The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) strives both to match demand and supply in the skills sets required by employers and entrepreneurs in Swaziland and to raise the range and quality of skills of Swazis. Offering pre-service scholarships is a prominent strategy for achieving these goals. From 1994 to 2011. E 919 mn has been paid to 26,600 awardees and to 86 institutions .

Scholarships are awarded on the condition that the awardee begins to repay 50% of the value of the scholarship ... a value determined by the duration and costs of the course of study followed ... within 3 months of beginning employment in Swaziland. The awardee’s parents or relatives stand surety for the loan portion of the scholarship . While many recipients have complied with their contractual obligations, many more have not: at the end of 2011 over E2bn may have been outstanding.

The scheme is now under stress. A growing population, and an increasing awareness of the lift to lifetime earnings from higher education, have increased the demand for scholarships, a demand made harder and harder to meet because of increasing costs of higher education and severely constrained Government finances. The latter has also constrained resources for management of the scholarship award processes, both slowing work and increasing strains on staff.

This Project is part of the Ministry’s response to this conjuncture. Its broad aims are:
  • To put in place systems and procedures that allow far more efficient and effective achievement of the goals of the scholarship scheme, particularly with regard to recovery of loans advanced.
  • To substantially increase funds available for award by demonstrating that new procedures proposed can, when applied to past awards, induce repayments.
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