Education – A shared responsibility | 31 December 2019
Year 2019 has been a year full of challenges for the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. It encountered major infrastructural issues such as La Rosière school, Perseverance crèche among others but still provided quick solutions for the smooth running of the schools. During the year, Seychelles NATION published some 250 articles related to all aspects of education: crèches, primary, secondary, post-secondary, SALS, UniSey, training etc. We also saw Seychelles being worldly recognised by Unesco in the domain of early childhood and many young Seychellois graduated from various national and international institutions. The Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Jeanne Simeon, also had meetings with school councils and visited the primary and secondary institutions. During the year, the ministry promoted thoroughly the concept of ‘Education- A Shared Responsibility’.
On April 4, Cabinet considered for the building of SIAD (Seychelles Institute of Art & Design) and SBSA (Seychelles Business Studies Academy) together at Anse Royale by the Chinese Government, and support the most viable option for the relocation of SIAD to facilitate the construction of the new building for those two institutions.
On May 3, Cabinet approved for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Seychelles Institute of Technology (SIT) of the Ministry of Education & Human Resource Development and the Indian Ocean Tuna Company. The MoU establishes the framework under which SIT students can gain work experience at the company. The collaboration between the SIT and IOT contributes to the provision of skilled graduates for employment and the localisation of posts in the company.
On May 30, Cabinet approved for the signing of two MoUs involving training institutions of Seychelles. The first of these is between the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) and the Lycée des Métiers de L’Hôtellerie et de la Restauration, La Renaissance in Reunion. The second MoU was between the SBSA and Air Seychelles Ltd.
On July 25, Cabinet approved the Education (Terms and Conditions of Contractual Obligations) Regulations, 2019 to introduce a social contract between parents, teachers and schools which would set the responsibilities of each party and hold them each accountable.
On September 4, Cabinet endorsed the proposal for NIHSS to offer nursing and social work training at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in partnership with the Chamberlain University.
On October 2 Cabinet approved for the signing of the Third Three-Year Memorandum of Agreement between the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and the Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College (Cinec) for the management of the Seychelles Maritime Academy. They also approved for Seychelles to ratify the revised Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Degrees and Other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in African States.
Recruitment of teachers from Zambia
In 2019, the Ministry of Education recruited some 75 teachers from Zambia. The first batch consisted of 43 teachers and the second cohort of Zambian teachers came in August following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Republic of Seychelles and the Republic of Zambia to address an acute teacher shortage. Under the new six-year agreement, 32 teachers from Zambia, 23 for primary and nine for secondary schools were relocated in Seychelles ahead of the third school term in September. The other teachers are already teaching in public schools on Seychelles’ three main islands – Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
99 teacher assistants receive certificate from SEED Institute based in Singapore
Ninety-nine (99) teacher assistants at early childhood level have received their certificate after attending a professional certificate training programme delivered by the SEED Institute based in Singapore. The introduction of this new cadre was aimed at strengthening early childhood education by laying firm foundation in numeracy and literacy for all pupils thus ensuring equitable access to learning for all pupils. This helped to provide much needed assistance to early childhood teachers to ensure the effective catering for the needs of all children entrusted in their care.
Regional public meetings
Various regional public meetings were organised by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource under the theme: ‘Education- A Shared Responsibility’. The main objectives of the meetings were to provide a platform for consultation with parents and other stakeholders on challenges in education and discuss about potential strategies for addressing these challenges; discuss about the students’ performance; provide feedback on issues raised in the previous meetings and present new initiatives for 2020. Though this initiative was commendable, attendance was relatively poor.
Closure of La Rosière school for safety reasons and relocation of students and staff
After conducting various assessments at La Rosière school by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency and the Planning Authority, a decision was taken by the ministry to close La Rosière school due to structural defects and to relocate students and staff.
All La Rosière students and staff were relocated to Belonie secondary school and the Belonie students and staff to the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation (Nisti), situated at Bel Ombre.
Start of term went on well and construction is ongoing at La Rosière school.
Early Childhood: Seychelles recognised as a Global Category II under Unesco
On November 15, 2019, the member States of the Unesco unanimously agreed to bestow this prestigious accolade upon on the Republic of Seychelles through the Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD). The accreditation as a Global Category II Centre for Early Childhood Care and Education under the auspices of Unesco will allow the Institute to provide leadership, coordination and strategic direction on a regional and international level. As a Global Category II Centre, the Institute is to provide global intellectual and operational leadership, as well as capacity building for Unesco member States to advance the development of ECCE. In executing its mandate, the Institute will among others, lead global intellectual dialogue on the importance of ECCE, provide operational guidance, lead policy dialogue and exchanges on ECCE, as well as promote the strengthening of ECCE systems across Unesco member States. Through this agreement, the Unesco will support the Institute with technical assistance as needed by providing the assistance of its experts in ECCE and engaging in staff exchanges and working on joint activities and projects.
Renaissance Training Programme
The Renaissance training programme was launched in Seychelles with the aim of improving literacy in primary schools through e-books and other related activities. Its objectives are to engage pupils to develop a love for reading and build their vocabulary through the access of a variety of books online based on their choice, interest and target reading level; help pupils develop their reading ability through a computer adaptive system equipped with assessment-driven instruction and practice and to assist teachers in using data to unlock the potential of each pupil by making informed decisions about the goals to set, interventions needed and what classroom practice to use. Already many students are able to have access to the online books and regenerate an interest in reading.
UniSey graduation ceremony
Ninety-seven students successfully completed their undergraduate and post-graduate study programmes with the University of Seychelles (UniSey) during the year 2019. The graduation ceremony, held at the UniSey auditorium, Anse Royale, was attended by President Danny Faure.
The same day a total of 149 students graduated with their certificates and diplomas from the UniSey, after having successfully completed their respective programmes of study at The Guy Morel Institute (TGMI). The graduates were presented with their certificates by vice-chancellor of UniSey, Dr Justin Valentin, in the presence of Designated Minister Macsuzy Mondon, ministers, members of the UniSey Council and deans as well as their relatives.
Role of private schools
The private schools in Seychelles such as International School, Independent School, l’Ecole Française des Seychelles, Trotters Stop are also contributing in the education of our children. As usual the students are having excellent results in national exams and more eco-friendly activities are being organised.
Compiled by Vidya Gappy