Country profile

Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa. It covers an area of about 17, 500 sq. km and has a population of around 1.1 million. Swaziland uses a system of government that it inherited from the British colonial system in conjunction with the traditional system of local councils presided over by the King. There are four administrative districts, Hhohho, Manzini, Shiselweni and Lubombo. Each district has a Ministry of Education office that is headed by a District Education Officer.

Swaziland’s main priority at Independence in 1968 was to expand its school system. Over the following 20 years there was a major increase in resources made available to all levels of education, and a systematic movement towards the achievement of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1985.  In recent years the country has been struggling to maintain UPE because of difficulties associated with financial constraints, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and poverty - which is beginning to manifest itself in the rural areas of the country.


Total population:
1 133 613 (2006)
Annual population growth:
1.0% (2005)
Rural population:
75.9% (2005)

*latest data as of March 2009 from UNESCO Institute for Statistics.