21 students graduate in Seychelles Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture graduation ceremony | 11 July 2020
Sharon Bonne clinches President’s Cup
Nineteen-year-old Sharon Bonne has clinched the outstanding award or the President’s Cup as well as come out as the overall best performer in the Certificate in Ornamental Horticulture & Landscaping course she followed at the Seychelles Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture.
Ms Bonne together with 20 other students received their awards and certificates during the Seychelles Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture (SIAH) graduation ceremony yesterday afternoon at Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (Site) auditorium.
Vice-President Vincent Meriton, Education and Human Resource Development Minister Jeanne Simeon, parents and other guests attended the ceremony which was scaled down because of the COVID-19 situation.
Vice-President Meriton presented Ms Bonne with the President’s Cup and a laptop.
Ms Bonne noted that her one-and-a-half-year journey was not at all easy. “Since I left secondary school, SIAH was my first choice and I was focused on completing my studies. Now I will go forward and continue to do my studies at advanced certificate and then diploma. You have to be disciplined in all aspects to succeed and I am set for success,” shared the young graduate.
The other outstanding performers are: Lucina Charles (overall best performer in Advanced Certificate in General Agriculture), Zadane Ally (overall best performer in Certificate in General Agriculture – Apprenticeship), Joshua Rapide (SNYC Award) and Ronn Mondon (SIAH best effort award).
SIAH director Mary-Anne Marie congratulated all the graduates and noted that 18 students completed the apprenticeship programme and three completed the Advanced Certificate programme.
“Last year, we also had 12 mature learners from the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) who followed the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme of which nine qualified for the Certificate programme and three for the Advanced Certificate programme. The assessment was conducted in December 2019 and I am pleased to announce a pass rate of 100% for this cohort,” said Ms Marie.
She noted that SIAH board took a decision in 2019 to enroll all applicants despite the fact that some of them did not meet the entry requirements, and they were taken on a conditional offer.
“The aim was to meet the human resource needs of the national agriculture and horticulture sectors, and it has paid off,” she said.
Ms Marie also highlighted that the 2019 cohort had a pass rate of 93% and retention rate of 97%. She explained that the institute embarked on an aggressive marketing strategy in 2017-2018 by organising special talks with secondary four (S4) students in all secondary schools and the learners’ intakes for 2019 and 2020 have doubled compared to previous years.
“It is with pride that I confirm that all four programmes on offer at the SIAH are accredited by the Seychelles Qualifications Authority (SQA), and the two Advanced Certificate programmes are due for review in September this year. Our accomplishments in 2019 also include the review of the Diploma in Sustainable Agriculture approved by the Commonwealth of Learning for small states by contextualising it,” Ms Marie highlighted.
Other accomplishments include the acquisition of a mini-van to facilitate practical training and field visits, reinforcement of partnerships between SIAH and the farming community, other stakeholders and the learners of the institute took part with a biogas and coconut jam initiatives in an entrepreneurship competition where the teams won first and third prizes respectively.
Ms Marie also shared the current and future plans of SIAH which include the temporary relocation to the Grand Anse Mahé primary school for the theoretical aspects of education and training, offering of a Diploma in Sustainable Agriculture course in 2021 which will consist of two exit points. Learners exiting year one will receive a Certificate, those exiting in the second year will receive an Advanced Certificate and those in the final year will specialise in Agriculture or Horticulture. SIAH is also in the process of developing its strategic plan.
Talking to Seychelles NATION after the ceremony, Minister Simeon noted that agriculture is one of the pillars of our economy.
“More than ever agriculture is becoming a crucial part of our lives and this is being reflected by the energy placed in SIAH. There are more initiatives to recruit more students in SIAH and for the youth to come onboard to help in developing our economy,” said Minister Simeon.
It was in the new normal setting that the graduation ceremony for the 2018-2019 cohort was held and there was limited mingling after the ceremony. Each graduate went home with their certificate/prizes in hand to celebrate.