is issued a certificate of official registration.

Financial operation

Profit-makingNo regulation was found.

Taxes and subsidiesCertain selected ECCE centres that have been registered with the MoET receive government support in the form of teaching and learning materials and teacher training.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: All ECCE services in Eswatini (state and non-state) are encouraged to follow the Eswatini National Curriculum Framework for General Education 2018 (with specific standards for ECCE) and the Early Learning and Development Standards. The purpose of both these guidelines are to encourage the standardization of curriculum and learning standards across different providers of ECCE in the country.

Teaching professionECCE centres are required to recruit teachers and caregivers from their surrounding community, all of which must undergo in-service training (if they haven’t been previously trained) and fulfil the minimum qualifications listed in the National Curriculum Framework and the National ECCE Guidelines.

Equitable access

Fee-settingECCE services in Eswatini are free to set their own fees.

Admission selection and processes: No information was found.

Policies for vulnerable groupsNo information was found.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: No information was found.

Inspection: State and non-state ECCE services in Eswatini are inspected by the ECCE Department (under the MoET) through the regional or central offices (with no information found on how often these inspections take place). Moreover, ECCE centres are assessed for quality assurance at least once a year by their governing board, while regional offices periodically evaluate programs within their region to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Child assessment: All ECCE assessments should be guided by the National Assessment Framework for ECCE set in the National Curriculum Framework.

Sanctions: No information was found.



Registration and approval: According to the Education Act 1981, any person who intends to establish a non-state school in Eswatini must apply for registration with the Principal Secretary of the MoET and pay a one-time registration fee. To be considered for registration, providers are required to comply with the minimum standards set in the Education (Establishment and Registration of Private Educational Institutions) Regulations Notice 2009, which include land requirements, student-teacher ratio (based on education level), and staff requirements. Non-state providers must also justify what additional needs the proposed school provides that are not already provided for in state schools.

License: If the Principal Secretary is satisfied that the facilities are suitable, teaching staff is qualified, and the school provides a standard of education that is not inferior to comparable state schools, the applicant is issued a certificate of registration. When some of the criteria have not been met, providers are issued a provisional registration and inspected again after one year to gain a full registration.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)The Education (Establishment and Registration of Private Educational Institutions) Regulations Notice 2009 states that non-state schools should make an effort to provide toilet facilities which are separated by sex, but this is not made obligatory.

Financial operation

Profit-makingThe government of Eswatini allows for-profit providers to operate non-state schools.

Taxes and subsidiesThe government (through the MoET or Teaching Service Commission) funds most non-state schools in Eswatini in the form of teacher salaries (faith-based schools and aided private schools) and teacher provision (faith-based schools). The teacher salaries paid in all government-aided schools are the same level as those provided for teachers in state schools, with state schools receiving higher levels of non-academic budgets.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standardsWhile independent private schools may determine how to deliver the curriculum, government-funded schools are required to follow certain learning standards set by the government (which are also applicable to state schools). Christian religious instruction is mandatory by law for all state schools at primary and secondary level, but not mandated or prohibited in private schools. In both cases, siSwati must be used as the language of instruction in the first four years of primary school, after which English must be the medium of instruction.

Textbooks and learning materialsNo information was found.

Teaching professionWhile independent private schools may determine teacher salary levels and appoint, deploy, and dismiss their own teachers without government review, the government appoints and deploys teachers in all government-aided schools (also paying their salaries). All teacher qualifications are approved upon each school’s registration (with expected qualifications for each education level listed in the National Curriculum Framework), while all schools are prohibited from imposing any restrictions on the recruitment and appointment of staff based on ethnic origin, race, or colour. According to the Teaching Service Act 1982 (which applies to “every person employed or intending to be employed as a teacher in Eswatini”), all teachers must be registered with the Teaching Service Commission and are entitled to certain rights including paid maternity leave and allowances. Under the Teaching Service Regulations 1983, all teachers (including expatriate teachers) are additionally entitled to remuneration, according to his qualifications and relevance of the qualifications to the post. The National Education Board may also make recommendations to the Minister on the terms and conditions of teacher employment.

Corporal punishmentCorporal punishment is lawful in all schools under the Education Act 1981. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini Act 2005 stipulates that “a child shall not be subjected to abuse or torture or other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment subject to lawful and moderate chastisement for purposes of correction” (Art.29). The Children’s Protection and Welfare Act 2012 does not prohibit corporal punishment in schools. The School Discipline Guidelines 2020 aim to “abolish all forms of corporal punishment in the school setting…replacing it with Positive Discipline”. While it is not made clear whether this will apply to both state and non-state schools in Eswatini, the government proposes updating key documents which apply to all schools in the country.

Other safety measures and COVID-19During the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, all schools in Eswatini (irrespective of ownership or status) were required to follow government health and safety guidelines set out in the Disaster Management (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 which included complying with the Public Health COVID -19 Regulations, establishing a School-Based Monitoring Team, and developing specific communication protocols. If any school failed to comply with any of the government requirements, the MoET inspectorate was given the authority to close down the school.

Equitable access

Fee-settingIndependent private schools in Eswatini are free to determine their own tuition fees.

Admission selection and processesAccording to the Education (Establishment and Registration of Private Educational Institutions) Regulations Notice 2009, non-state schools are prohibited from imposing restrictions in the student admission process on the basis of race, colour, ethnic origin, or creed. Moreover, informal policy does not allow government-aided schools to discriminate students by academic ability.

Policies for vulnerable groupsNo information was found.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: Both state and non-state schools in Eswatini must establish a School Committee and Parent-Teacher Association, involving parents and teachers in their composition.

Reporting requirements: All independent private schools in Eswatini are required to provide the Principal Secretary with any information, documents, or returns requested (including statistics and inspection information). Government-aided schools on the other hand must submit school improvement plans to the Principal Secretary, with no requirement to report on the use of government funding.

Inspection: According to the Education Act 1981, the Principal Secretary may appoint any person to inspect a school in Eswatini to ensure that minimum standards are maintained in regard to the premises, facilities, cleanliness, and the health of students and staff. The Education (Establishment and Registration of Private Educational Institutions) Regulations Notice 2009 however does not require independent private schools to undergo regular inspections, but only states that the school will be inspected without notice when applying for full registration. Government-aided schools on the other hand are required to undergo inspections that outline school strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations for improvement, although no standard timetable for these inspections is provided.

Student assessment: Both independent private schools and government-aided schools in Eswatini take the same standardized examinations as students in state schools, which are administered by the Eswatini Examinations Council. The only exception to this is international schools which follow international examination systems.

Diplomas and degreesNo information was found.

Sanctions: While no sanctions appear to be administered as a result of school inspections, independent private schools and government-aided schools will be subject to closure if they do not comply with the terms concerning their provisional registration. Moreover, if any non-state school is found to be operating without a valid license from the MoET, the operator will be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to fine of 500 SZL (32.69 USD) or 1-year imprisonment.


Tertiary education is provided through four institutions, the University of Eswatini (UNESWA), which is a state institution and the main provider of tertiary education in the country (covering 61% of total enrolments), and three private (non-state) higher education and training institutions. The ESHEC is responsible for regulating tertiary education provision for both state and private institutions through the Higher Education Act 2013 (and its subsequent regulations on Establishment, Registration, and Accreditation) which apply to all institutions (irrespective of ownership).


Registration and approval: According to the Higher Education Act 2013, a “private individual or individuals” may establish a private tertiary education institution (TEI) in Eswatini by applying for registration with the ESHEC, accompanied by any required details and documents. Minimum requirements for registration include having suitable and sustainable facilities (with specific land requirements for universities), qualified academic staff, and adequate financial resources. Private TEIs must additionally provide proof of land ownership or the authority to use the proposed land or premises.

LicenseIf the ESHEC is satisfied that the minimum standards are met, financial resources are available, and stated objectives are realistic, the applicant is issued a letter of provisional authority (valid for two years) for the establishment of the institution and admission of students. After two years, the TEI is inspected by the ESHEC and if all the terms and conditions have been met, is issued a certificate of registration.

Financial operation

Profit-makingNo information was found.

Taxes and subsidiesThe National Education and Training Improvement Program 2018/19 – 2020/21 states that all four TEIs in Eswatini are “supported by the government”, but it is unclear how. No information on subsidies, aid, or any form of specific assistance was found.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: All education programs offered in TEIs in Eswatini (irrespective of ownership) must be approved by the ESCHEC, while all institutions are required to maintain the necessary academic and facility support to achieve the objectives of each program.

Teaching professionAccording to the ESHEC Program Evaluation Guidelines, all teaching staff in TEIs (no matter whether state or private) must hold qualifications that are higher than the exit level of the program they are teaching. The Registration Regulations additionally state that while TEIs are free to recruit their own staff, institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race or colour upon recruitment.

Equitable access

Fee-settingNo information was found.

Admission selection and processesBoth state and private TEIs are required to have an explicit and coherent admission policy that is fair, transparent, non-discriminatory, and merit based. Institutions are additionally required make provisions for equity and international students and submit a signed declaration upon registration that the TEI will not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, colour, creed or marital status in the admission process.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: While the specific management structure of TEIs is not regulated by the government, regulations require each institution (state and private) to have a “well-established governance and management structure” to ensure the TEI meets its stated objectives.

Reporting requirements: All TEIs in Eswatini are required to submit annual reports of their activities in the ESHEC, while registered institutions which have been operating for over three years are encouraged to apply to the ESHEC for accreditation (formal quality approval).

Inspection: All accredited TEIs in Eswatini are subject to inspections and visitations by the ESHEC based on a timetable determined the by ESHEC, while all programs are subject to systematic monitoring and review. After five years of registration, institutions are additionally subject to a detailed evaluation to determine whether the required standards are maintained.

Assessment: According to the ESHEC Program Evaluation Guidelines, all TEIs must clarify how their program assessments will be conducted by presenting a clear assessment plan to the ESHEC. Students are required to be assessed based on transparent, fair, and published criteria that are consistently applied across different programs.

Diplomas and degreesPrivate TEIs may issue foreign qualifications provided that the qualification is approved by the ESHEC upon registration, recognized by its parent institution, and students are in no disadvantage to enrol for an advanced qualification at the parent institution.

Sanctions: If any TEI in Eswatini fails to submit the required annual reports to the ESHEC, their certificate of registration may be suspended or revoked. According to the Registration Regulations, institutions are subject to closure by the ESHEC (following an explicit warning) if the requirements of their provisional registration have not been met, in which case they are required to refund the students, provide them with copies of their transcripts, and make the necessary arrangements to safeguard their interests. Finally, if any provider is found to be operating an unregistered TEI in Eswatini, the operator will be liable to a fine up to 50,000 SZL (3,254 USD) and/or imprisonment for up to five years.


3.2 Supplementary private tutoring

According to SACMEQ data, the number of Grade 6 students receiving private tutoring lessons in Eswatini increased from only 1.1% in 2007 to 11% in 2013. However, no regulations or mentions were found regarding private supplementary tutoring, the forms it takes, or registration requirements.


No information was found.

Financial operation and quality

No information was found.

Teaching profession

No information was found.


Dernière modification:

mar 07/12/2021 - 13:40