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53 students will proceed  for overseas studies in 2021   | 20 June 2020

53 students will proceed  for overseas studies in 2021   

The press conference: (l to r) Dr Louange, Dr Barallon, Minister Simeon, Ms Lauricourt, Mr Joubert and Mr Belle (Photo: Jude Morel)

  • Students pursuing further studies to continue

 

Fifty-three (53) students who completed their studies in 2019 and met the criteria for a government of Seychelles scholarship will not be taking up their studies in 2020, but will instead proceed in 2021, on account of the global COVID-19 pandemic and budgetary constraints.

The decision was yesterday announced by Minister for Education and Human Resource Development Jeanne Simeon in a press conference at the ICCS in which she was joined by principal secretary for tertiary education and human resource development Linda Barallon, chief executive of the Agency for National Human Resource Development (ANHRD) Nadia Lauricourt, director of Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) Flavien Joubert, director general for protocol, consular and maritime affairs of the department of foreign affairs Jacques Belle and director general for the Public Health Authority (PHA) Meggy Louange.

Minister Simeon noted that the 53 pre-service students who were expecting to proceed on training in 2020 – those who scored 18 points and above, the five best performers from each professional centre and a President’s Cup awardee, will defer to 2021. The pre-service students are on attachment in secondary schools and have received an official letter to inform their universities of the deferment to 2021, following a meeting held on Friday June 12 by ANHRD, in which the students proposed that ANHRD issue letters of deferment to students who already had offers from respective universities, to inform the students of the government’s decision in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students who had completed their studies in 2018 and deferred further studies by one year, and who were therefore expecting to pursue training this year are also advised by Minister Simeon to contact ANHRD to obtain a copy of the letter to remit to the respective university for which they applied.

There are currently 484 students in total on overseas training and 343 are still continuing their studies while 44 have completed their respective courses, and are waiting to be repatriated to Seychelles, as per availability of flights.

“The students’ return to the country depends on availability of flights, and this is a decision which is being taken jointly by the Public Health Authority (PHA), foreign affairs department and ANHRD. For the time being, they are meeting to do all the necessary and see how to arrange, as surely, they cannot all travel back on the same flight,” Minister Simeon clarified.

According to statistics provided by the agency, the majority of students – 131 – are in Malaysia, 78 are studying in the United Kingdom and 20 in Slovakia, while others are dispersed.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerned agencies have advised that students pursuing studies abroad get into contact with consulates, and efforts have been made by ANHRD to keep in contact with the students through messaging app Whatsapp.

Mr Belle affirmed that the department of foreign affairs has a list and details of the various students, also calling on others to contact the embassies if they have not done so.

“Foreign affairs through its embassies is providing consular assistance to the students, in fact all Seychellois who are stranded, including students covered by ANHRD and those who are self-financed, and those who are destitute, medical patients, all categories in fact. Of course we are satisfied with our ambassadors, because they play an important role, and all our consulates, we have 105 around the world, and we are quite satisfied with the interaction between them and the students. It is important to inform all others who have not come forward and made themselves known to approach the respective embassy,” explained Mr Belle.

Furthermore, the government has decided that no new pre-service and in-service students will be sent on overseas scholarships for 2020. All students who qualify for a government of Seychelles scholarship will be able to proceed on overseas training in 2021.

Former A-Level students will be assisted to take up attachment in any sector and will be able to continue to receive the monthly allowance. Since they will not be proceeding for further studies in 2020, the department of employment, in partnership with ANHRD will be seeking attachment for them in industries, preferably in their areas of further study.

With regards to funding and upkeep, priority remains for students who are already on scholarships and those who have completed their studies but have been stranded in the country in which they were undertaking their studies.

All students who are carrying on their studies in the second year and above will have the opportunity to continue with their studies in 2020. Asked about students whose courses have migrated online while universities remain closed in line with public health emergency measures in different countries, and others whose studies have been postponed to early next year, both Ms Lauricourt and Dr Louange advised that students stay put, on account of the uncertainty as to whether they will be able to travel back once their courses are to resume, and the risk of being exposed to the virus trough travel is still high.

Pre-service and in-service students opting to pursue their studies at the University of Seychelles (UniSey) and The Guy Morel Institute (TGMI) will be awarded a government of Seychelles scholarship in 2020. In-service students already on scholarships locally will also continue their studies.

Pre-service and in-service students opting to pursue their entire studies via online mode will be able to do so in 2020, as long as there is not a travel component to it.

There will be no assistance for part-finance scholarships in 2020.

 

Laura Pillay

 

 

 

 

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