Swaziland
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OUTCRY OVER E700 ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS VERIFICATION

MBABANE – With government granting a waiver for some ministries to employ or fill in vacant posts, job seekers have to dig deep into their pockets.

This is to ensure that the qualifications they present are certified by the relevant bodies in the country. Some job seekers have raised concerns on an amount of E700 that they are made to pay in order for their academic qualifications to be scanned. According to the job seekers, the E700 is required for all academic qualifications, even the ones that were obtained in locally recognised institutions of higher learning. Some of the job seekers who raised the concern were those who were submitting their application letters for teaching posts. They stated that they had to fork out E700 just for their certificates to be approved in one of the departments under the Ministry of Education and Training. “Before submitting my application, they asked if my certificate was scanned or verified by ESHEC,” said the job seeker.

Service

She said immediately after that, she ran to the offices, which are now located at the basement of the ministry, in Mbabane. The job seeker, among others who were with her, said they were told that they had to pay a fee not exceeding E700 for the service. They said what irked them the most was that their qualifications were obtained from local institutions. “I feel like siyakhuthuzwa lana. Is it that difficult to liaise with the local institutions and share data that could be used for verification?” asked one of the job seekers. The aspiring teachers went on to state that when they asked if the E700 was refundable should they not get employed, they were told that it was non-refundable. They said they felt that it was a fundraising strategy, especially because the posts were no equivalent to the graduates. The Secretary General of Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Lot Vilakati, lamented a similar issue. Vilakati said government knew institutions that produced teachers in the country.

Posts

He said surely there was a way they could easily get a list of every graduate. “Over 10 000 people have graduated and the ministry has 1 000 posts but all 10 000 graduates will pay E700 just to scan certificates,” he said. He urged that the practice should stop because the money was just too much for someone who was unemployed. Vilakati said some parents and employed young people entered into debts that they did not have money to repay just to scan their qualifications. In response, Eswatini Higher Education Council (ESHEC) Chief Executive Officer Loretta Mkhonta explained that the scanning was conducted by the Qualification Verification Department, which was under the ministry of Education and Training. Efforts to get responses from the ministry were futile as the Acting Principal Secretary (PS), Patience Vilakati, had not responded to questions that were sent to her by the time of compiling this report.
The questions sought to find out if the ministry was looking at better and cheaper ways of verifying qualification that were brought by the job seeker and how government arrived at charging E700 for the service.