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Renaissance project all set to roll in public schools | 05 February 2020

Renaissance project all set to roll in public schools

Mr Pillay observing the pupils at Bel Ombre school accessing different types of books on their tablets (Photo: Louis Toussaint)

After the signing of a three-year partnership between Renaissance and the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development of Seychelles, the Renaissance project is all set to roll in public schools around Seychelles as from May.

The aim of this project is to improve student attainment for reading in English in all of the country’s primary schools.

This expanded implementation follows a successful pilot in five schools last year. This was announced by the director general for primary schools and initiator of this project, Cyril Pillay, in a press meet at the Bel Ombre primary school yesterday.

“During the pilot project in five schools last year, (Bel Ombre, Takamaka, Anse Etoile, Plaisance and Baie Ste Anne Praslin), the ministry saw significant increases in reading among 500 primary school students and some 8000 books read. The parents have been supporting this project and the teachers also saw an improvement in the reading and writing ability of the children. The Ministry of Education, with the approval of the government, decided to have a three-year partnership with Renaissance Learning. Now every child, through Star Assessments, Accelerated Reader, and myON products, will have access to books written in English and give teachers the tools, resources, and support to embed and teach literacy across the curriculum,” noted Mr Pillay.

By increasing access to high-quality, engaging texts, this programme is designed to improve the culture of reading, as reading for pleasure is associated with many additional benefits beyond academic achievement. As part of this partnership, Renaissance,a global leader in pre-K-12 education technology, will provide in-country support and training throughout the duration of the programme to build local knowledge and confidence.

How does this virtual programme work? Basically every child has access to a tablet/computer and must have access to internet. They have a password to access the programme and can download 20 books to read at home. Currently the Ministry of Education is doing an audit regarding their devices and internet access and will work with DICT to enable internet access in all schools. In March the Renaissance team will come to Seychelles to do the star assessments and in May everything will be rolled out.

“Starting mid-February we are trying to make myOn app accessible to all pupils. The Ministry of Education is paying only for the subscription which comes to R1 million per year. But the Renaissance team come to Seychelles at their own expenses,” Mr Pillay said.

He noted that some schools have some tablets and laptops but they do not have it for every child. With this project comes an opportunity where parents and private sector can work together to buy a tablet for their child.

To recall, the contract for the implementation of the programme in all schools was signed by the Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Jeanne Simeon, on behalf of the government of Seychelles and the Renaissance International Partnership director vice-president Peter Schneider earlier this year. The significance of the partnership was demonstrated by the signing of the contract being done at the celebrated venue of Lancaster House in London, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Ministers of Education annual event, under the auspices of the Education World Forum.

During a visit to the Bel Ombre primary school yesterday, the media were able to see the children in action with their tablets and how easy it was for them to access the different types of books.

 

Vidya Gappy

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