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No more IGCSE for Swaziland!

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By INNOCENT MAPHALALA - SWAZI TIMES-09-Jun-2009

MBABANE – The cont-entious IGCSE progra-mme, introduced in Swaziland only two years ago, has been phased out.

The kingdom has since localised the high school examinations, which will result in a reduction on exam fees. Learners to sit for the Form Five examinations at the end of this year will receive what is known as the Swaziland International General Certificate of Secondary Education (SIGCSE). IGCSE stood for International General Certificate of Secondary Education. This newspaper is in the possession of government’s national report on The Development of Education, released eight months ago. The document, released in October 2008, states that the kingdom still advocates for a curriculum that promotes entrepreneurial skills.
“In light of constant changes in the educational arena, the government adopted the IGCSE curriculum in schools in Form Four.” reads part of the document. “In 2007, the programme proceeded to Form Five.” One advantage of the two-year IGCSE programme is that it promotes the development of problem-solving skills, knowledge and understanding and explores the pupil’s ability to undertake individual projects. Now that localisation, which had all along been ongoing, has been finalised, five subjects have already been localised. These are Mathematics, Siswati, Science, English and Home Economics. According to the government document, localisation will bring in local flavour and reduce the cost of teaching and learning material, as well as reduce dependence on United Kingdom systems. Government says the localised curriculum will also have a reduced number of examination papers, which could reduce costs for parents.

The ministry assures that quality will be maintained. This means that the examinations will be set locally but still have international recognition to allow Swazi learners to further their studies or work outside the kingdom. The ministry has noted that the shift from O-level to IGCSE had its own challenges, with the general public being sceptical. “The ministry, therefore, has an assignment to clarify issues for the public so that the right perceptions about the programme are acquired,” reads the document. It states that IGCSE had demanded a shift from teacher to child-centred learning approaches. This has called for teacher-training.

Meanwhile, Pat Muir, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Education, says the kingdom’s exam will be called the Swaziland International General Certificate in Secondary Education (SIGCSE) until all the subjects are localised. This is expected to happen by next year, after which the exam will be known only as the Swaziland General Certificate in Secondary Education (SGCSE) Muir confirmed that exam fees would go down because the costs involved in marking the exams in Cambridge would be eliminated.

However, the link with Cambridge will still be maintained even after next year, with CIE retained as quality overseers.


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