Seychelles pilots Ethics Education in state schools |01 April 2023
The Ministry of Education has launched ‘Ethics Education’ in state schools.
Ethics Education relates to Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and falls under the Sustainable Development Goals Target 4.7.
It is built around common ethical values of solidarity and human fraternity which empower children and youth to develop their sense of purpose, meaning and ethical responsibility, as a global citizen in an interconnected world.
Ethics education entails the use of Transformative pedagogy in selected Personal Social and Citizenship Education and Religious Education classes, with the aim of changing the behaviour of children, allowing them to develop respect and tolerance for people of different religious and cultural background creating a society where people live in peace.
The project is being done in collaboration with the Unesco Regional Office for Eastern Africa in Nairobi, the Unesco New Delhi Cluster Office, the Arigatou International, which works with people from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to promote children's rights and well-being, the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, KAICIID International Dialogue Centre based in Portugal and the Muslim Council of Elders based in Abu Dhabi.
The launch took place yesterday afternoon at the National Theatre, Mont Fleuri in the presence of First Lady Linda Ramkalawan, Vice-President Ahmed Afif, Unesco and Arigatou International representatives, head teachers and teachers who will be conducting the programmes in their schools as well as students.
When addressing the guests, on behalf of Minister Justin Valentin who could not be present, the principal secretary for Education, Merna Eulentin said the project comes at a crucial time, as it was among her ministry’s top priorities “to establish value-based institutions with the ultimate objective of achieving a responsible and disciplined society. Ethics Education is the focal point of this critical and timely topic”.
She said ethics education was a mean to strengthen the school’s educational programmes and pedagogical approaches that foster ethical values in an inter-cultural and inter-faith learning context.
“It aligns well with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), target 4.7, which aims to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, global and democratic citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity,” she said.
Also present was Maria Uribe-Torres, the executive director of Arigatou International Geneva, which is collaborating on the project.
She highlighted the success of the programme in other schools worldwide and the benefits it will bring to Seychelles.
She explained it will not replace religious education but complements what goes on in such classes.
For her part, the secretary general of the Seychelles National Commission for Unesco, Vicky Michel-Gendron, explained that Unesco became involved in the project following a request made at a United Nations policy dialogue which took place in Seychelles in May last year when the Ministry of Education sought assistance for Peace education. Seychelles was then invited to participate in a Fellowship on Ethics Education held in Indonesiain October, alongside Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Mauritius and Nepal. The five officials from the Ministry of Education and the University of Seychelles who attended the fellowship also followed several webinars in preparation for the piloting of the Ethics education locally. They also received mentoring from officials from the Arigatou International.
The officials later trained 20 teachers in February this year, about the three pillars of ethics, ahead of it being implemented in schools as of March. Yesterday the teachers were also presented with their certificates.
Two of the officials, Erica Derjacques- Inacio and Betty-May Sopha, also outlined the concept of Ethics education to the guests present.
Eleven (11) primary schools and four (4) secondary schools will be involved in the piloting process. The project will go on until August 2023 and based on the outcome of the evaluation at the end of it, the Ministry of Education will decide on its future in schools.
Unesco has provided a grant of US $16, 836 (R234,080) to fund the pilot project.
Photos by Louis Toussaint