UniSey launches environmental science degree course


02-April-2012

The session in progress

A recent 10-day workshop to prepare the groundwork for the course was attended by representatives of seven countries, including Seychelles. The other representatives who shared their experiences with the UniSey came from other six small states – Botswana, Namibia, Samoa, Jamaica, The Bahamas and Mauritius. They prepared the course development process to establish the components of the environmental science course. 

A major partner helping the UniSey on the programme is the Virtual University of the Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC), whose education specialist, Seychellois John Lesperance, said they will empower the UniSey to eventually offer the course to other small states.

“The workshop was aimed at developing a programme that will be used by other small states of the Commonwealth, where the resources that come out as a result of the workshop will be shared with the other 32 small states that are partnered with the VUSSC,” he said.

Mr Lesperance said the groundwork for year one of the course has been finalised and they are aiming to have the full programme ready by the end of the year.

There will be three exit points for the course, meaning a student can leave the course after year one with a certificate, after year two with a diploma or after year three with a degree.

The course will have both a regular classroom and an online component where one can choose to follow the course either in a traditional classroom or online.

Mr Lesperance said although Seychelles has not fully developed its online learning potential, one of his jobs here was to help the UniSey develop its e-learning abilities, such as open and distance learning. 

“We are working very closely with the UniSey to help them build a platform for online learning and train staff on how to deliver courses online,” he said.

Environmental sciences course coordinator Elvina Henriette said the topics will include ecology, sustainable development, global environmental change, earth and atmosphere science. In their final year, students will be able to specialise in a certain domain in the field of environment. They can choose between fisheries and marine science, conservation, education for sustainability, and ocean and coastal management.

“Students will also be placed on work attachments since it is important for them to do practical work,” she said.
She added that because of the growing demand, the course will also be offered on a part-time basis and students will have to complete it in five years.

All those who took part in the workshop received certificates, including former UniSey vice-chancellor Dr Rolf Payet, who is now the Minister for Environment and Energy.

I. H.

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