The secondary education is a five year programme divided into three (3) years junior secondary and two (2) years senior secondary. There is an external public examination (Junior Certificate) at the end of the junior secondary that learners have to pass in order to progress to the senior secondary level. The Examination Council of Swaziland (ECOS) administers this examination.

At the end of the senior secondary level, learners sit for a public examination, the Swaziland General Certificate of Secondary Education (SGCSE) and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which is accredited by the Cambridge International Examination (CIE). A few schools offer the Advanced Studies (AS) programme in their curriculum.

The secondary school curriculum offers a range of subjects which are grouped into core and electives. Schools are encouraged to offer a minimum of at least six (6) subjects at both JC and SGCSE levels.

Pre-vocational Education Programme

The programme is a separate entity from the SGCSE. It started as a pilot project in some sixteen (16) selected schools through out the country, four (4) in each region. It is offered at the senior secondary level.

Learners who opt for the programme do the following; all general core subjects, prevoc core, comprising Information Technology (IT) and Entrepreneurship (EP) and choose one area of specialization from a wide range of practical subjects that includes, agriculture, business studies, home economics and technical studies. The programme was designed to provide learners with survival skills that will open doors for continuing on to post secondary education, finding a job in either the private sector or public sector and most importantly starting a business enterprise. The programme is accredited by the Examination Council of Swaziland (ECOS) and the Directorate of Industrial Vocational Training (DIVT)


Currently, there are 217 junior and senior secondary schools in the country with an enrollment of 83, 096 learners and a teaching force of 4, 358 teachers.


The vision of the secondary education is to:

“provide a flexible responsive and integrated curriculum that will satisfy world class learning standards comparable with higher and further education and the world of work”


Secondary education aims at enabling learners to:

  • Acquire knowledge, develop confidence and ability to assess their personal strengths and weaknesses and be realistic in choosing appropriate career/employment opportunities and or further education and training;
  • Develop skills to assist in understanding economic, social, political and spiritual issues as they relate to day to day life and exercise democratic values;
  • Develop desirable attitudes and behavioral patterns in interacting with the environment and their fellow men in a respective and tolerant manner;
  • Acquire attitudes and values, develop skills and understanding to allow for the execution of rights and responsibilities as a good citizens of Swaziland and the world at large
  • Develop life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, enquiry, team work and be adaptable in a changing world;
  • Acquire knowledge; develop skills and practices that will encourage good family and healthy practices that prepare them for productive life.


The objectives of the secondary education are stated as follows:

  • Aligning the education system with International Education Standards;
  • Promoting the development of problem-solving skills, child centered, competency based, life long learning approaches to learning;
  • Catering for a wide range of abilities;
  • Providing a curriculum that meets requirement of tertiary institutions and the world of work;
  • Providing an education system that takes into account gender and cultural issues;
  • Providing an education system that caters for learners’ with special needs
  • Striving for cost effectiveness in education.

The Secondary School Curriculum

At the junior secondary level, learners take core subjects (mathematics, English, siSwati, science) and at least three (3) more subjects from a list that includes history, geography, religious studies, French and practical subjects such as agriculture, business studies, home economics and technical studies. At the senior level, a minimum of six (6) subject’s are offered in new schools. Established schools offer a wide range of subjects that includes practical subjects.

Localization of the secondary school curriculum

In 2006 the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) was adopted starting in Form 1V and progressed to Form V in 2007.The first examinations were written in 2007.

The localization of the school curriculum from IGCSE to SGCSE started in 2006 and is being carried out in three (3) phases. Phase I subjects have now been fully localized; Phase II subjects have also been localized. The teaching of the SGCSE curriculum started in January 2009 and the first examination will be in 2010. With regards to Phase III subjects, teaching using the SGCSE syllabus started in January 2010 and the first examinations for subjects under this Phase will be in 2011.





Physical Science

First Language SiSwati


siSwati as a 2nd Language

English Language


Combined Science

Fashion & Fabrics



Food & Nutrition

Literature in English

Business Studies



Design and Technology

Religious Studies


At this level monitoring and evaluation of the teaching and learning is done in two forms internal and external.

Internal; Head teachers and Heads of Departments ensure that proper records of assessment are kept and that tests meet the expectations of the programme of each subject for both the junior level and the senior level.

External; Senior Inspectors and Regional Inspectors visit schools continuously to monitor educational standards. This is done through various types of inspection which include, pastoral, panel, subject, and drop in inspection. Workshops for development of teachers at subject level are conducted regularly by the inspectorate.

The Examination Council of Swaziland (ECOS) ensures that centers for examination meet the set standards and examinations are conducted in a professional manner.

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