Education minister categorically denies false, malicious statements made by United Seychelles |25 February 2021
Minister for Education Justin Valentin yesterday categorically denied allegations made by the president of the United Seychelles (US) political party, Patrick Herminie, who claimed during the party’s press conference held yesterday morning that Dr Valentin and the ministry are refusing jobs and contract renewals to competent and qualified Seychellois employees at the education ministry.
According to Dr Valentin, the allegations made by Dr Herminie are false, unjustified and malicious, and not well-founded.
Based on information that the ministry has, it would appear that Dr Herminie made such comments based on a social media post shared on Tuesday night by a senior education officer at the ministry, whose contract ended in December 2020, and who was awaiting a response from the Department of Public Administration (DPA), in which they claim that they were informed their contract would not be renewed.
“We see this as a false allegation. It is untrue and false and is an accusation that has been made to mislead Seychellois. I think it is important that we reject this accusation and tell the people that this is not true. It is a complete lie as the ministry has not stopped anyone from working,” Minister Valentin said.
“As the Minister for Education, I have the mandate to oversee education, and we have been instructed that as long as possible, ensure that everyone remains in employment. My mandate is to ensure that people remain in employment especially during these difficult times, and at any point has anyone been asked or informed that there will be redundancies or that anyone will be fired,” Minister Valentin stated.
While he acknowledged that there may be some changes within the ministry over coming months as the ministry undergoes reforms, Minister Valentin clarified that this will be in the form of transfers from departments or sections to others, as opposed to placing persons out of jobs.
Up until yesterday, the only movement within the ministry he said is the customary transfers of staff at school level, and one other individual who has moved to a different department, in line with the new plan for the education system which is being finalised by the Ministry and DPA.
According to Dr Valentin, once a person’s contract of employment is finished, the person has to submit to the DPA their plans and targets, which was asked of the officer in question. The process is one which can be time-consuming he said, taking up to 2 months before the individual is then informed if their contract has been renewed or not.
Apparently, the officer in question had also, prior to posting on social media, had a conversation with the director general responsible for the section they occupy with regard to their contract, and was informed that the DG would follow up on the matter. However, coincidentally, the ministry did receive from the DPA yesterday morning a letter in which it acknowledged having received the plans and targets of the officer and would be in touch in the coming weeks to inform said person whether the contract has indeed been approved or rejected.
“Therefore when these baseless lies are shared, it destroys our efforts and it leads people to lose confidence in the education system in Seychelles. And I want to tell the employees of the ministry that as long as they contribute to the development of education, they have a space within the ministry,” Minister Valentin added.
The minister was accompanied by his principal secretaries – Dr Linda Barallon and Dr Odile Decommarmond.