Unesco to help in revising national education policy






Key areas in which Unesco can provide assistance to rectify the national education system which has been declining, in some parts, over the past few years was at the centre of discussions yesterday.

The discussions took place between a visiting high-level Unesco delegation and the ministerial team of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.

The discussions took place at the ministry’s headquarters in the presence of Minister Joel Morgan, principal secretary for Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Education Odile de Comarmond, principal secretary for Higher Education and Human Resource Development Linda Barallon and other high officials of the ministry.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) delegation is being led by the director of the Unesco’s regional office for Eastern Africa, Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta. The delegation also includes four experts in the field of education, policy-making, capacity building and statistics.

Their meeting yesterday focused on the key areas in which Unesco can provide assistance to the ministry in order to rectify the national education system which has been declining, in some parts, over the past few years.

These specific targeted areas included the revision of the Seychelles Education Policy which dates back to 2000, teacher management and capacity building, and the development of a five-year education medium term strategy.

In his opening remarks, Minister Morgan provided the visiting team with a well-rounded summary of the challenges currently facing the public education system in the country and stated that Unesco’s help is crucial to charting a new direction.

“Seychelles is at a time of very rapid development and it is also at a time when many pressures are being put on the education system,” Minister Morgan said.

He explained the need to transform the way students are taught because the traditional manner of teaching is proving to be ineffective.

The year on year decline in IGCSE grades, the systemic challenge of students not meeting schools’ requirements, the need to prioritise early childhood education were some of the points the minister brought to the attention of the experts.

Minister Morgan also added that Seychelles is looking into putting emphasis on its Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) such as through the development of a TVET policy and the construction of a technical school.

On her part Mrs Ndong-Jatta, highlighted that problems facing Seychelles’ educational system is not unique but in fact a global issue.

She professed her support with the country’s efforts to bring early childhood education and TVET into greater prominence.

In regards to early childhood care Mrs Ndong-Jatta said it is good that you have recognised the importance of early childhood development because it has been scientifically proven that much of what we want to instill in our children should start between the first eight years of their lives.”

“If you prioritise their education at a young age, you are already responding to the learning challenges. Whereas when we wait until they are older, we are just doing remedial work,” she added.

On the topic of TVET in schools, Mrs Ndong-Jatta advised the ministry to revise its policies in favour of an inclusive policy which will take into account the academic curriculum as well as TVET programmes, rather than implement a TVET policy which will be separate from the education policy.

“The implementation of TVET highlights the fact that it is no longer about the duration in school as we used to have it but a flexible entry and exit. Seychelles has built the foundation which allows for the interaction between the school system and the world of work, where young people can do internships and where the focus is on life-long learning,” Mrs Ndong-Jatta concluded.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development is looking beyond this first Unesco mission and is hoping to receive other targeted delegations to help with the serious challenges facing education, and by proxy, the country’s future human resource capacity.





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