Eswatini Shuts Schools Amid New Wave of Protests

Eswatini, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, said Saturday it had shut its schools “indefinitely with immediate effect” as the country faces a wave of pro-democracy protests.Students of the tiny, landlocked nation formerly known as Swaziland have been pr…

Eswatini, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, said Saturday it had shut its schools “indefinitely with immediate effect” as the country faces a wave of pro-democracy protests.

Students of the tiny, landlocked nation formerly known as Swaziland have been protesting for a number of weeks, boycotting lessons and calling for free schooling, as well as an end to the regime under King Mswati III.

“His Majesty’s government has taken the decision to close schools indefinitely with immediate effect,” Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini said in a statement.

According to pro-democracy activists, the army and police have been deployed in schools this week, and several students have been arrested.

Civil society and opposition groups demonstrated in the largest cities, Manzini and Mbabane, in June, looting shops and ransacking business properties.

At least 28 people died as police clashed with protesters in some of the worst unrest in the southern African country’s history. The latest fatality came Wednesday.

On Friday, Eswatini shut down the internet for two hours as pro-democracy marchers headed to the capital.

The shutdown came as images of the protests circulated on social and traditional media, including pictures of two people who said they had been injured by gunshots fired by security forces.

The internet shutdown blocked social media and left many services running very slowly afterward.

On Saturday, the situation was calm, according to an AFP journalist.

King Mswati III has ruled Eswatini since 1986 and owns shares in the country’s telecoms.

He is criticized for living a lavish lifestyle in one of the world’s poorest countries and is accused of stifling political parties.

The king has accused demonstrators of depriving children of their education by taking part in the protests.

Source: Voice of America

UNICEF: 1 Million Children in Nigeria Could Miss School

The U.N. Children’s Fund in Nigeria said at least 1 million Nigerian children could miss school this year because of insecurity, as schools in the north of the country have been targeted by armed groups in a series of mass kidnappings for ransom.UNICEF…

The U.N. Children’s Fund in Nigeria said at least 1 million Nigerian children could miss school this year because of insecurity, as schools in the north of the country have been targeted by armed groups in a series of mass kidnappings for ransom.

UNICEF Nigeria said Wednesday the country had recorded 20 school attacks this year alone, and 1,436 students have been abducted. The report also showed that 16 students have been killed, and 200 remain missing.

As schools across the country began opening this week for a new semester, more than 37 million students are due back at schools.

But officials reported low attendance in attack-prone areas like north central Kaduna state. In the capital, authorities pushed back the resumption date to September 19 without giving a reason.

In the UNICEF report, country representative Peter Hawkins urged Nigerian authorities to prioritize security at schools, stating it was unacceptable for communities to be worried to send their children to school over fears they will be abducted.

Emmanuel Hwande, spokesperson at Nigerian Union of Teachers, said the government must take responsibility.

“We want the government to take actions, actions that will see that the security agencies respond properly to incidents of kidnapping, incidents of abduction where we’ll see them actively involved, actively engaging such criminal elements,” Hwande said.

Ransom-seeking criminal gangs began targeting schools in northern Nigeria late last year. Amnesty international says hundreds of schools there have been closed as a result.

Abuja resident Florence Ulo is scared about sending her five-year-old son back to school.

“Even me that is in the city, and of course my son’s school is not far from the house and they have security, but I still don’t feel comfortable,” she said. “The thought of that they can go into a school and abduct children is very scary for a parent.”

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic set back school calendars and disrupted learning for millions of students in Nigeria. UNICEF’s Hawkins said the situation has worsened “with the additional challenge of school closures due to prevailing insecurity across the country.”

He said that while countries worldwide, including Nigeria, have taken action to provide remote learning, many students are not being reached.

He said UNICEF joined a global “digital freeze” of social media Thursday to protest the inability of children around the world to access classrooms, and that unless mitigation measures are implemented, the World Bank estimates a loss of $10 trillion U.S. dollars in earnings over time for the present generation of students globally.

Source: Voice of America

Deputy Prime Minister chairs 44th meeting of Supreme Council for the Development of Education and Training

Deputy Prime Minister, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, the President of the Supreme Council for the Development of Education and Training, chaired today the council’s 44th meeting which was held virtually to discuss key issues.The Deputy Prime …

Deputy Prime Minister, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, the President of the Supreme Council for the Development of Education and Training, chaired today the council’s 44th meeting which was held virtually to discuss key issues.

The Deputy Prime Minister congratulated the students, their parents as well as the educational, administrative and supervisory staff in all educational institutions on the advent of the new academic year. He wished them every success, praising the decisions announced after the approval of the executive committee, based on the recommendations of the National Taskforce for Combating the coronavirus (Covid-19) regarding the new academic year and its organization according to the light signal level of the spread of the coronavirus.

The council also listened to a presentation by the Education and Training Quality Authority (BQA) on the authority’s latest projects, activities and reports. It also listened to a review by the Education Ministry’s Director General for School Affairs concerning the recommendations of the second annual conference of the permanent committees at Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) regarding education and training.

Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa thanked the council’s members and all officials in the education and training development projects for their efforts to upgrade the educational process and improve its output in accordance with the requirements of the labour market.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

HH Shaikh Nasser: Cooperation between Education, Youth ministries to boost youth movement

HM the King’s Representative for Humanitarian Work and Youth Affairs, His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, today received Education Minister, Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Nuaimi, and Youth and Sports Affairs Minister, Ayman bin Tawfiq Al-Moayyad, i…

HM the King’s Representative for Humanitarian Work and Youth Affairs, His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, today received Education Minister, Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Nuaimi, and Youth and Sports Affairs Minister, Ayman bin Tawfiq Al-Moayyad, in the presence of the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Undersecretary, Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

HH Shaikh Nasser discussed with the ministers ways to continue developing the youth sector, through cooperation between the Education and Youth ministries to achieve complementarity, and be able to implement a number of projects aimed at establishing a wider youth base capable of representing the kingdom at various international gatherings.

HH Shaikh Nasser stressed the Education Ministry’s role and efforts to coordinate and cooperate with the Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry to increase the number of participants in various activities, which will create a youth educational environment that seeks to enhance the students’ role in enriching the youth movement, highlighting the importance of efforts to continue shaping Bahraini youth’s future positively.

HH Shaikh Nasser emphasised the role of the two ministries’ varied programmes in instilling the national values in the minds of youngsters, noting that their programmes contribute to the discovery of talents at early stages, which will support specialists in employing their potentials in the right way, valuing highly the efforts made by the two ministries to develop Bahraini youth’s capabilities.

The Education Minister expressed appreciation for HH Shaikh Nasser for his unwavering support for the youth and sports movements, contributing to adopting numerous varied programmes that serve them.

Youth and Sports Affairs Minister lauded HH Shaikh Nasser’s interest in developing the youth and sports sectors in the kingdom, affirming that HH’s strategy has contributed to their success in attaining distinguished accomplishments at the regional and continental levels.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

Higher Education Secretary General receives Omani Ambassador

Secretary-General of the Higher Education Council and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Higher Education Dr. Shaikha Rana bint Isa bin Daij Al Khalifa received the outgoing Omani Ambassador Abdullah bin Rashid Al Madilawi. The secretary-general hi…

Secretary-General of the Higher Education Council and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Higher Education Dr. Shaikha Rana bint Isa bin Daij Al Khalifa received the outgoing Omani Ambassador Abdullah bin Rashid Al Madilawi.

The secretary-general highlighted the deep and historic relations between Baharain and Oman and expressed her appreciation of the ambassador’s efforts in developing bilateral relations at all levels, wishing him success in his future missions.

The ambassador expressed his appreciation for the support he received throughout his tenure, wishing the Kingdom and its people further progress and prosperity.

Source: Bahrain News Agency