Education minister sets out vision for professional centres | 24 December 2020
The Minister for Education, Dr Justin Valentin, on Tuesday morning held his first meeting with the chairpersons of boards and heads of Tertiary Education Institutions (Professional Centres).
The two-hour meeting held at the Seychelles Institute for Teacher Education (Site), was for Minister Valentin to be introduced and to share his vision and aspirations for education and training at tertiary education (TE) institutions level. The meeting was also a first bringing all the heads and heads of governance board of TE together.
Apart from all the heads and heads of governance board or their representatives present, the meeting was also attended by representatives from the Tertiary Education Commission Seychelles (Tec) and the Seychelles Qualification Authority (SQA).
Flanked by the principal secretary for Tertiary Education and Human Resource Development, Dr Linda Barallon, special advisor John Lesperance and consultant Selby Dora, Minister Valentin asked those attending the meeting to first and foremost renew their commitment to working for the ministry, hence giving Seychelles the best possible deal.
Turning on his vision and aspirations as a basis to re-address education and training at Tertiary Education and higher level, Minister Valentin said that he will first seek to significantly improve student outcomes in all aspects and remarkably improve the nature and quality of training that are presented to the students.
He also said that he will push on the agenda for institutional autonomy thus giving the leaders of professional centres and board full powers and full control over their institutions.
He added that he will push for future conceptualising the professional centres on a business model to generate revenue to support their daily activities while at the same time providing quality training for students to develop their practices and gather knowledge and experiences.
“Time has come for professional centres to lessen their dependence on the headquarters and the headquarters to lessen their control over professional centres,” Minister Valentin said, noting that the existing system and structures will be used to establish and regulate quality and standards while the institutions will be expected to set and monitor targets with regard to performance and outcomes.
Minister Valentin stated that he will seek positions to reposition the headquarters in a different relationship with the various institutions and in doing so to capitalise on existing policies to strengthen institution base support structures.
He noted that teachers and lecturers must be supported with their curriculum delivery while students have to be supported with their learning and instructional materials.
On the question of discipline, Minister Valentin said that the ministry will renovate and strengthen structures that will confront and deal with inappropriate behaviour and misconduct which he has zero tolerance for.
Each institution will be modelled against critical performance bench mark to ultimately make learning experiences interesting and worthwhile for all learners while also the teaching experiences should be made meaningful and worthwhile to all instructors and staff.
Minister Valentin said that as he places technology at the core of education development, he would influence all everybody to fully embrace technology so that the ministry and its respective institutions become technology-able institutions.
Among some of his other visions and aspirations include capacity building and professional development to revamp the educational system in the country and strategies to encourage the more high performing students to join the teaching force to ultimately become instructors at tertiary and higher education levels.
Minister Valentin called upon every one present to revisit their charter and to address the needs and to fill the gaps to ensure that their institutions remain relevant and responsive.
He also called on the tertiary and the higher education community to explore answers, through a comprehensive market research, on if they are satisfied with the current number of programmes available for the local needs and what professional centres that can be established for the current local market.
To conclude, Minister Valentin set the challenge to hypothetically raise the education bar to at least three levels above the one that exists now in the country.
The tertiary education institutions are Seychelles Business Studies Academy (SBSA), Seychelles Institute of Art and d Design (SIAD), Seychelles Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture (SIAH), Seychelles Institute for Teacher Education (Site), Seychelles Institute of Technology (Sit), Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA), Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA), the Seychelles Advanced Level Studies (Sals), the National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS), the Seychelles Institute for Distance and Open Learning (Sidol), The Guy Morel Institute (TGMI) and the University of Seychelles (UniSey).