World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2012-06-22

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET strategy

In May 2010, the Government launched the National Technical and Vocational Education and Skills Development (TVETSD) Policy. It followed a review of the TVET system conducted by the Ministry of Education in 2005. The vision for TVETSD is to “develop a quality, relevant and sustainable TVETSD system as an integral part of the social and economic strategy for the Kingdom of Swaziland” (Dalami, 2011). The framework of the TVETSD Policy is currently under development (legal framework, national vocational qualifications framework, Swaziland Training Authority Bill, financing model and curricula for TVET).

The Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Programme (PRSAP) was approved by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development in 2007. It recognises TVET as a key instrument for reducing poverty. Simultaneously, it observes a lack of coordination between TVET providers and a poor policy framework for TVET. According to PRSAP, TVET suffers from a negative image among the population, high tuition fees and a poorly coordinated government scholarship scheme.

PRSAP defines its goal as ensuring the development of skills through TVET and improving opportunities for active economic involvement and self-employment. To achieve this goal, the Government ensures to take the following measures with regard to TVET:

  • “Introduce vocational skills at primary and secondary school level;
  • Improve the co-ordination and rationalisation of the programmes offered by existing vocational training institutions in order to improve their efficiency and effectiveness;
  • Ensure the accreditation of vocational institutions with reputable professional institutes;
  • Review the entry requirements and structure of fees charged by government vocational training institutions with a view to improving access;
  • Review the courses offered in vocational institutions and establish pro-active links with industries; and
  • Review and strengthen the strategy for the collection of scholarship repayments.”
Following independence in 1968, the Government of Swaziland focused on expanding access to education – primary education in particular. Following increased enrolment rates at primary level, the focus shifted to ensuring quality, relevance and affordability of education at all levels.

The National Policy Statement on Education (1999) therefore seeks to provide education opportunities for youth and adults.

The main goals of Vocational Education and Training are defined as follows:

  • “Development of a functional gender sensitive, affordable and efficient VET-System of sufficient capacity according to the needs of the economy, the society and the individual;
  • Enhancement of VET as an attractive and integrated component of a permeable comprehensive System of Education;
  • Promotion of entrepreneurial skills and values as an integral element of VET at all stages, sectors and areas;
  • Contribution to a foresighted and coordinated National Skills Development Planning and to Business and Employment Promotion Programs.”
The Education Policy acknowledges the low enrolment numbers in TVET and its negative perception. It emphasises, however, that the TVET system is undergoing a restructuring process which includes the formulation of a TVET policy (TVETSD Policy). It stresses that the policy should address such issues as TVET structure, regulation, coordinated training and standards, a national qualifications framework and capacity building for senior trainers.

The main objectives for the TVETSD Policy are formulated as follows:

  • “To meet the diverse socio-economic development needs of the country through the training and sustained expansion of a competent and employable work force with relevant, marketable skills;
  • To establish effective TVETSD governance and management as well as a training system with clearly allocated roles and responsibilities, accountable to the National Assembly through the Ministry responsible for Education and Training;
  • To establish mechanisms for the portability of formal, non-formal and informal qualifications, with provision for flexible exit and entry to both academic and skill related pathways;
  • To establish equitable access to skills for formal sector or self-employment within the TVETSD system for all those wishing to participate.”
Legislative Framework

There is no coherent legislative framework for TVET. The subsector is fragmented and comprises of isolated pieces of legislation that deal with specific aspects of education.

  • Vocational and Industrial Training Act (1982) establishes the Industrial and Vocational Training Board, which governs the Directorate of Industrial and Vocational Training (DIVT) at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. It also provides a legislative framework for apprenticeship schemes, trade testing and guidelines for the establishment of training schemes.
  • Human Resource Development and Planning Bill 2003 provides for the establishment of a National Training and Qualifications Authority (NTQA) with responsibility for the setting up of a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and managing all aspects of TVET.

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    2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education. Swaziland.

Formal TVET system

Starting at the age of seven, primary education lasts for six years and finishes with the granting of the Swaziland Primary Certificate. It is considered part of basic education and its provision is free of charge.

Secondary education is divided into two levels – junior secondary and senior secondary. The three-year junior secondary level leads to the Junior Certificate, while the two-year senior secondary level ends with the Swaziland General Certificate of Secondary education (SGCSE) and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (ISGCSE).

Tertiary education is divided into higher and post-secondary education. Higher education is provided at the University of Swaziland through a three-year diploma or a four-year Bachelor’s degree (five-year degree for a Bachelor of Law). Post-secondary training comprises of TVET programmes varying from a few months to three years.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

  • Government-provided non-formal training - The Government funds Rural Education Centres (RECs) which provide TVET for adults in rural areas. Furthermore, RECs collaborate with senior secondary schools in the provision of prevocational training.
  • Government-assisted non-formal training - Eighteen non-formal training providers receive Government assistance towards trainer salaries. The centres offer short entry-level skill programmes for youth and adults.
  • Enterprise-based training - Even though a significant part of TVET is enterprise-based, it is conducted in-house and does not lead to a formal qualification.
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships - Apprenticeship enrolment is low and is only offered by a limited number of enterprises.
  • Trade testing - Trade tests focus on low-skill training. There are no supporting programmes for those wishing to access higher level skill training.
  • Private commercial provision - The majority of skill training is provided through private TVET institutions. Private training is largely unregulated, which raises questions about management and teaching quality.
Informal training forms a significant part of TVET but it is largely unregulated, perpetuates traditional technologies, and lacks standard and quality assurance. There is currently no system in place to oversee informal skill training.

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3. Governance and financing


TVET governance in Swaziland is characterised by fragmentation and a lack of a coordinated approach. There are at least eight different public institutions providing TVET. The most prominent ministries in charge of TVET are the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Labour. Additionally, there are 57 Government-supported TVET institutions and 27 private TVET providers.

The World Bank Report (2010) concludes that fragmentation of the TVET system has the following negative implications:

  • “Duplication and wastage in terms of curriculum development and training provision;
  • Restrictions on government and industry attempts to ensure that providers meet minimum quality standards in terms of staff qualifications, programme design and assessment;
  • Undermining of attempts to ensure national consistency in training provision;
  • Limiting the development of articulation and credit transfer arrangements both within the TVETSD and with the schools and higher education sectors;
  • Segmentation of training supply;
  • Training provision that is isolated from market forces; and
  • Diminished industry confidence in the outputs of the TVETSD.”

TVET institutions are fully or partly Government-funded; or run by NGOs or religious organisations. The Government either funds all training activities or subsidises a TVET institution by providing funding for teacher salaries. Other sources of funding include tuition fees and internally-generated income. NGOs and religious organisations run training centres funded mainly through donations.

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4. TVET teachers and trainers

According to the World Bank (2010), TVET instructors lack adequate qualifications, especially in prevocational programmes. They have limited, irrelevant and outdated industry experience which limits their ability to prepare trainees for contemporary work practices and relevant workplace standards. There are no national occupational standards for TVET instructors in Swaziland.

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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

There is currently no unified National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in Swaziland. The National Vocational Qualifications Framework has been developed and awaits the establishment of a legal framework for its implementation.

Quality assurance

Given the lack of a coherent TVET system, the quality of TVET is difficult to ensure. There are no national TVET curricula, no operational national occupational standards, and no defined skill requirements for specific occupations. As a result, comparing the quality of TVET institutions and programmes is particularly challenging. TVET programmes tend to vary in duration, content, assessment and certification. In the absence of qualifications based on a national qualification framework, employers often rely on certification provided by external training companies such as internationally recognised bodies.

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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

Following a subsector review in 2005, the Ministry of Education identified gaps between TVET provision and labour-market needs. Subsequently, the Government initiated a number of TVET reforms developed in cooperation with national and international partners. Dalami reports on the following policies and legislations currently being developed:

  • Vocational Act - The new Vocational Act as been drafted and awaits approval by both Houses of Parliament.
  • National Vocational Qualifications Framework - The Framework has been developed and reviewed by the relevant stakeholders. The legal framework allowing its implementation is currently being developed.
  • Swaziland Training Authority Bill - The Bill will establish the Swaziland Training Authority. It is currently being debated in Parliament.
  • TVET Financing Model - The Model has been developed and awaits legalisation through a corresponding legal instrument.
  • CBET TVET Curriculum - Curricula in tourism and hospitality, water technology and electrical engineering are currently under development.

The World Bank Report (2010) concludes that the labour market in Swaziland suffers from a skills shortage. The main reasons behind the weak training system are a lacking policy framework and limited resources that restrict access to TVET. Training facilities and equipment are underutilised and TVET enrolment numbers are low, while training costs are excessively high.

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7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)



Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+1.47 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
0.57 0.54
female male  
0.60 0.58
female male  

51.13 %

50.84 %

(Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/the 2010 revision)

GDP per capita (currency: US$)







2 540

2 894

2 994

2 927

2 827

3 502

(Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank Database)

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions

  • Mpaka Vocational Training Centre (MVTC)
  • Bgwabe Oark Youth Training Centre (NPYTC)
  • Sebenta National Institute

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations



  • ISGCSE - International General Certificate of Secondary Education
  • NQF - National Qualifications Framework
  • NTQA - National Training and Qualifications Authority
  • PRSAP - Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Programme
  • RECs - Rural Education Centres
  • SGCSE - Swaziland General Certificate of Secondary education
  • TVETSD - National Technical and Vocational Education and Skills Development

Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2012-06-22
Validated by: Mr Peterson Sipho Dlamini;
Chief Inspector Teacher Education;
Ministry of Education - Teacher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (MoE)

page date 2017-05-05

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