Head of EDC Mr Michael V Zikalala
Fax: 09268 41 61171/2/3
Tel: 09268 41 61983
Contact Person: Mrs Gladys Thembile Mtshawi
Fax: 09268 41 61171/2/3
Tel: 09268 41 61983
Postal Address Emlalatini Development Centre
P.O. Box 547
Date: 8 July 1999
The Emlalatini Development Centre (EDC) is a Government institution
under the Ministry of Education. It consists of three departments namely:
the Correspondence department which offers students secondary
the Vocational department which offers a one-year course in
the Agriculture Teachers in-service training department
which trains primary school teachers to teach agriculture in their respective schools.
The following mission statement appears in a brochure about EDC:
Emlalatini Development Centre (EDC) provides services to all people who want to pursue the
Junior Certificate (JC), OLevel and the Higher International General Certificate of
Secondary Education (HIGCSE) courses regardless of age and distance.
Emlalatini was originally known as Ephesus House, which was started
to help young people nationals and refugees to continue their secondary
education. In the late 1960s the need for correspondence education for Swaziland
students was recognised. The Danish government provided the funds, through their aid
agency DANIDA, to start up corespondence programmes for people who wanted to complete
their secondary education. At first subjects for the Junior Certificate qualification were
offered. Later EDC began to offer Olevel courses and the Cambridge General
Certificate of Education (HIGCSE) courses.
The opening of the correspondence centre coincided with the launch of a
vocational training centre. Initially students who did not have a Junior Certificate (JC)
could register at this centre. The course that was offered was a one-year course and the
students were taught to make simple furniture. Today the vocational centre admits JC
students, and gives priority to those who have studied subjects like Woodwork and
In 1972 Ephesus House changed its name and became known as the
Swaziland International Education Centre (SIEC). In 1978 the centre ceased to be a
project, and became part of the Ministry of Education. At the same time the name was
changed to Emlalatini Development Centre.
The Agricultural Teachers In-Service Training Centre was
established soon after the Ministry took over. The centre is responsible for training
Primary school teachers to teach agriculture. The programme runs for two years during
which teachers are offered residential as well as correspondence courses.
EDC is a government institution under the Ministry of Education.
The centre, also referred to as a college, is situated in the Enzulwini area, midway
between Mbabane and Manzini. At the Head of the centre is a principal who is assisted by a
vice-prinicpal. They are responsible for managing the three departments, Correspondence,
Agricultural Teachers Training Centre and the Vocational Centre. Initially it was
envisaged to decentralize EDCs work to rural education centres (RECs) in the
north, south, east and west of the country. It was hoped that EDC could make use of the
existing infrastructure of the RECs which are attached to high schools. However, the
use of these centres as fully operational study centres for EDC students has proved to be
difficult and currently they are used mainly for enrolling students
EDC offers three programmes:
- econdary Education Programme consisting of the Junior Certificate, O-level and the HIGCE
- gricultural Teachers In-Service Training Programme
- ocational Training Programme
EDC was specifically established to provide learners with access to secondary education
programmes by using distance education methods. The remainder of this report will provide
information about the distance education programme offered by the correspondence
department of the centre.
A profile of learners enrolled for the Secondary Education
Programmes appears in an undated internal document, which gives an overview of EDC and its
work. The following facts about learners are drawn from this document:
- 88% are school leavers and those who failed the Junior Certificate and Olevel
- 3% are primary school teachers
- 10% are working people, from the civil service and industry, and the private sector;
- About 51% are women and 49% are men;
- 65% of all learners have been to a conventional education system prior to their
enrolment with EDC;
- Students range in age from 15 to 54 years. Most students are in the age category 15
20 years, followed by 21 25 years;
- The occupation/profession of EDC students includes the following: unemployed young
people who live with their parents (they account for the largest number of enrolments),
shop assistants, mine workers, bank clerks, civil servants, people working in industry,
primary school teachers, staff at EDC, bus conductors.
Over the past few years the number of enrolments has dropped due to a
large extent to the opening of private schools which offer secondary education courses.
Information derived from sources such as: registration forms, pre-course/on-course/post
course counselling, learners worksheets (tests) and difficulty sheets reveal that
students register with EDC to:
- improve their marks in order to qualify for senior secondary Olevels;
- upgrade their qualifications to enable them to enter colleges or universities;
- counselling to choose careers and subject combinations;
- assistance in helping them to acquire a certificate that reflects their results from
previous studies with a conventional education facility;
- attain a high academic level to qualify for promotion at work, increased salary
increment, personal upliftment;
- make use of a conducive study environment;
- have access to an examination centre;
- benefit from an affordable learning option. In most instances the tuition fees charged
by EDC are lower than the fees charged in a conventional school.
Delivery Modes and Technologies
Learners at EDC use self access study materials, which are referred
to as workbooks. This is the main form of support and accounts for about 80% of the
overall support to learners. Most of the workbooks are self contained but some courses do
make use of textbooks. In such instances the workbooks guide the learners in the use of
The average number of books per subject is six. Learners receive the
workbooks at intervals determined by them and this allows for self-paced learning. Each
workbook contains self-check practice exercises that are designed to help the learners to
learn and remember. The workbooks also contain tests which the learners are expected to
complete and send to EDC for comments. Difficulty sheets are supplied with the workbooks
and learners receive guidance on how to complete them. They are encouraged to describe any
difficulty they might experience and to send the sheets to tutors who respond to the
difficulties by writing helpful comments. However, this form of support is problematic
because of the delays in the postal system.
Learners can avail themselves of face-to-face support in the following
- a residential course is run at EDC during April/May. Learners stay for one week during
which they receive intensive support from their tutors;
- from May onwards learners can come to EDC to attend one day sessions on Tuesdays and
Thursdays. Tuesdays are reserved for J.C. learners whilst Olevel learners can come
- learners can arrange to meet their tutors at EDC at any time;
- trial examinations are conducted at EDC during August and September. Learners who have
registered for their end of year examinations can write these examinations for a nominal
fee of E2.00 per subject.
At the moment learners have to travel to EDC to attend these
face-to-face sessions because the decentralised academic support in the six rural study
centres has not materialised as envisaged.
So far only the English department has been using radio. Some EDC
staff are radio specialists who write and produce the radio programmes with some
assistance from other tutors. The programmes cater for both junior secondary and senior
learners and cover language issues and English literature.
The production of these programmes is done at the national radio
station and EDC has three 15-minute slots per week. Towards the end of the year, EDC
produces programmes, which give learners examination hints. Radio is also used to give
learners information about registration, the timetable and examination dates and venues.
Learner Support Strategies
In an effort to provide quality distance education programmes, EDC
offers learners the following support services in order to enable them to be successful in
Pre-course, in-course and post-course counselling service
Before registration learners can go to EDC where they receive
guidance from tutors on which courses they should enrol for. During their studies learners
can make an appointment with their tutors to get advice on any aspect of the courses for
which they have enrolled. Upon completion of their courses learners can get assistance
from tutors to plan the next steps in their career.
Block enrolment system
EDC implements a block enrolment system, which caters for two
enrolment sessions: the first session spans from January to April and the second session
starts in August and ends in September. Students who enrol during the second session are
those who intend to sit for their examinations in the following academic year.
Making available to learners self-access materials
The materials are written according to the methods of self
instructional materials and learners can check their own progress by completing self-check
practice activities. Learners are required to complete tests in each workbook, which they
submit to tutors who provide them with feedback. This gives learners and tutors a good
idea of how the learners are progressing on the course.
As indicated above learners can attend a residential week or they
can participate in one-day tutorial sessions once a week.
Only the English course makes use of the radio as a form of support
in conjunction with the materials. Any information about the courses in terms of
registration and examination times and venues are communicated by means of radio and
print. Towards the end of the year programmes are produced on how to approach the
preparation and writing of examinations.
Telephone and postal support
Those learners who have access to the telephone use it mainly for
enquiries about administrative matters. Sometimes they use it to enquire about course
EDC also uses the telephone to contact learners who have access to
telephones. Tutors make use of these telephonic conversations to inform learners of their
progress and to motivate those who are lagging behind.
EDC has six operational study centres, which have been established
at the following rural education centres (RECs:
- Big Bend
- Masapha Correctional Services
It was decided to use the above RECs for two main reasons: the
first one is that the personnel who manage the centres are employed by the adult education
department in the Ministry of Education; secondly EDC can make use of the existing
infra-structure i.e. facilities and personnel.
It has been problematic to train and monitor teachers in the areas in
which the centres are located. As a result the centres are used mainly as distribution
centres for EDC. Learners can enrol at the centres and receive their first workbooks when
Tutors can monitor the progress of learners on the course through
the regular submission of tests, which they mark, comment on and return to learners. The
tests merely serve as monitoring devices because there is no continuous assessment in any
of the courses.
Summative assessment for learners who have enrolled with the Junior
Certificate, the Olevel and HIGCSE courses takes the form of written examinations at
the end of the year. Only learners who have passed the Olevel examination can enrol
for the HIGCSE courses.
Emlalatini depends on the government, through the Ministry of
Education, for staff training and development. This has proved to be quite problematic and
management of the centre has had to look elsewhere for assistance with the training of
tutors. As a member of the Distance Education Association of Southern Africa (DEASA)
Emlalatini has been able to participate in workshops and training events organized by
DEASA. All new full-time tutors are currently enrolled on the Certificate Course for
Distance Education Practitioners, which is being offered by the Institute for Continuing
Education at UNISA in South Africa. The current head of the centre attended the Short
Course in Distance Education in London during 1999. This four-week course is a residential
course and is offered by the International Extension College (IEC).
Relevant National Policy
Distance Education in Swaziland falls under the Ministry of
Education. Up to the EDC period the government did not have a clear cut policy on Distance
Education. However, once EDC was established the government committed itself to distance
education as an approach and set of methods that is expected to contribute significantly
to the education and training of learners in the adult, secondary and tertiary sectors. A
draft policy on education exists but this was not finalised at the time of this report.
Enabling and Hindering Factors
One of the biggest challenges for EDC has been to decentralize its
work to the various study centres in the rural areas as originally envisaged. This is due
mainly to inadequate capacity and lack of financial resources. Currently the only
face-to-face tutorial support is provided at the main centre while the study centres are
used mainly for enrolment purposes.
There following is a summary of an analysis of the learner support
- Poor reception of radio programmes from the channel which is currently being used means
that it is difficult for learners to get the most benefit from this form of support;
- An unreliable postal system hampers the learning process because learners, especially
those who live in the rural areas, do not get their workbooks on time and the turnaround
time of assignments and tests is far too long for learners to derive benefit from the
- One-day tutorials only benefit the learners who live in and around Manzini-Mbabane;
- Difficulty in finding suitable part-time tutors for the study centres;
- It is difficult to monitor the learners progress because of lack of capacity.
Attempts to overcome weaknesses
- Negotiate for radio programmes to be on a channel that has no reception problems;
- Make audio cassettes of radio programmes to enable learners to have more flexible and
convenient listening time;
- Encourage learners to collect their study materials whenever they visit EDC;
- Send reminders to learners who are not up to date with their work;
- Arrange for part-time tutors to conduct tutorials at the study centres;
- Acquire transport to enable EDC staff to visit and monitor the study centres;
The following priorities have been identified to improve the
services to learners at EDC:
- Increase the number of subjects offered to create a wider choice for learners.
- Increase the number of subjects taught on radio currently.
- Employ a full-time radio tutor.
- Investigate the use of television as a means of support.
- Connect EDC to the internet;
- Buy computers to facilitate work in the various departments.