Years of investment in education worthwhile

01 June 2010 |

June 1, 2010 -- Years of huge investment in the education sector have been worthwhile, President James Michel said on Sunday as he also promised he would ensure all our young people and professionals continue to benefit from further training and development.

He was speaking during the monthly En Moman Avek Prezidan programme which was aired on SBC TV at the weekend.

Asked whether he is satisfied that so many years of heavy investment in the education sector have paid off, Mr Michel said a look at Seychellois society today speaks for itself.

The population has a high level of education, displays many skills, and the number of young professionals continues to increase, he added.

"This shows that investment in this sector is worth it, and I believe human resource is something of which we cannot say we have too much," he said.

"On the contrary, spending to increase the capacity of our human resource is necessary and we need to continue investing in that area."

Commenting on the success of the investment our small country has made in the education sector, Mr Michel highlighted the fact that many Seychellois have been trained in various fields and today they are making us proud as they work all over the world, as well as here.

He gave as an example the number of pilots, around 85 of them, along with 118 young Seychellois who are working on our fleet of tankers around the world.

Mr Michel said he believes in education, training and the capacity of our people, and it is for this reason that "I will ensure our young people and all our young professionals continue to benefit from opportunities of further training and development". 

When asked how the number of trained Seychellois professionals leaving to work abroad has affected our country's development, Mr Michel said: "We all wish our trained professional cadres would come back to work and contribute to the development of our economy, but at the same time we have to admit that the phenomenon happens the world over.

"With free mobility, many of our professionals seize the opportunities that abound to further develop their potential."
But the President noted that there are many who do come back after acquiring more skills and experience working abroad.
Through reforms, we should continue to create the right conditions and favourable environment that will encourage our professionals to stay and those abroad to come back and contribute to developing our country, he added.

Still on the issue of investing in education, Mr Michel said having enough trained Seychellois  professionals to stay in teaching has always been a concern, and having enough teachers to meet our needs has always been a challenge.

"But we should not forget that with a population of only 85,000 we need professionals in all sectors," he said.

"With the opening up of our economy and development of the country, professionals are in demand everywhere and so we do not have the number of teachers we need.

"But looking at the statistics, we have trained around 75 teachers a year, and at present there are around 1,500 Seychellois teachers in the education system with only 95 foreigners.

"I believe that with the newly introduced scheme of service for teachers and a better working environment being fostered, together with the opening of the University of Seychelles, more young Seychellois will show an interest in this profession and before long we will see a marked increase in Seychellois teachers."

In relation to the lack of resources in manpower and school materials that was recently brought to his attention during a meeting he had with post-secondary students at Anse Royale, Mr Michel said this is not acceptable as it shows a lack of good planning both at the school and education ministry level.

He said he has recommended that these deficiencies are addressed urgently. He stressed that the reforms should ensure good planning at all levels to avoid such situations where students and their learning suffer.

Another aspect of the education system that Mr Michel said the reforms should address is children's interest in reading.

More emphasis should be placed on finding innovative ways to boost children's interest in and love of reading.

The President said it can be observed today that children's interest in reading is gradually fading, and there is a need for new energy to be injected into the process in our schools so as to rekindle that interest.

But this can only happen with the involvement of the communities in the way schools are run and activities organised.

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