Economic constraints, vast distances between cities, and the remoteness of large numbers of the population in even a relatively small country like Swaziland make it necessary for many people to obtain education, especially higher, through distance education. It is thus not always easy to distinguish between formal and nonformal education. The Swaziland International Education Centre, which opened in 1973 in Mbabane, provides continuing education for adult Swazis throughout the country. It supervises an intensive program of correspondence courses leading to the junior certificate examination. Numbers enrolled exceed 1,500 individuals per year, of whom approximately 1000 are over 20 years of age. The Emlalatini Development Centre, funded by the Ministry of Education and sponsored by the Danish Development Agency, provides alternative educational opportunities for school children and young adults who have not been able to complete their schooling because they have failed to obtain adequate examination results. Through correspondence material, short residential courses and radio they offer English, mathematics, social studies, science, siSwati, religious studies, and home economics to students wishing to complete either their Secondary Education or vocational training.
The Swaziland government's keenness to further education in the country is seen in the large amount of the budget it allocates both to education and to telecommunications. By 1968 Swaziland Broadcasting Service made 9 hours of educational radio broadcasting per week available, by 1991 some 18 hours per week were allotted, and, during school terms, one third of all week day programs are directed to school use. The Ministry of Education, aided by UNESCO, has conducted training courses in the production of educational television programs and has built a special studio for educational television program production and broadcasting so that transmission can be extended throughout the nation. Commercial companies have also donated television sets to some schools.
The Institute of Development Management in Swaziland, with the help of funds from Canada, organizes courses for middle and senior levels of management in the civil service and state-run concerns. Telecommunications technical training is available at the Swaziland College of Technology. Swaziland also operates a Multi Country Training Centre jointly with Malawi, Lesotho, and Botswana.
In 1980, several African countries comprising mainly of the so-called front-line states, those countries most affected by the political struggle in and most economically dependant on South Africa—Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—joined together to form the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC). In 1992 they were joined by Namibia. In 1994 South Africa became the eleventh member of the organization, which was then renamed the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The role of these organizations was to encourage economic independence for its members through the improvement of national and inter-country communications infrastructures, the growth of inter-country trade and cultural ties, and the mutual support of each country's educational system. By implementing joint training facilities and organizing joint training sessions in these countries, the Southern African Transport and Communications Commission (SATCC), one arm of the SADC, promoted cooperation in human resource development. SATCC also promotes cooperation among the telecommunications administrations of the region via the Pan African Telecommunications (Panaftel) microwave network and satellite links, international gateway exchanges, and earth stations. These projects undertaken by Penaftel are vital for the furthering of distance education both in Swaziland. Swaziland's strong telecommunications infrastructure, the high literacy and educational level of its population, and its well-developed radio and television network make it a practicable proposition for distance education initiatives of organizations such as the Commonwealth of Learning.
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