Universities and colleges in Swaziland will be censored in what they can teach to ensure they do not damage the ‘image’ of the kingdom, if new draft regulations are adopted.
Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
The Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (21 January 2016) that higher education institutions should not ‘teach things which could be detrimental to the wellbeing and image of the country’.
The newspaper reported the Executive Secretary of the Swaziland Higher Education Council (SHEC) Mboni Dlamini said, ‘this did not mean that institutions should not provide political studies, if their mission was to do so’.
The Times added, ‘He said, however, they should stick to the parameters of that particular subject. He said lecturers should stick to the approved syllabus and not teach things which could be detrimental to the wellbeing and image of the country.’
In Swaziland all political parties are banned from taking part in elections. Many groups advocating democracy in the kingdom are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
In Swaziland, the King appoints the cabinet, top civil servants and judges.
Elections are held every five years, but voters get to choose only 55 of the 65-member House of Assembly. The other ten members are appointed by King Mswati. No members of the 30-strong Swaziland Senate are elected; 20 are appointed by the King and 10 are selected by the House of Assembly.
Dlamini was presenting the Draft Higher Education Regulations to representatives of Swazi universities and colleges.
The Times quoted Dlamini saying, ‘The University of Swaziland teaches political studies, lecturers should stick to the parameters and not go outside their domain to the detriment of the country.’
The Times reported, ‘He said they should not also teach things which will harass others be it in politics, religion or local culture. He said if an institution was licensed to teach Agriculture, they should stick to that, and not be involved in any other non-agricultural activities.
‘“We do not want institutions to focus on other things that will smear the image of the country. The institutions should also not teach things which will incite students to engage in protest actions,” he said.’