Implementing the new and localised English language curriculum in rural school contexts in Swaziland: the case of the Lubombo Region.
Nxumalo, Zodwa Gcinaphi.
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The study explored the implementation of the new and localised Swaziland General Certificate of Secondary Education (SGCSE) English language curriculum in rural school contexts at senior secondary school level in the Lubombo region of Swaziland. It was based on the premise that for many years until 2006, the curriculum that was in use in Swaziland was the GCE O- level. In 2006, the curriculum was replaced with the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), which was later localised to the Swaziland General Certificate of Secondary Education (SGCSE). Studies conducted on the former curriculum revealed that rural school English language teachers were still experiencing challenges implementing the former curriculum although the curriculum had been in place for a long time. Moreover, this curriculum was not as demanding as the new and localised curriculum in terms of materials and infrastructure. The former curriculum viewed the teacher as the only custodian of information whereas the new and localised curriculum views both teachers and learners as equal partners in knowledge production. This study utilised the mixed method approach. Twenty three (23) English Language teachers that had been randomly selected from twenty three rural senior secondary schools in the Lubombo region of Swaziland participated in the study. The study utilized open-ended questionnaires, one on one interviews and classroom observations for the collection of data. Data were analysed thematically using content analysis. The study found that most of the suggested teaching methods were not applicable in the rural school context as a result teachers were confined to only those teaching methods that were applicable. It also found that most of the teaching materials and infrastructure required for this curriculum was not available in rural schools, hence teachers improvised. In addition, rural senior secondary school learners were not represented in the setting of external examinations and this resulted in them performing badly in these examinations. The non-representation of rural senior secondary school learners was against the stipulations of a localised curriculum because this curriculum is supposed to cater for the needs of the learners in their specific environment. The study therefore suggested a model to be used in the examinations which will ensure that both rural and urban school learners are represented in the setting of external examinations.