Press conference with Vice-President Ahmed Afif on Cabinet matters |24 March 2023
Cabinet approves framework for nomination, selection, appointment of government bodies’ boards
The Cabinet has approved the setting up of a framework for the nomination, selection, and appointment of boards of directors of government bodies.
This framework will include the setting up of a specific committee to process applications and nomination.
The decision was taken on Wednesday during the Cabinet’s weekly meeting chaired by President Wavel Ramkalawan.
To further clarify this decision, Vice-President Ahmed Afif held a press briefing yesterday morning at State House where he explained that the board will serve as the eyes, ears and voice of the government.
He added that when more qualified people sit on those boards, the better they would be able to deliver in terms of their assessments of the organisations including their performances, recommendations of how to solve problems.
“This ensures that we, the government, get the real picture of what is happening at board and company level,” said Vice-President Afif.
He acknowledged that the idea is to set up selection committee who will have database and training programme and this will help the executives in finding the best people with the best kills to do the job.
Another decision taken at Wednesday’s meeting was to amend the PUC Act 1986 whereby the Public Utilities Corporation board will now move from ‘no more than seven’ to ‘no more than nine’ members.
“We feel that PUC has expanded much more overtime and the need for more people looking over management is more important today than it has ever been,” explained VP Afif.
This amendment will allow the board to implement best practices where a number of board sub-committees are created to address audit, financial, risk, remuneration and other pressing technical matters.
Due to this increase in board members the quorum for meetings will also increase from three to five to be in line with the requirements of the Public Enterprise Monitoring Commission (PEMC).
Cabinet was also briefed on the plan by the Ministry of Education to trial an ethics education programme in the schools, which will be launched on March 31. The Ministry of Education has recommended this idea whereby there will be programmes which will be run in certain schools which aim to help students of very young age to have a different outlook on life, how to treat and also respect other people and cultures and have more tolerance and create a sense of normalisation of mixed cultures.
“This is an experiment that the Unesco has done with governments, which include Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Mauritius and Nepal. Seychelles has also taken part in some of the programmes and we feel there is a merit to introduce this programme to our kids,” added VP Afif.
This programme will be implemented with the help and work of religious organisations, other organisations involved in education and social upbringing. “We hope to introduce them in 15 schools, 11 of which will be primary and four will be secondary as a start, and as the programme develops the government may decide to widen the scope of the application,” explained VP Afif.
Lastly, the cabinet was briefed on the analysis of the performance of students in state schools in the international October/November Examination Series 2022. “We feel that the results that we are getting in both IGCSE and GCE are declining in terms of quality of grades from the students,” said Mr Afif.
The target is to have 50% of students qualifying with grade C and above. It was reported that in 2021, 57% students achieved this goal however in 2022 that percentage fell to 44%, and a similar trend was noticed in GCE A-Level results.
Vice-President Afif said this decline may be as a result of the social problems that students are going through.
“It is important that all factors are studied, so that we have a complete understanding of where exactly the problems are so that going forward, we are able to offer our youths the best environment that will allow them to succeed,” he concluded.