Ministry of Education rewards teacher assistants |13 December 2019
Ninety-nine (99) teacher assistants at early childhood level have received their certificate after attending a professional certificate training programme delivered by the SEED Institute based in Singapore.
The certificate presentation ceremony, which took place on Wednesday at the Nayopi conference room, Providence, was attended by the Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Jeanne Simeon; the principal secretary for early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary education, Dr Odile Decommarmond; the director general for early childhood and primary education, Cyril Pillay; Alex Shieh, programme development and learning design specialist at the SEED Institute; Anderson Tan of the Workforce International Skills Certification (WISC); Bridget Shoo, regional director, Enterprise Singapore based in Johannesburg; teachers; students among other guests.
“In its quest to improve the quality of education, supporting pupils’ learning and promoting the holistic development at early childhood have always remained high on the agenda of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. It is for this reason that in 2005, our ministry initiated a recruitment drive for some 255 ancillaries who subsequently followed training in supporting and assisting teachers at early childhood level,” Minister Simeon said.
She explained that the introduction of this new cadre was aimed at strengthening early childhood education by laying firm foundation in numeracy and literacy for all pupils thus ensuring equitable access to learning for all pupils. This helped to provide much needed assistance to early childhood teachers to ensure the effective catering for the needs of all children entrusted in their care.
“This initiative responded to the concerns expressed by early childhood education teachers in the Teacher Retention Survey and in consultative meetings held with P1 teachers in early 2000,” said the minister in her opening address.
She added that following the reform in early childhood education in 2009, the appellation of ‘teacher assistant’ was introduced to replace that of ‘ancillary’ from crèche to Primary 2. A more specific and comprehensive job description was drawn up with a view to giving more prominence to this cadre. In a nutshell the role of teacher assistants was to work alongside and assist the class teacher to support pupils’ learning especially in early literacy and numeracy and to perform other instructional and non-instructional duties under the guidance of the teacher and school management.
“In this regard I am pleased to announce that the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (Site) is completing the review of the Teacher Assistant Training Programme which is expected to commence implementation in 2020,” said Minister Simeon.
“I wish to stress that, as teacher assistants, you have an important role to play in building a solid foundation for early childhood so as to improve learning outcomes. Remember that early childhood matters if we are to give all our young children a strong and winning start. I wish you all success in your career path in education,” she ended.
On his part Alex Shieh from SEED University noted: “It is my honour to be here today, on behalf of SEED Institute, Singapore, to witness the presentation of the WISC Professional Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education. The SEED team, including Jenny Wong, Alfred Chan, Lynn Heng, Irene Tan and Beth Fredericks, will like to send our heartiest congratulations to the 99 teacher assistants receiving the certificates today,” said Mr Shieh.
He added “The SEED team, including myself, would like to thank the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and all the people of Seychelles who took care of us during our stay, showing your love, warmth and great hospitality. On this note, I will like to present a token of appreciation, a Chinese calligraphy writing of the proverb that I have just spoken about, from SEED Institute to the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. We look forward to greater and more meaningful exchange and collaboration in the near future, and we wish the teacher assistants the very best in your future endeavours”.
After the various speeches the ceremony continued with performances by various schools who sang a medley of songs to their teachers.
The accompanying group photos taken by Anel Robert show the teacher assistants with guests.