Improving the quality of teaching and the quality of learning are two priorities for the Seychelles Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.
Minister Joel Morgan told journalists on Tuesday that his ministry’s focus is on enhancing the education system in state schools.
“2018 is an important year for us. We have several new initiatives which we will implement. This is to revamp our education system, address challenges which we are facing and improve the quality of learning and teaching,” said Morgan.
Morgan gave his first press conference at the ministry’s headquarters as part of the government’s initiative of good governance, accountability, and transparency.
“Schools and educational institutions face many challenges. These include the infrastructure and school environment, the lack of equipment as well as dealing with students who have learning difficulties. So we need a better system for us to improve results,” said Morgan.
The minister said that at the secondary level most teachers have a bachelor’s degree in education, some have master's degrees and a few have PhDs. But around half of the teachers teaching at primary level do not have certificates.
|Minister Morgan gave his first press conference of the year on Tuesday outlining his ministry's priorities. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
The ministry’s overall goal is for all teachers at the primary level in state schools in Seychelles - a group of islands in the western Indian Ocean – to be certified.
“We want to ensure that when we talk of quality of teaching, children who pass through our primary system get the best quality of education and become successful in their secondary studies,” said Morgan.
Morgan explained that during the last five years a lot of these teachers wanted to further their training but could not do so. The ministry is now embarking on a vigorous training programme for its primary school teachers, he said.
“200 of these educators have already enrolled in the in-service training to gain their certificates. Others are going for their diplomas and related course at the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (SITE).”
Morgan added that discussions have also started with the Edith Cowan University, based in Perth, Australia, to re-launch a Bachelor of Education course.
“We hope this course can be run by the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education - SITE. Additionally, we are embarking on a master's degree programme in educational leadership in collaboration with the University of Seychelles and other universities which we can partner with. This is to better train our leaders in schools and other educational institutions,” said Morgan.
The ministry said that whilst it is important to focus on the quality of teaching it is also crucial to monitor how the teacher is delivering. “We have to put in place monitoring systems in place that will assess and evaluate quality and delivery of teaching so that our efforts are translated into results,” adds Morgan.
Only last week, the Ministry announced that 50 teachers from Mauritius and Zambia are expected to begin teaching in state schools in February as part of government efforts to counter the lack of local teachers. Teachers from Philippines, Madagascar and Fiji are also expected to be recruited during the course of the year.
Morgan also explained that secondary education is also expected to forego a complete re-structuring process in the next few years with the introduction of the technical and academic pathway as well as the general secondary pathway.
“It has been several years now that post-secondary institutions have not been able to use their quota system so the system has become defunct. We will henceforth be doing away with it,” said Morgan adding that “it will be now up to these institutions to set their own entry requirements and it will be their prerogative who they allow into their courses.”
This year only 41 percent of post-secondary applicants were able to get into post-secondary institutions. The remaining 59 percent will now have to go through the appeals process.
Other issues discussed in the press conference included a strategy for teacher retention, state schools autonomy, policies pertaining to bullying and obesity which is are expected to be implemented in all state Schools as well as the signing of a social contract with parents.