Students who qualify for scholarship abroad attend first orientation meeting |18 February 2023
- Learn about potential career opportunities
By Patsy Canaya
Eighty-four (84) post-secondary graduates who have qualified for government scholarship overseas attended an orientation meeting yesterday to learn about the country’s dynamics and career opportunities, which would be useful when making their career choice.
The meeting at the National Theatre at Mont Fleuri, was organised by the Ministry of Education and led by its minister, Dr Justin Valentin, in collaboration with several other ministries, which were also represented by their ministers, namely Billy Rangasamy from Lands and Housing, Devika Vidot from Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry and Flavien Joubert from Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment.
Also represented on the panel that addressed the cohort were the principal secretary (PS) for the Economic Planning department, Elizabeth Agathine, and Jenifer Sullivan, who is the second deputy governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles.
For nearly two and a half hours, high government officials were able to give them an insight into the country’s employment requirement as well as advise them on their new journey ahead which would start in September this year.
Minister Valentin told the cohort that the meeting’s focus was on choice, so they “could participate in the socio-economic development of the country”.
He said the panelists’ task was to guide them in making a good choice, “so you can decide where scholarships lie and where the system will be happy to sponsor you”.
Minister Valentin reminded them that education remained a key priority and they should consider it when choosing their career.
He informed the group that education did not refer only to teaching in front of a class, but there were various other career opportunities in the field.
For her part, PS Agathine, from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, highlighted the country’s economic development in the next five to ten years and various opportunities that will exist when the students complete their studies at university level.
She said the country would need to focus on human resource development, where health and education still remain top on the country’s agenda, as well as physical development, where there will be an increase in infrastructure.
Other sectors of priority are fisheries and agriculture where Seychelles need more professionals, as well as the digital sector which is also a key pillar.
“This is the time where you challenge yourself; think about where you can make a difference in your life as well as in the country,” Mrs Agathine told the students.
For his part, Minister Flavien Joubert had three main pieces of advice for them. Firstly to be aware that it was not their subjects at A level that would determine their career, secondly not to be scared by the new journey, which would include new places, new subjects, or even new language, and thirdly to always work hard.
He advised them that career opportunities still exist in environment, agriculture, climate change and energy and encouraged them to take up science as a subject which can allow them to join these areas.
Minister Vidot’s input was about the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, where she advised the students to “choose a pathway that will make you an asset for the country and set you apart from everyone”.
Another minister to address them was Mr Rangasamy from the Lands and Housing, who called on them to be ambassadors for Seychelles and to make a choice “that aligned well with the country’s development, while at the same time one you are passionate about”.
He said opportunities exist in lands and housing mainly in the engineering, survey and digital fields.
The representative from the Central Bank of Seychelles, Ms Sullivan, informed them that there were many opportunities in the financial services, technology as well as Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), where they still need qualified people in the traditional fields such as banker, accountant, analyst and economist or the emerging ones such as programmers, software developer, digital banker, and cybersecurity specialist, among others.
Following presentations from the panelists, the students were able to query about the various courses and preparations between now and their departure in September. The main point raised was the country’s priority list, which they said needed to be updated.
One of the attendees was Curtis Nolin, a former student from the Seychelles Business Studies Academy, where he studied business management and administration for three years. Curtis has already made three choices namely, statistics, law, accounting and finance. He said the meeting was useful and enriching.
“I have been able to get more information about certain issues such as the website managed by the former Agency for National Human Resource Development (ANHRD) because we feel that the information are outdated. This is something I feel the Ministry of Education should address promptly and I am glad they have given us their commitment that this is something they would work on and we are expected to have an updated list next week,” said Curtis.
He also hoped that more similar meetings would take place leading up to their departure.
For her part, Lisa Shamhong who was studying at the School of Advanced Level Studis (Sals), for two years, the meeting was insightful.
Lisa, whose career choice was psychology prior to the orientation meeting, said she has not changed her mind following yesterday’s session.
“It was really enlightening to hear how the priorities have changed but I am glad to hear even after the meeting that psychology is still on the list so I am going to stick with it,” said Lisa.
She also pointed out a lack of updated information about the overseas courses and was glad to hear there would be positive development with regard to the website.
Lisa told Seychelles NATION she does not have a country of preference for her studies. “I just want to be able to experience something different and then be able to come back and work for Seychelles,” she concluded.
According to Barbara Kilindo, who is the principal scholarship administrator at the Ministry of Education, this was the first meeting with the post-secondary students, and the next one will be a one-on-one session with each student, accompanied by their parents.
Each student was presented with a student pack when leaving, which contains information about potential courses, universities and countries.
It should be noted that yesterday’s meeting was targeting only students who scored 18+ points and who are eligible for government scholarship abroad. They are allowed to choose a university of their choice.
Those who scored between 12 and 17, are eligible for scholarship at the University of Seychelles and their meeting will be organised soon.
Photos by Louis Toussaint