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Elections 2020

“Holiday is over!” Ministry of Education kicks off 2021 school year with virtual school assembly By Elsie Pointe | 18 January 2021

“Holiday is over!”         Ministry of Education kicks off 2021 school year with virtual school assembly     By Elsie Pointe

Minister Valentin delivering his speech virtually (Photo: Joena Meme)

Today marks the beginning of the new school year which is understandably not starting off as usual due to the pandemic.

Instead of donning on their new uniforms and backpacks, students are stuck at home and will have to spend the next two weeks virtual and distance learning.

In a bid to infuse some sense of normality to the first term of 2021, the Ministry of Education is today broadcasting a school assembly-styled video to kick off the school year.

The central focus of the assembly is a speech by new Minister for Education, Dr Justin Valentin, who highlights the fact that the holidays are officially over and that students must now re-enter the academic landscape, even amid a pandemic.

Addressing students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders in the education system, Minister Valentin notes the “extraordinary” circumstances that have led to this unusual school year. Nonetheless he stresses that students should endeavour to excel and be disciplined no matter the circumstances.

“Students cannot physically return to school, change their levels or even start a school year for the very first time as had been the case in previous years, when Covid-19 was non-existent in our country. Therefore, today I am using all the means at my disposal to virtually kick off the 2021 academic year,” says Minister Valentin.

“I wanted to do it this way because I want to officially put an end to the holiday period, so that everyone, especially students and teachers, can start engaging in academic and scholarly activities, in virtual and distance learning mode.”

“The holidays are over! Today is the start of the school year so let us not lose time. I am creating the atmosphere of a school assembly, and hoping to pass on some words of encouragement and I am sending all my best wishes to every student and teacher at all levels, so that we can all work together to achieve better results,” continues the minister.

Minister Valentin calls for schools to rescind traditional teaching methods and adopt more novel, innovative means of learning and teaching.

In the course of the next two weeks, the Ministry of Education will be making use of digital media to facilitate remote learning.

Lessons and learning resources will be made available via the national broadcaster, Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC 3), TeleSesel and the internet (See page 7 for a timetable of televised educational programmes for this week).

Minister Valentin notes that he will be ready with his new plan for the public education system when schools resume in-person learning. This plan will be unveiled in a press conference to be held at a later date.

The virtual school assembly also features a start of year declaration by director designate for Independent School, Andy Esparon, on behalf of all private schools in the country.

“I would like to reassure everybody that we have put in place measures to provide remote learning and to minimise any disruptions to their learning as much as possible,” states Mr Esparon.

“Our schools are adopting innovative methods such as the use of Google Classroom, Zoom and Google Meet to compliment independent learning.”

“Using these methods will undoubtedly present new challenges to parents, children and our teachers, but again I would like to reassure parents that our schools are ready to face these challenges and call on parents to support their children[…],”adds Mr Esparon.

Mr Esparon acknowledges efforts being made by some telecommunication companies to offer reasonably priced internet packages to allow for virtual learning, and urges other companies to follow suit.

Mont Fleuri secondary school head teacher Marc Arrisol and Plaisance primary school head teacher Therese Athanase also address students at home today, as part of the virtual school assembly.

The following is Minister Valentin’s speech being delivered in a mix of all three national languages (Creole, English and French) to the students, teachers and other stakeholders in education:

 

“Bomaten, mon anvi adres kominote etidyan, ansennyan, paran e tou bann lezot parti prenant sistenm ledikasyon dan Sesel.

“Bomaten, nou pe konmans sa nouvo lannen skoler dan en fason pli ekstraordiner ki nou’n deza fer. Ekstraordiner dan le sans ki nou pa kapab fizikman nou tou retourn lekol e lans nou progranm akademik parey normalman nou ti pou’n fer. Nou tou nou’n pri dan konpleksite en pandemi e sa i’n enpoz son lenpak direkteman lo nou osi byen ki dan lezot pei dan lemonn. Parey an Desanm 2004, Sounami ti vin parti nou vokabiler, e depi Mars lannen pase, pandemi in vin en mo ki dan nou leksik kreol. Omwen nou tou aprezan, nou konn son definisyon.

“Donk, nou pa kapab zwenn fizikman parey toultan. Bann zanfan pa pou kapab ozordi fizikman sanz zot nivo skoler ou menm konmans pour la premyer fwa en nivo skoler parey ti leka tou lezot lannen avan letan ti napa KOVID dan nou zoli pti pei.

“Ozordi alor, mon pe servi bann diferan mwayen ki nou annan pour mwan virtyelman konmans sa lannen skoler 2021. Mon anvi fer sa dan sa fason, parske mon anvi termin sa peryod vakans koumsa tou dimoun, sirtou etidyan e ansennyan, i a konmans angaz zot dan bann aktivite akademik e skoler, vertyel e azistans. Konmdir koze, vakans i fini la, ozordi larantre. Annou pa perdi letan malgre tou!!

“Mon pe kre lanbyans en Asanble. Mon pe vin donn en mo lankourazman e mon pe partaz mon pli meyer swe a tou etidyan e tou ansennyan lo tou nivo, pour nou ansanm target bann pli meyer rezilta, bann pli meyer lakonplisman ki nou’n deza donn nou lekor e donn nou pei.

“Nou pe konmans sa nouvo lannen skoler pa zis dan en fason pli ekstraordiner, me osi avek en nouvo Minis. Menm dan sa brouyar pandemi Kovid-19, mon war li mon devwar pour lev zot laspirasyon e kit li lo en nivo tre eleve, tre o. Mon pe sey tou mon mye, tou sord fason pour mwan konpran lenpak sa pandemi e sa leson pli enportan ki mon’n tire atraver mon refleksyon, se ki pa devret annan okenn baryer mazer dan okenn pandemi. Parey delo ki pran laform sa konteni dan ki i ganny vide, nou bann etidyan, nou bann ansennyan, nou bann travayer ledikasyon, annou reaziste nou pour angaze e reakte dan sa nouvo konteks sanniter. Sa kalamite sanniter pe envit nou pour nou tou dekouver nou pwen for e pwen feb. Sa sitiasyon pe osi envit nou pour nou teste nou lobeisans, teste lafason ki nou konport nou devan danze, teste lafason ki nou ekoute. Me pli gran lenvitasyon, se kimannyer nou aziste nou pour nou envant nouvo fason fer pour ki nou a kapab sirviv e menm epanouir.

“Donk mon pe envit tou dimoun dan sa gran fanmir pour nou reaziste nou. Mon pe demann bann ansennyan pour servi tou zouti e mwayen ki zot annan, san ki zot kas okenn lalwa e gidans ki anplas pour zot fer letid ariv kot bann etidyan ki Bon Dye i’n konfye zot. E bann zanfan mon pe demann zot pour zot osi servi tou mwayen san ki zot kas okenn lalwa e gidans ki anplas, pour zot etablir kontak avek sa bann ansennyan ki Bon Dye i’n fer zot kado. E ler kontak pou’n etablir, silvouple mon pe demann zot pour angaze signifikativman. Annou kre bann nouvo fason etidye, annou kre bann nouvo fason ansennyen, annou kre bann nouvo fason fer keksoz. Annou sorti dan sa lanbyans tradisyonnel e annou viz ver sa sosyete modern ki nou osi nou pe donn lanmen kree.

“Okour sa de semenn ki pe vini nou pou servi lasenn televizyon ek servis internet pour nou transmet bann progranm edikasyonnel ki sirman i a ganny servi konman bann legzersis ki a sof zot pour letan ki nou a rekonmans bann kontak fizik. Zot pou sirman ganny plis lanons plitar.

“Epi ler nou a konmans retourn kot lekol mwan mon pou’n pare avek mon plan ki mwan osi mon eksite pour partaz avek zot.

“Mon en profesyonnel ki krwar dan en standar O, ki krwar dan disiplin dan tou son laspe, ki krwar dan travay lekip, ki krwar ki tou zanfan i kapab realiz en rev dan son prop fason, ki krwar ki nou kapab ansanm kre sa sistenm ledikasyon ki sa pei i merite. Alor mon pe envit tou manm dan sa gran fanmiy sistenm ledikasyon Sesel pour partaz sa kiltir.

“Je tiens à saisir cette opportunité, afin de m’adresser à vous aussi les parents. Pour que nos enfants, nos élèves arrivent à fleurir et à réussir dans leurs études, il est crucial de travailler et de collaborer ensemble. C’est ainsi, qu’aujourd’hui je me tourne vers vous, pour vous demander de renouveler une fois de plus vos engagements envers d’une part l’éducation de vos enfants et d’autre part l’institution scolaire qui les accueils. Ce n’est qu’en faisant cela que nous pouvions ensemble réjouir de leurs succès et de nos accomplissements. N’en doutez pas la valeur de votre soutien car tout soutien a sa juste valeur.

“De plus, nous comptons sur vous, pour nous aider à élever et à renouveler les aspirations de vos enfants. Aidez-nous à leur faire comprendre que malgré cette période difficile que nous traversons, à cause de la pandémie, qu’il y a de l'espoir et un avenir radieux qui les attend de l'autre côté. Après tout, comme nous disons souvent « après la pluie, le beau temps ».

“I sincerely acknowledge the good work that are being accomplished by the various individuals. In their own way, they are working tirelessly to revamp the education system. I equally acknowledge that there are many practices or ideas which could have been addressed differently. So as your Minister, I am bringing lessons drawn from my own professional experience and from outcomes of deep discussions, which I have had with several people since my inauguration. I also bring to the Minister’s seat, a will to realise the aspirations of many students and parents. I am aware of the breadth and depth of the tasks that lie ahead of me and of the complexity of the deed entrusted in me. So I am taking this responsibility with my full consciousness.

“My dear listeners, with these few words, I have the utmost pleasure to launch the 2021 school academic year and kick start the series of programmes developed for the two coming weeks.”

 

Justin D Valentin (Dr.)

Minister for Education

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