As is customary every year a series of activities is organised by the Ministry of Education to commemorate teacher's week. One of the highlights of the annual celebration is the National Education Conference, which this year was held under the theme "Transforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Seychelles: Building skills for work and life".
The Minister for Education, Mrs. Macsuzy Mondon, officially launched the 2016 Education Conference at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS) in Victoria, on Monday 3rd October. The ceremony was attended by several ministers, members of the National Assembly, principal secretaries, CEOS, senior education officers, heads of professional centres, head teachers and students as well as several officers from private and public organisations.
Present at the ceremony was the keynote speaker, Mr. Hugh Guthrie, Honorary Fellow from Victoria University, in Melbourne, Australia and guest speaker Dr. Ahmed Ferej, from the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.
In her opening address Minister Mondon highlighted the efforts placed by the ministry to institutionalize and promote the qualitative development of TVET in Seychelles, and added that this year's education conference theme reflects the theme of the Third International Congress on TVET convened by the UNESCO in May 2012 which resulted in the Shanghai Consensus. Further emphasis is also evident in the UNESCO published TVET Strategic Plan 2016-2021, which aims at supporting the efforts of Member States to enhance the relevance of their TVET systems and to equip all youth and adults with the skills required for employment, decent work, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning UNESCO.
Mrs Mondon continued by saying that improving education for the world of work remains one of the ministry's key endeavours in preparing the youth and future workers for both the formal and informal sectors of the labour market, and that the rapid changes in technology and diversification of the labour in Seychelles has given rise to the number of TVET related jobs that require the full participation of the private sector.
However, Minister Mondon noted that despite all the benefits, TVET is still faced with several important challenges and impediments such as the negative and low perceptions of TVET by the public, lack of parity between general education and TVET, weak link with industry, limited stakeholder participation, low employability among some graduates, limited infrastructure and the mismatch between supply and demand, to name just a few.
To overcome these obstacles, she continued, the world over is currently implementing a number of innovative strategies and interventions at both the system and operational levels and in the case of Seychelles, various instruments and governing structures have been put in place over the past decade to leverage the TVET system.
Minister Monodon continued her address by highlighting the key developments and commending the increasing participation and contribution of key stakeholders that can help create more opportunities, and an enabling environment, to leverage the image of TVET in Seychelles and further raise awareness on the importance of TVET in building skills for life.
Mr. Hugh Guthrie who is in Seychelles at the invitation of the Ministry of Education, presented his key note address on the global developments and their implications for TVET in Seychelles.
In address, Mr. Hugh Guthrie touched on the theme of the 2016 education conference, transforming TVET in Seychelles and building skills for work and life, in terms of the issues that emerge as a result of globalisation, and the extent to which they affect the nature of TVET and its provision.
Mr. Guthrie's presentation also touched on the idea that Seychelles might be perceived as rich in many ways, but because of the relatively small size, isolation, limited natural resources and heavy dependence on tourism it is also economically vulnerable.
He also presented an overview of globalization as controversial, and having effects on the environment, national cultures, political systems, economic development and prosperity, and societal well-being but it also enables sustainable exploitation of the environment and natural resources such as through the 'blue' and 'green' economies.
He said that for a small country like Seychelles, addressing these global issues means that TVET must be internationally aligned to allow for labour flows into and out of the country, it means aligned qualification frameworks and quality assurance systems to allow for international recognition of its training and qualifications, it means the development of partnerships with governments, systems and providers overseas.
The 2016 Education Conference was held over two days during which the delegates explored four main components: the Global Developments and their implications for TVET in Seychelles; the UNESCO TVET Strategy 2016-2021; Revitalising and Re-strategising of TVET as an integral component of Education and Training from primary to secondary 5 - Recommendations for Action, and they also looked at TVET governance practices in Tasmania to inform the development of TVET system in Seychelles.