A new school year begins


23-January-2013

During the meeting, the Minister for Education, Macsuzy Mondon, made her first official address for 2013. This week’s Education Page brings you the complete address by Minister Mondon. 
 

‘We can do better.  We must do better.  Let us do better’


1.0 INTRODUCTION

On behalf of the Management of Education, I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR. 
As we step into the New Year, it is fitting that as education leaders we gather our thoughts together, ponder on our accomplishments and setbacks of the  preceding year and share with you the plans of our ministry for 2013.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to all education managers and workers at the ministry headquarters, managers of education institutions, teachers, instructor, school councils and PTAs, as well as all our partners for their invaluable contribution and support to 2012.

Our mission is education.  Irrespective if we work at headquarters level or in the educational institutions, we belong to the establishment called the Ministry of Education and have a role to play in the state education machinery of our country.  Our individual role is important; this is why we have been put in the position where we are and we have to fulfil our role to the best of our ability in order to push our education system forward.

2013 presents us with an unprecedented challenge because it is a year when we are consolidating a number of initiatives and completing the implementation of all the actions of the ongoing education reform agenda.  It is also a year that offers numerous opportunities for us to show what we can do and achieve as a strong front called the Ministry of Education.

Being a large ministry with a number of peripheral educational institutions, numerous projects, programmes or other initiatives, our task is daunting but definitely not insurmountable.  The key is for us all to work smarter with the resources that we have.

2.0 2013 NATIONAL THEME – ‘Striving For Our Seychelles’

In his wisdom, the President has decided to retain the theme ‘Striving For Our Seychelles’ during the year 2013.  We all need to muster our strength and pull together in order to propel our education system and our country to a higher level.
Those of you who have answered the call and are working hard, continue to do so; keep up the good work.  As for those who are still lagging behind, this is the year for you to get on board.

3.0 PROMOTION OF HEADTEACHERS

Every year, the Ministry of Education recognises and promotes leaders who have made remarkable contributions in their respective institutions.  We would like to acknowledge the good work being done by all our leaders despite the ever growing challenges that they face. 

We believe that hardworking leaders should be given their fair chances to contribute in the leadership of our institutions.

It is in this context that I wish to congratulate three middle managers who have been promoted to the post of head teacher at the beginning of this academic year.

Mrs Solange Balette is the new head teacher of Baie Lazare primary school. She replaces Mr Berard Esparon who has retired.

Ms Sabrina Agathine is the new head teacher of Plaisance primary school.  Ms Agathine replaces Mr Cyril Pillay who will join Schools Division.

Ms Jina Labiche is the new head teacher of Pointe Larue secondary school.  She replaces Mrs Nella Belmont who is the new head teacher of Ile Perseverance school.

In order to allow head teachers to consolidate or complete the work they have started, we have refrained from rotating head teachers this year.  This will enable them to ensure the successful implementation of their school’s Development Plan in order to bring about tangible improvement at all levels of their institution.
I congratulate you all and wish you well.


4.0 CURRICULUM/ASSESSMENT

The Centre for Curriculum Assessment and Teacher Support (CCATS) is now established.  During 2012, CCATS has worked closely with schools in terms of training, curriculum development and implementation.  In 2013, CCATS will further strengthen its working relationship with educational institutions.  New initiatives will be introduced in order to promote the various subject areas and bring about more stimulation to teaching and learning.  More emphasis will be placed on curriculum leadership.  Training for middle managers will be undertaken during the year to ensure that they are comfortable in leading the teachers within their responsibilities.

ICT is an area of the curriculum which needs to be given due consideration in both primary and secondary schools.  A new Curriculum Development Officer responsible for ICT will join CCATS this year.

I am pleased to announce that the National Curriculum Framework is being finalised and will be ready for implementation before the end of the first quarter of 2013.

4.1 Curriculum model (student grouping)

Over the years different secondary schools have been implementing various models of students grouping.  In 2013 we will adopt one model of student grouping starting in Secondary 1, the “Cross-Level Subject Setting”.

This model groups students with similar academic abilities together and provides them with appropriate teaching and learning materials so that their learning effectiveness can be further enhanced.

With the implementation of “Cross-Level Subject Setting”, appropriate curricula will be provided for students to suit their abilities.  Their learning will become more effective.  As a result, their interests and confidence in learning will be further enhanced.  By grouping students with similar abilities in the same class, teachers can focus their attention in teaching the appropriate curricula without spending too much effort on curriculum adaptation to meet the learning needs of all students.

Such an arrangement would expose students to all of the benefits of peer interaction and social development while allowing for the accelerated skills of some students to be honed in specific subjects.

4.2 Assessment

As part of the ongoing reform in the National Curriculum and Assessment Framework, the Ministry of Education will be introducing the following in 2013:

1. National assessments at the end of S5 for those students deemed not able to sit the IGCSE/DELF, aimed at meeting the diverse needs of all learners in the system.  This will result in these S5 students exiting with a certificate that will demonstrate their achievements at their particular level.

2. S4 students who are eligible to sit IGCSE English as a Second Language and DELF Scolaire Niveau B1 examinations will be given the opportunity to do so.  The selection of students for these examinations will be made at school level as per the ministry’s guidelines and procedures, of which details will be communicated in due course.

5.0 INCLUSIVE EDUCATION

In line with the policy on inclusion, the Ministry is re-introducing the Special Needs Education Unit which will coordinate all activities and provide the necessary guidance, support and training on special needs.  The unit will be headed by Mrs Marie-May Leon.  In February this year we will be conducting an assessment of our Special Education Needs in Seychelles.  This will be done in partnership with Lampton School, a comprehensive inclusive school in the UK.

6.0 EDUCATION REFORM

6.1 Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

Provisions have been made for all TVET classrooms to be renovated to ensure that the students are studying in a conducive environment.  Phase 1 of the project has been completed and the programme will enter its third year of implementation in 2013.  Provision is being made to expand and extend TVET to more students.  For this to happen successfully we need the support of industries and the private sector to place students on attachment for them to gain work based experience.

6.2 Citizenship Education

Citizenship Education which was introduced last year in primary and secondary schools will this year be introduced in all post secondary institutions.  As our President stated in his message to the Nation for 2013, “The new Seychelles we are creating together requires a continuous effort by all its children”.  Being the Ministry of Education, we have a leading role in the endeavour to “inculcate in our children the true sense and virtue of patriotism, while at the same time we prepare them to become global citizens”.

6.3 Pastoral Care

Reform in Pastoral Care will be taken to the next level in 2013.  Schools that are slow in implementing the Pastoral Care Policy will need to shape up.  They have to ensure that all the necessary structures are in place by the end of the first quarter.  I am happy to note that we have observed some positive changes in the behaviour of our students in certain schools.
The Social Renaissance programme calls for a special effort from all of us educators to instill in our children and students strong values that will bring about a positive shift in their behaviour.  Social Renaissance starts from within each and everyone of us.

6.4  Teacher appraisal

Our Ministry remains committed to the professional development of the teaching staff in order to improve the teaching-learning process and to raise the standard of achievement for all students.  To do this, a new Teacher Appraisal Policy will be implemented at all levels of the school system.

6.5 Teachers’ Council

The Ministry is finalising work on the Teachers’ Council, which will be implemented this year.  The establishment of a Teachers’ Council is a provision in the Education Act, 2004.  The Council will maintain a register of all teachers and assist in their professional development.

6.6  Tertiary Education Commission

The Tertiary Education Commission was established in mid 2012 and has started a series of sensitisation sessions for its Board members and stakeholders.  Work has also started on the TEC 3-year Strategic Plan.  TEC personnel were also engaged in a number of capacity building initiatives.
For 2013 TEC’s major engagement will focus on the following:

• Completion of the 3-year Strategic Plan
• Staffing of the Secretariat
• Sensitisation of stakeholders
• Development of the necessary policies and guidelines to facilitate implementation of its mandate.

6.7 Education Medium Term Strategy 2013-2017

This year, the ministry will be developing its Medium Term Strategy 2013-2017.  The project is receiving technical assistance from the International Institute of Education Planning (IIEP) and financial assistance from the European Union.

7.0 PROJECTS/INITIATIVES

7.1 School Award System

The School Award System will be launched this year following intensive work during 2012.  The aim of the award system is to support and sustain Education Reform initiatives already implemented in the schools.  Schools are expected to become more pro-active, innovative and productive institutions. 

7.2 Celebrating Teachers Project

Our endeavour to promote teachers and the teaching profession will continue in 2013 under the “Celebrating Teachers” Project.  As testimony of the value and importance attributed to the Teaching Profession, the Teachers’ Award Ceremony 2012 took place at State House under the patronage of the President of the Republic.  The government will continue to hold the teaching profession in such high esteem.

A calendar featuring some special moments during Teachers’ Week 2012 has been produced under the theme “Celebrating Teachers”.
A series of media campaign including promotional spots will be aired on TV during the year with the aim of raising the status of teachers and enticing the youth to join the profession.

7.3 Infrastructure

The Ministry of Education remains committed in ensuring that teaching and learning is delivered in the best possible conditions.  A number of projects and maintenance work were carried out in 2012. 

7.4 Projects and Maintenance Work 2012

(i) Glacis primary school and crèche

For reasons beyond our control the construction of Glacis School did not start last year. Work has started on demolition of existing structures and construction of the new school will start in the first quarter of 2013.

(ii) Cascade school

The first stage of the Cascade School project has been completed.  Work will continue in 2013.

(iii) Beau Vallon and Pointe Larue secondary

Maintenance work  started on BVS and PLS schools is in progress.

(iv) Mont Fleuri primary

Students of Mont Fleuri Primary School moved into the new block in February 2012 and the school is now fully completed.

Major maintenance work was carried in the following schools in 2012: English River, Belonie and Mont Fleuri secondary, Baie Lazare, Au Cap Primary, Bel Ombre Primary, Anse Royale Primary and Grand Anse Mahe Primary and Labourdonnais Crèche.

Remedial works were also carried out in a number of other schools.

(vi) Relocation of NIHSS and MTC

NIHSS students moved to their new premises at North East Point in April 2012 and the new MTC opened its doors to the students in February 2012.

8.0 NEW PROJECTS /MAJOR WORKS 2013

8.1 Construction of new primary schools

The new Ile Perseverance will open its doors to its first group of students on Monday January 28. This will give the new management ample time to prepare the school to receive its new students.

8.2 Ile Perseverance secondary school
The architectural and engineering drawings are in their final stages.

8.3 Renovation, upgrading and expansion of primary schools

Renovation and upgrading work will be undertaken on the following primary schools:  Anse Boileau, Baie Lazare, Grand Anse Praslin, Anse Royale, Grand Anse Mahe, and La Digue schools.  Upgrading work will also be carried out in computer laboratories in all primary schools.


8.4 Renovation, upgrading and expansion of secondary schools

Upgrading work will be undertaken on the following secondary schools in 2013:
Praslin secondary school, English River, Belonie, Plaisance, Anse Boileau and La Digue. 
Maintenance work on Pointe Larue and Beau Vallon secondary schools will continue this year.

A maintenance project is being undertaken this year on three schools namely:  Mont Fleuri primary, Mont Fleuri secondary and Baie Lazare school.  A contractor will be allocated to the school to undertake maintenance work as and when required.  This is a pilot project being undertaken jointly by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance.

8.5 School of Advanced Level Studies

Renovation on the School of Advance level studies will start this year.

8.6 Fencing and walling work

Funds have been secured for the walling project at Mont Fleuri secondary school.  The necessary outsourcing formalities will start soon.  Work will continue to complete the walling project at Pointe Larue and Beau Vallon secondary schools.

9.0 FURNITURE

In order to ensure the durability of furniture, a project to furnish all secondary schools started in 2012. Six (6) schools received their chairs in 2012 and this year more chairs will be purchased for the remaining four (4) secondary schools.  A project for replacement of student desks will also be implemented this year.  I call on all heads to ensure proper management of the resources in their institutions.

10.0 FOCUS ON SERVICE STANDARDS

Our ministry must become smarter and more efficient in the services that we offer.  Service delivery at all levels, from the ministry headquarters to lesson delivery in the classrooms and training rooms, has to improve.  Special attention should be given to the following:

• Service Delivery and High Standards of Performance at all levels of the education system
• Devolution of Responsibility with a strong emphasis on efficiency and accountability
• Institutional Mechanisms to improve monitoring teaching and learning.
•  Communication at all levels of the system.
• Accountability for Results by one and all

We will continue to emphasise on accountability.  A lot of investment is made in education and our budget for 2013 is R413 million.  75% of this amount is for personal emolument.  We need to get better returns of the investment that is being made in the education system.

11.0 TEACHERS’ PLEDGE

Our teachers have a special role in our mission and they remain at the forefront of the endeavour to mould the future of our nation.  Our teachers have to be genuinely passionate and enthusiastic about their profession.  It is not enough to teach the subject or to teach the syllabus, for the art of teaching is in stimulating children and youth, and in showing them what they are capable of.  They need to direct your passion and enthusiasm on the worthy path of inspiration for our students to be the best that they can be.  Teachers, let us remember and live our pledge.

12.0 TEACHER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION

Teacher recruitment remains a challenge for our ministry and every effort is being made to ensure that our educational institutions are fully staffed in 2013.

The fact that we have not had a cohort of pre-service graduates entering the system this year has not helped the situation.  We also need to continue training our in-service teachers.  Apart from recruiting both locally and overseas, our ministry has had to resort to other strategies to ensure that all our classes are covered.  Newly recruited teachers from overseas for secondary and post secondary institutions are expected in February.

In a small system like ours, teacher retention is everyone’s business.  Teachers work in schools and other educational institutions and their decision to remain or to leave the profession has a lot to do with their experience in their immediate work environment, rather than purely in relation to the Teachers Scheme of Service.  The teacher is also the first to promote the teaching profession. Our ministry remains committed to the professional development of the teaching staff in order to improve the teaching-learning process and to raise the standard of achievement for all students. We will be having our own teacher training institution soon.

13.0 LEADERSHIP

Those in leadership positions have a duty to motivate others and lead by example.  However, leadership is not reserved for those in positions at the top of organisations.  Everyone should strive to be a good leader in their own field and in their own right.  All our staff has the potential to inspire others, to make a difference in someone’s life.  We can start by considering how our words and actions affect other people.  Let us try hard to be positive, to inspire people and not to spread frustration and discouragement. This should be one of our aims in education for 2013. Let us all be educators and strive to make a positive difference in someone’s life.


14.0 PERSONAL TARGETS

Individually, let us all identify one personal target, one single area, in which we will do our utmost to improve in 2013.  Then let us do what it takes to succeed, so that come the end of 2013, the Ministry of Education would have improved in as many areas as the total number of its staff.

15.0  MINISTER’S CALL

I call on each and every member of staff to join me in making our ministry shine in 2013.  If we do not make a positive change for ourselves, for our children and for our country, who will?  To borrow from John F. Kennedy: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”  So, let us start the year with a positive change from within so that we can impact positively on our work environment and the people within it.
We can all do better in 2013 and the time to start is right now!

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