18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers-Seychelles shares experience in use of mother tongue in teaching


PS Delcy (centre) said Seychelles shared its experience in the use its mother tongue as a medium of instruction in primary schools during the conference

A delegation headed by Education Minister Macsuzy Mondon took part in the August 29-31conference which discussed the theme, Education in the Commonwealth: bridging the gap as we accelerate towards achieving internationally agreed goals.

Talking to the press on Thursday, the principal secretary for education Merida Delcy – who along with other education specialists formed part of the delegation – said it was a very important conference where Seychelles had the opportunity to share its experience in the use its mother tongue as a medium of instruction in primary schools.

“The issue generated a lot of interest as ministers of education from different countries debated and shared their countries’ experiences,” Mrs Delcy said.

Seychelles has been using Creole to teach in state primary schools for some 30 years now.
Mrs Delcy said in her presentation she also highlighted the fact that at various stages the impact of the use of Creole was assessed, evaluated, adjusted and deemed necessary. As part of the way forward she noted that a more profound study would be required to decide on the further use of our mother tongue as a medium of instruction at other levels. She added also that she stressed on the fact that Seychelles places a lot of importance and emphasis on the early childhood development stage in primary education.

The highlight of the conference was when the different countries shared their experiences and explained the level of achievements they have reached in terms of access to and the quality of education they provide and this in relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for education.

“It was a time for each country to measure its achievements and success in relation to the MDGs for education which all countries need to meet by 2015”, Mrs Delcy added.

She noted that while most countries are still talking about their struggle to give their people access to education, Seychelles is above that stage and is aiming instead for better quality education, an issue being addressed in the national education reform process.

The Ministry of Education is aiming for better quality education for all Seychellois

“The conference also highlighted the difficulties being faced by various countries before they can use their mother tongue in primary schools. Many of them are made up of different tribes and therefore have different mother tongues,” Mrs Delcy pointed out.

She added that Mauritius which has just started introducing Creole in its education system was able to share its experience with Seychelles and also comment on our system.

The principal secretary of education said the Maldives also showed a keen interest in our system and had sought to partner with us with regard to our methodology in teaching in the mother tongue.

The conference, attended by delegations from 39 countries, of which 34 were led by ministers, included four parallel forums: Stakeholders, Teachers, Post-Secondary/Higher Education, and Youth.

The discussions of each of the four parallel forums gave specialised background knowledge for ministerial deliberations from wide-ranging and diverse perspectives.

Seychelles also took part in the Commonwealth Best Practice Award 2012 held in parallel with the conference and was among the 10 finalists.

The 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers will be held in the Bahamas 2015.