Minister Valentin meets returning graduates |19 October 2021
• ‘A new group of teachers that brings hope to the future of education in Seychelles,’ says Minister
A group of 14 returning graduates specialising in education and education-related fields met with the Minister for Education, Dr Justin Valentin, at the ministry’s headquarters yesterday.
The meeting was an opportunity for the minister to discuss with the new graduates on the state of the public education and ways they can use their newly acquired skills to improve the sector.
Unlike previous years where teachers only followed a Bachelor of Education in their teaching subject of choice, this group of new graduate-teachers undertook some unconventional bachelor’s degrees and master programmes – a fact which impressed Minister Valentin.
These include Master of Science in Applied Psychology, Bachelor of Science in Youth and Community Work, Master of Teaching and Learning, Bachelor of Science in Childhood Development, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Theatre Bachelor of Education in Adult Education Management, Masters Degree in French among others.
Some of the graduates like Carol Athanasius, who did a Bachelor of Design in Design and Technology, are the first Seychellois educators in the public system to graduate in their respective courses.
Institutions where they undertook their studies varied, from the University of Seychelles to Middlesex University, although the majority studied at the University of Botswana.
In his meeting with these fresh-off-the-boat graduates, Minister Valentin congratulated them on their certificates which will go a long way in bringing new, multi-faceted approaches to the education sector.
He explained that they will play a great role in helping the education ministry implement its new plan, particularly in schools, adding that they bring hope to the future of the education sector.
“When I look at the list of courses and universities you studied, this is what I call a mix and you are bringing into education a variety of knowledge and experiences which should be to the benefit of education,” Minister Valentin stated.
“We are seeing different field of studies, from theatre to design and technology to psychology, so in some way you are trying to solve some of the challenges that we are having,” he added.
The minister called on the graduates to take the lead in their respective schools to create a concept he coined as ‘priority leader schools’.
These priority leader schools will be public schools that are performing well in one aspect of education and henceforth can assist other schools.
For instance, if a school develops successful strategies to tackle speech delays in kindergarteners, they can then pass on this knowledge to other schools.
Minister Valentin stressed that teachers no longer have to climb the ladder to join the administration of schools or headquarters, but can still be well-compensated while remaining in their classes.
He further urged the newly returned graduates to test and experiment their ideas in their classrooms without fear.
Nichole Gamatis, graduate in Bachelor of Fine Arts and Theatre, noted that she has devised various plans to incorporate theatre in her teaching but is faced with resource constraints. She is currently teaching at Anse Royale secondary as a performing arts teacher.
“This is a new concept for the children and they find it challenging. I also find it challenging because there is a lack of resources but we have started on the right foot with introduction to theatre,” stated Ms Gamatis.
On her side, Fiona Payet, a holder of a Masters in French, highlighted on inclusive ways to teach and cater for students with lower abilities as well as highly gifted students.
She explained that each has its own teaching and learning specificities which are often ignored in mainstream teaching.
Ivans Morel, one of the few male teachers in the group, noted that discipline is one of the main issues that teachers in Seychelles have to deal with and mechanisms should be identified to remediate disciplinary problems in schools.
Minister Valentin called on the graduates who conceptualized a thesis, dissertation or research work during their courses to prepare a 20-minute presentation for a round table workshop that will be held sometime next year.