New policy focuses on effective teaching | 13 August 2020
By Elsie Pointe
A new education policy, which will be implemented from January 2021, has been developed by the Ministry of Education to address teacher management and development in public schools.
Recently approved by the cabinet of ministers, the Teacher Management and Development (TMD) policy seeks to improve the quality of learning outcomes and make the educational system more efficient and performing. It is expected to be reviewed every five years.
The Ministry of Education developed the TMD policy in 2019 with the technical assistance of Unesco’s International Institute for Capacity Building for Africa (IICBA).
This policy provides a framework for the standardisation of the teaching profession in terms of recruitment, deployment, development and retention of teachers.
The TMD policy will focus on five thematics: teacher management and professional status, educational leadership and management, teacher empowerment, teacher professionalisation, and teacher development.
Monitoring and evaluation of this policy will be carried out by the ministry’s TMD section headed by chief TMD officer, Alex Souffe.
“The immediate impact of the policy will come in the way of better coordination, management and development of teachers with the long-term impact being established standards, better quality of teachers in terms of academic qualifications, methodological and pedagogical competences,” said Mr Souffe.
“In turn, we are anticipating for better learning outcomes where we can see better performances from our learners.”
The public education system has observed gradual decline with a great number of students performing far below the national target of at least 50% grade C.
There is also the mounting problem of ineffective teaching and the absence of a national teacher regulation for both government and private sector.
According to recent statistics, there are approximately 1400 teachers in primary and secondary schools.
Meanwhile a total of 334 foreign teachers are serving in primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions.
Aside from retirement, between 2012 and 2016, 169 trained primary (159) and 145 secondary teachers left the profession to join other sectors of the economy. Despite recommendations on causes of high attrition rates among teachers in several reports, efforts to retain teachers were apparently futile. The most prominent causes of high attrition rates were linked to induction, career path, rewards and remuneration.
Among other challenges are the under professionalisation, inadequacy of standards and the system’s ability to recruit the required number of quality and committed people to join and retain them in the teaching profession.
The difficulty to manage teachers and to ensure effective teaching and development of the teaching force, has further contributed to the apparent struggle to have skilled human resource to boost the country’s economy.
The Seychelles Institute for Teacher Education (Site) is tasked with training of pre-service and in-service teachers to ensure they have the necessary qualifications and capacity to lead a classroom.
With the introduction of the TMD policy, Site’s teacher training responsibility will increase which will give way to some changes at the institute.
“Continuous teacher development for instance is presently not being done in a systematic manner; schools call on our help when they are in need. But with this policy we will have to harmonise our approach,” said the director for Site, Rosianne Jules.
“Site will also have to ensure that its courses as well as its qualifications are in line with the new policy.”
At July 2017, it was recorded that 65% of teachers at primary level do not possess the approved teaching qualification while a relatively small number of teachers hold a Bachelor of Education degree.
Site is presently training a group of 174 supply teachers in their blending learning mode programme.
The TMD policy targets all teachers, processes and practices within the Ministry of Education and in all public, non-university educational institutions in Seychelles.