Assembly Question Time-New overseas recruitment drive as 86 teachers leave profession in two years


A teacher conducting a class alfresco. Many teachers have left the profession for seemingly ‘greener pastures’

The minister responsible for Education Macsuzy Mondon gave this information while answering a question by elected member for Anse Boileau Bernard Arnephy in the National Assembly yesterday.

Himself a former teacher, Mr Arnephy asked the minister how many teachers at all levels the ministry had lost since the introduction of the new scheme of service in 2010 and if the ministry has any plans to revise the scheme to make it more competitive to encourage teachers to rejoin the profession.

Minister Mondon pointed out that statistics for 2010 show that 21 primary, 21 secondary and nine post-secondary teachers left and last year eight more from primary, 16 from secondary and 11 from post-secondary left the profession.

As for the possibility of revising the teacher scheme of service, the minister said this is done every five years but in view of the exercise being carried out with regard to recruitment and putting in place strategies to retain teachers, this will be considered if the need arises to make an anticipated request to the government.

She noted that in line with that, the Ministry of Education is also working on other mechanisms to help encourage teachers and these include the celebrating teachers’ project, a new teacher appraisal which will come into force next year and better reward and recognition for teachers.

In a related question, elected member for Cascade Charles de Commarmond wanted to know if there was a large disparity in the salaries of Seychellois and foreign teachers and if the Ministry of Education is planning to recruit more foreign teachers to fill the vacant posts left by Seychellois teachers.

The minister noted that there is not a big disparity in the salaries and with regard to qualifications the same criteria applies. But she pointed out that the salaries of Seychellois teachers are far better in various cases but she added that the ministry has to provide accommodation to foreign teachers.

She noted that recently the ministry has had to revise the supplementation allowance for foreign teachers as a way of enticing them to come and work here as this process is getting more and more difficult.

She also noted that this month the ministry will start an overseas recruitment exercise to fill in vacant posts in preparation for the new term in January 2013.  

In answer to a related question by elected member for Port Glaud Sultane Jacqueline – also a former teacher – who sought details from the minister on how the new scheme is helping to motivate teachers and help them stay in the profession, Mrs Mondon said even though a lot of efforts have been put in revising the scheme aimed at keeping teachers in the education system, all indication shows that this remains a big challenge as there are other determining factors involved.

These include the fact that teaching is considered a stressful profession, pupils’ behaviour and attitude problems, lack of cooperation from parents and better job opportunity offers with attractive packages especially from the private sector. 

Minister Mondon also gave details about the redevelopment project involving schools in the town area.

This was in reply to a question by elected member for English River Kevin Vidot. He had asked the minister about her ministry’s plan to redevelop and modernise the English River secondary school to include the necessary facilities to ensure students and teachers have an environment conducive to learning.

Minister Mondon said renovation works on the school has already started and will continue until next year as part of a project to redevelop schools in the town area.

In a supplementary question, Mr Vidot wanted the minister to reassure the Assembly that the school’s environment and the number of classrooms can support and meet the needs of the number of students and if there are enough teachers at the school.

Minister Mondon pointed out that the school tries to make the most of the facilities available even though there are instances when the ministry encounters certain difficulties in view of the large number of pupils.

But Minister Mondon noted that these do not have a negative impact on the learning process. She added that the school does not presently have a teacher shortage. 

The minister also informed the Assembly that the redevelopment plan includes renovation works as well as new constructions on the schools’ premises.

The minister informed the Assembly that all preliminary works on the redevelopment plan are underway and the next phase will be to meet authorities of all the districts with schools in the town area and also to submit the plan for government approval before work is carried out.