The University of Swaziland (UNISWA), the National University of Lesotho, and the University of Botswana, are offshoots of a common university. These universities had their origin in the Pius XII College, a Catholic University College which was founded by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy of Southern Africa on 8 April 1945 on a temporary site at Roma. The objective of the College was to provide African Catholic students with a post-matriculation (high school exit exam) and religious education. In 1946 the College moved to its permanent site, and by 1959 it had 171 students from the original 5. By 1963 the number of students had grown to 180 and necessary facilities had been added.
At that time there was a special agreement with the University of South Africa in Pretoria, a distance education institution which examined the students and offered degrees in Arts, Science, Commerce, and Education. In the early 1960s, as apartheid legislation in South Africa became more restrictive, problems arose with regard to student residence requirements. Consequently, an independent, non-denominational university was established by Royal Charter through the High Commission for Basutoland, Bechuanaland, and Swaziland. On 1 January 1964, under a Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth II of England, the Pius XII College became an integral part of the independent, non-denominational University of Basutoland, Bechuanaland, and Swaziland. In 1966, after independence was granted to present day Botswana and Lesotho, the name was changed to the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Its first degrees in 1967 were offered in four-year programs in science and education and a law degree, which included two years of study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The University was funded equally by the governments of all three countries, but the main campus was in Lesotho. There was also no university presence in the other two countries with the exception of the beginnings of the Faculty of Agriculture in Luyengo, Swaziland. After independence in 1966, campuses were established in Gaborone, Botswana and Kwaluseni, Swaziland.
On 20 October 1975, the Roma campus in Lesotho withdrew to become the National University of Lesotho. The other two constituent colleges continued as the University of Botswana and Swaziland until July 1982, when separate universities were established. The University of Swaziland (UNISWA) has two campuses - one at Luyengo for agricultural faculty and another at Kwaluseni for academic and professional courses. Undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in the arts, sciences, commerce, education, and law are offered. Courses are also available in accounting, business management, and marketing. The enrollment for the 1996-1997 academic year was 2,533 full-time students.
Admission to degree courses require the C.O.S.C. with a credit in English language and in mathematics if the student wishes to follow the B.Sc. program or the Matriculation Certificate of the Republic of South Africa, provided credit has been gained for English at the Higher Grade Level. Bachelor's degree programs are generally four years in duration with the academic year broken into two semesters of fifteen weeks each. A final exam is administered at the end of each year. In the grading system, the grade of A, a First Class degree, is rarely given. Grades of B and C are considered very strong grades and to receive a D is to receive a respectable grade. In order to receive a degree, an overall D average must be obtained.
In line with the British influence, Master's degree programs are normally research-oriented, though some coursework may be required. Masters degrees are offered in the arts, science, and education. Ph.D. Programs are research-oriented. UNISWA's professors are well qualified. Many are expatriates, which gives the university an international character. Special care has also gone into the funding and setting up of the library.
UNISWA's Division of Extra-Mural Services (D.E.M.S.) provides part-time studies in several fields and has developed a distance learning program for the Certificate in Adult Education that provides basic professional training to personnel already engaged in adult education. Prerequisites for admission are the Junior Certificate in Education plus two years of relevant work experience. Other alternative qualifications are considered. The Department also offers correspondence courses based on the Cambridge GCE O-level syllabus.
Higher education is free for qualified students. Apart from UNISWA's two campuses there are three teachertraining colleges, two nursing colleges, various vocational institutions, and the Swaziland College of Technology. The government provides adult education to improve literacy.
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