Teachers from all State schools in Seychelles gathered at the Savoy Resort & Spa Saturday evening for a Teachers Awards presentation where they were recognised for their devotion towards and long service in the teaching profession.
Awards were allocated to teachers who have served for 25 years, those who are going to retire at the end of this year or are already retired. The longest serving teacher and head teacher were also honoured.
Militna Jeanne of La Digue school won the award for longest serving teacher. Ms Jeanne has been teaching for 46 years and is still going strong. Fatima Agathine clinched the award of longest serving head teacher. She has served for 46 years of which 32 years have been dedicated to teaching and curriculum supervision. Mrs Agathine specialises in the French language which she enjoys teaching and speaking.
Thecla Arnephy, a retired teacher, has served for 53 years in the teaching profession. After gaining 46 years in teaching, Mrs Arnephy decided to continue as she felt she still have more to give to children.
The evening was graced by the presence of the Minister for Education Macsuzy Mondon, the Ambassador for Women and Children Erna Athanasius, and other high officials from the ministry and sponsors.
The ceremony kickstarted with a reflection from Rose-Mary Bastienne, another long-serving staff of the ministry. Song performances and poem recital also highlighted the evening.
In her speech for the occasion Minister Mondon said the ministry has remained faithful to the commitment made 26 years ago to celebrate the profession every year and pay tribute to teachers for the long years of service they have dedicated to educating the citizens of our country.
She added the tradition has been kept alive because they believe teachers are special and that the teaching profession is a noble one.
This year's theme 'La réussite des mes étudiants, mon engagement' is a reminder of the ultimate 'raison d'être' of teachers and educators for the magnitude of the influence teachers have on their students and the extent to which the power of their teaching impact and transform the world.
"Secondly 'La réussite des mes étudiants, mon engagement' is an affirmation of dedication, commitment and responsibility of teachers towards their students. As teachers are responsible for more than just academic enrichment, to be a great teacher one must connect to one's students and reach them on multiple levels because the best teachers are committed to their students' well-being both inside and outside the classroom.
"Thirdly our theme speaks for itself. And it speaks volumes about the high status we attribute to our teachers and their essential roles in nation building," Minster Mondon said.
She remarked through the good work that they do, teachers are not mere walls in the solid bricks of our nation. They are rather the foundation on which the bricks and pillars of society are mounted.
"As a nation we must never lose sight of this concept. We should always find ways and means to support teachers and reward them for their dedication and perseverance in the face of adversity," she said.
The minister urged teachers to face challenges together with their students and keep persisting until they have been overcome, something she said augurs well with the theme.
"If I were to be granted one wish, I would guarantee a qualitative improvement in our education system which would be to have all teachers re-examine their own mental model and assumptions about teaching and learning.
And I also firmly believe for this to happen there is a need for a greater sense of teacher ownership in vocational learning in order for teachers to lead professional excellence at all levels," said the minister.
She also spoke of the various schemes that have been out in place for teachers like new scheme of service; laptop scheme where they can purchase laptops at reduced prices; further studies at university level and in-service teachers at certificate level and where Site (Seychelles Institute for Teacher Education) is to introduce diploma-level courses for teachers.
(Courtesy - Seychelles Nation)