Virtual University-UniSey hosts workshop to develop degree course


Dr Payet addressing delegates at the launch of the workshop yesterday

The stakeholders, each with a wide range of experience and expertise, come from various Commonwealth states, namely Botswana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Samoa and Seychelles.

Launched yesterday, the two-week workshop -- also known as boot camp -- is being organised by the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) in close collaboration with the UniSey. It is being led by John Lesperance, an education specialist working with the Commonwealth of Learning.

The VUSSC is a network of small countries committed to the collaborative development of free content resources for use in an educational context.

Those taking part in the workshop were welcomed by UniSey’s president and vice-chancellor, Dr Rolph Payet.
Mr Lesperance said during the two-week session those taking part will share their vast knowledge and experience in the various  environment fields to develop materials for the degree course which is later expected to be made available online through the distance learning programme to benefit small island states.

“Such a degree course is very much in demand in small island states which are being greatly affected by climate change,” Mr Lesperance said.

This is the 11th such workshops to develop courses which have previously been held in other Commonwealth states.

Mr Lesperance noted that the delegates have been chosen because they have a wealth of experience and expertise to share with and learn from each other.

In his remarks earlier to welcome those taking part, Dr Payet said the occasion is a milestone in the development of the UniSey as it will take the BSc in Environmental Science course it started developing over a year ago to another level – that is making it available to other small states around the world.

“This is in itself a great achievement for our very young university,” said Dr Payet.

“I have no doubt this programme will be of interest to many islanders around the world and I believe it will be an opportunity for Seychelles to share its knowledge in conservation success and its achievements in sustainable development with the rest of the world,” he added.

He expressed confidence that the programme will continue to develop to include the residency component which will eventually bring over foreign students for a residency programme to obtain hands-on experience.  
Mr Lesperance said the programme is hoped to be finalised and completed by the end of the year.

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