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2010.05.27

* UNICEF supports free education for primary school children in Swaziland
* 시간: 03 min 34 secs
* 촬영도시: Entfubeni
* 촬영국가: Swaziland
* 촬영일자: 17 Mar 2010


Thulani Gama is a bit bigger and a few years older than most of the other children in his grade two classroom but just as eager to get the answers right.


Ms. Simphiwe Simelane, Thulani's teacher, is young and dynamic. She is aware that it is not easier having older children in the classroom, but also knows they have no future without education.


SOUNDBITE (English) Simphiwe Simelane Grade 2 Teacher, Entfubeni Primary School
"He is the oldest in the class, and he is tall. So he finds it challenging, in the morning assembly he doesn't stand in the
line with the grade twos, instead he goes to stand in the line with the grade fives. When he does not understand something and you explain it to him, he says oh I feel so stupid I can't even see this."


For the first time this year at the age of 13, Thulani was able to enter primary school and join his younger twin siblings
to learn to read and write. Because of his age, teachers made him skip the first grade.


SOUNDBITE (English) Simphiwe Simelane Grade 2 Teacher, Entfubeni Primary School
"As a teacher, I have to come prepared you know that most of these children are orphaned, you know that as a teacher you have to be a mother to these children. You have to take care of these children, you have to forget about your problems when you come to these children."


The introduction of free primary school education for grade one and two at Entfubeni Primary school in rural Swaziland has been welcomed. For many children, especially orphaned and vulnerable children, it has meant a chance of a lifetime.


Four out of ten children don't complete a full cycle of primary school. Like Thulani, they cannot afford the school fees, the cost of the uniforms and often the transport, so they either never start or drop out quickly thereafter.


The walk home from school takes Thulani and his siblings close to an hour. When they arrive home, Thulani is in charge of overseeing chores. His father died when his mother was pregnant with the twins. She struggled to find work nearby, but finally a year ago left to the city where she now has work as a domestic.


Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. The result is that a third of children do not live with either parent and there are many child-headed households.


Thulani's overdue debut in school is a consequence of the Swazi government rolling out free primary school education, starting with grades one and two.


SOUNDBITE (English) Israel Simelane, Director of Education, Government of Sw

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