KWALUSENI – The University of Eswatini hosted a workshop to engage her internal stakeholder (staff and students) on the draft Equal Opportunity Policy of UNESWA on Monday 12 June 2023 at the Ligcabho LemaSwati Sports Emporium at the Kwaluseni Campus. A stakeholder awareness session on the concept of equal opportunities both in higher education institutions and in employment preceded the engagement of the stakeholder on the draft policy. In his remarks, The Registrar, Dr Salebona Simelane noted that the development of the policy was indeed a positive milestone for the University and stressed that members of the University community must note the difference between equality and equity, as defined in the policy..  The Vice Chancellor, Professor Justice Thwala welcomed the members of the University community and outlined what the policy was about.  The stakeholder awareness session was facilitated by Dr Ntombenhle Dlamini, then Acting Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Mr Roison Pave from Institute of Personnel Management,  Eswatini.

In keeping with not only the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 2005 which asserts that “all persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law”; the National Education and Training Sector Policy 2018 as well as Section 5 (2) of the University Act of 1983, the University has drafted an Equal Opportunity Policy through which access to equal opportunities for both staff and students will be ensured and that none of the staff of students will be discriminated or treated unfairly because of their gender, race, age, religion, disability or any social distinguisher.

Access to equality of opportunities is not only a constitutional right for Emaswati, but also a requirement for successful higher education institutions. Professionally managed higher education institutions have embraced equal opportunity as one of the indicators of good management practice. In the higher education sector, having an equal opportunity policy in place has become one of the leading attributes for ranking purposes. Institutions which have equal opportunity policies stand a chance to get better rankings than their counterparts which do not have such policies. Rankings can influence national and international partnerships and collaborations.

As the University’s vision is to be ‘The University of Choice in Africa” it is critical that the University systems are prepared to receive the diversity that is envisaged as UNESWA continues to attract both international students and staff. The Equal Opportunity Policy is one tool that will ensure fair access to opportunities for both staff and students and that discrimination is eliminated at the University.