New unit focuses on pupils’ special needs


Mr Bartram and Ms Francourt interacting with students at the school yesterday

In line with what President James Michel said in his state-of-the-nation address 2013, the Ministry of Education has reintroduced Special Needs Education (SEN) thus forming the unit.

David Bartram, an international consultant from UK’s Lampton School, has been visiting some schools on Mahé and Praslin to advise the government on strategic SEN policy development and the best practices based on his experience.

Yesterday he visited Beau Vallon secondary school in the company of principal secretary (PS) Merida Delcy, visiting Seychellois education and skills development consultant Patricia Francourt and Marie-May Leon from the ministry’s headquarters.

Together with the school’s deputy head teacher Davis Figaro, they talked to students as part of the consultant’s plan to gauge our situation.

The PS told Nation the unit was there before but was somehow phased out although learners’ special needs continued to be catered for but at school level where the trained coordinators were based.

“We are re-introducing our inclusive education policy and we already have our first draft, but before we can finalise it we need to have a thorough assessment of our environment so when we implement it we really bring about the desired changes and progress,” she said.

He said Mr Bartram is doing an audit of the various aspects of our set up to see our needs.

The team in talks within Beau Vallon school. From left to right are: Mr  Bartram, Ms Francourt, PS Delcy and Ms Leon

She described special needs education as one which takes care of all the students and pupils, for example those who have disabilities, those who are exceptionally bright and those who are not.

Mrs Delcy said the project is being introduced in conjunction with UK’s Lampton School “which is an exclusive school” adding there will be an exchange of experts between the UK and Seychelles in an intensive manner where our teachers are expected to learn from their British counterparts.

In his address, Mr Michel said the government will continue to invest at all levels in education to ensure there is sustainable progress, better results, better performances by students, a high-level of education that meets the expectations and needs of our people in this new century. “We are aiming far. Our ambition – as I’ve said before – is to have in future at least one university graduate in each family. Our ambition is to have young professionals at all levels who are able to lead and draw benefits from technological, economic and social progress. But this will not happen on its own. We have to work hard to make it happen. This is the reason why we have to continually review our education system so that it meets our expectations, and conforms to new needs and to the development of society.”

He said we are giving particular attention to students with special needs and the ministry will re-introduce the special needs education unit which will coordinate activities, and offer guidance, support and training in relation to students with special needs.

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