18 Jan 2017 - During the annual meeting for head teachers, school managers, leaders, school councils and PTA chairpersons which is held before the start of each school year a series of new measures have been announced to raise education standards and pupils' attainment, give schools more autonomy and address behaviour and discipline problems.
The new measures were announced by the Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Mr. Joel Morgan, who presided over the meeting on Thursday 12 January 2017 at the SITE auditorium.
Secondary education will be re-structured into three groups at S4 and S5 levels namely Academic, TVET and General to necessitate the establishment of two 'Centres of Excellence' – one for Academic and the other for TVET while the 'General Group' will continue their studies in their respective secondary schools.
Minister Morgan said the location for these centres will be identified and prepared during 2017; a feasibility study will be carried out to look at all the implications to support the proposed changes, such as infrastructural needs, training needs, budget and leadership capacity at all levels and will involve a team of people with expertise, both external and internal, to do the study.
He explained that setting up a TVET centre of excellence will elevate the level and importance of vocational education and we will offer international examinations in these subjects. A new TVET Division will be created in the restructuring of the ministry to support this initiative.
Minister Morgan said there is a need to strengthen teaching and learning at S1 to S3 so that students are better prepared to enter the centres of excellence.
The Professional Centres will also have to raise the level of their courses to take students from the centres and to increase their intake and find strategies to reduce drop-out. There is a need to increase the number and quality of graduates in order to respond to the needs of the labour market so as to gradually reduce the reliance on foreign labour.
In the same line, the Minister said a review of the S5 selection process will also be undertaken to better cater for the emerging Tertiary Education landscape.
Starting from the second term of 2017, the Minister said that English will be used as a medium of instruction for mathematics as of P1. This is necessary to improve primary education so as to have the quality secondary education that we are aiming for.
Minister Morgan remarked that with all these changes it is also important to consider teacher shortage and the urgent need to strengthen the Seychelles Institute for Teacher Education (SITE) so that it can produce teachers to meet the demand of the system.
Likewise empowering the management teams of schools and professional centres for them to be more accountable for performance of students in their respective institutions is also an important issue noting also that teachers and lecturers are also accountable for their pupils' learning and results.
Minister Morgan said that the issues of discipline in schools will necessitate making parents more accountable and responsible for the behaviour of their children and students have to be more accountable for their own learning. As such the ministry will not tolerate students who are disrespectful towards their teachers, those who bully other students and prevent them of their right to a safe learning environment.
The Ministry is putting in place a robust student discipline and anti-bullying mechanism at the level of educational institutions and efforts will be made to ensure that students who are in need of specialised help are supported through the three behaviour intervention programmes in place. The Minister also announced that preparation for the setting up of a Corrective Centre will start this year in collaboration with the Social Affairs
Minister Morgan said that these new measures are in line with President Danny Faure's vision for a public service that is based on the principles of good governance, accountability and transparency.
He said that "as a ministry we will do our utmost to promote the three principles in whatever we do," noting that one of his ministry's targets for this year is to enhance and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the governance and management of educational institutions for greater accountability and to be more result driven.