Newly built Belonie school officially opens |23 May 2023
By Sunny Esparon
The completion of ‘Royal Street Wing’ – the new block replacing one of Belonie secondary school’s oldest blocks – has paved the way for the school’s official opening.
It was President Wavel Ramkalawan, accompanied by the Minister for Education, Dr Justin Valentin, who officially unveiled the plaque to open the newly constructed school situated on Royal Street.
The ceremony took place yesterday morning.
In his address, President Ramkalawan said the momentous occasion called for celebration. The president said he personally followed the development of the new block even going so far as to talk to the Minister for Education, about what was happening.
“I am happy to say that the previous administration took this project in hand, and that today we can terminate it,” he stated.
The President noted the project encountered certain difficulties with the biggest one being the financial burden. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were times when finances were unavailable for its funding.
“Money was not coming in and today I would like to say thank you to all the Seychellois who played their role properly, who did their part for us to reopen the economy.”
He also said the students should be proud since “you are the ones who have the most beautiful school in Seychelles”.
Mr Ramkalawan also expressed his joy that inclusivity was taken into account when building the new school, with the construction of ramps for those in need.
He urged parents and guardians to take more of an interest in their children’s education for the betterment of their future. “When the child arrives at school, see what homework they have. Make sure that your child has good behaviour and that they are not only learning bad things to destroy the educational atmosphere in schools.”
For his part, Minister Valentin, expressed his gratitude towards everybody who had contributed to the realisation of the project.
“The construction of this new block signifies our collective dedication to creating a conducive learning environment that nurtures the mind and talent of our students,” he stated.
Turning his attention to the students, he emphasised the importance of seizing the opportunities presented to them within the setting.
He urged the students to embrace the challenges laid before them by the teachers and to challenge themselves and develop the skills that will empower them to inhale the future.
“The Royal Street Wing serves as a beacon of possibilities offering you an environment that encourages curiosity, exploration and personal growth,” he said.
He also urged parents and guardians to play an active role in the children’s educational journey, “fostering a love for learning and motivating them to achieve their full potential”.
According to the Ministry of Education, R27 million has been invested in the new infrastructure.
Speaking on behalf of all students, Livia Dugasse thanked the President and his delegation and presented the head of state, First Lady Linda Ramkalawan and Minister Valentin with a token of appreciation.
During yesterday’s ceremony, five staff with the longest years of service were also recognised and they received an award from the elected Member of the National Assembly for St Louis, Sathya Naidu, and the school’s head teacher, Medgée Nancy.
Firstly, Lakshmi Pughazendi who served for 27 years as a science teacher and head of department, as well as 25 years at the Belonie school and two years at the National Youth Service.
Science teacher and head of department, Dona Gunatilake, has served for 32 years while Bernard Dorasamy, who is a Physical Education teacher, has been in the education system for 41 years.
Marie-Ange Moustache has worked as a school librarian and ECA facilitator for 42 years and lastly, Feli Gomme has served as a laboratory technician at the school for 42 years.
Belonie secondary school is among the eleven secondary state schools in the country. It was in 1948 that the school was blessed by Bishop Olivier Maradan and was named St John Bosco. In 1996, the school became purely a secondary school. In 2018, a team of engineers deemed the S1 and S2 block unsafe and as a result, in term 3 of 2019, the school relocated to EX-NISTI at Bel Ombre where the students spent three years and three months while waiting for the construction of the new school. Construction started in 2020 and ended in 2023.
Meanwhile, the President said that lots of emphasis is placed on education and as part of government’s construction programme, there are some blocks from other schools that need to be constructed. He cited La Rosière school as an example and confirmed that the school’s plan is completed and the engineers are ready to take on the challenge. He also confirmed that construction of the La Digue school will start this year.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the opening ceremony yesterday.
Photos by Louis Toussaint