SBSA starts induction sessions for 165 new students |05 March 2021
The Seychelles Business Studies Academy (SBSA) yesterday started induction sessions for its largest intake over recent years, as other professional centres gear up for reopening on Monday March 8.
The academy, who has this year accepted a larger intake of 165 students who successfully met the entry criteria, is conducting inductions in smaller than usual groups, starting off with two sessions yesterday, held at 9am and 1pm. A third session is being held this morning for students hailing from the inner islands, before the school term officially kicks off on Monday.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic and public health restrictions enforced against the propagation of the virus, the academy has over recent months had to adapt, and adopt digital technologies to facilitate the teaching and learning process for employees and students of the academy.
Director of SBSA, Josianne Bristol, in a brief interview yesterday said that despite the challenges presented with the adoption of digital technology at the academy, it has also served to force the academy, staff and students out of their comfort zone, towards a blended learning mode which could soon be adopted by the academy.
“This year’s intake is our largest in a few years and the reason it is such is because we don’t like to leave anyone who qualifies and meets the requirements behind. Our plan for the first-year students is to get them settled at the soonest possible, and to early on familiarise them with the digital platforms including the online portal, Microsoft 365, the student learning management platform and others through which lecturers are disseminating lessons,” she said.
“Considering the big cohort, it is very unlikely that we will have the space to cater to all of these students on campus, and therefore familiarising them with the digital learning platforms is not only convenient now that we are faced with the pandemic, but will also prove useful in the long-term, allowing us to cater to more students, while also preparing the students for their careers ahead, because as we know, digital technologies is playing an ever-increasing role in our daily lives, and in industries and the careers that they will eventually move on to,” Ms Bristol explained.
For the present moment, the first-year students will be attending classes on campus until they are accustomed to the digital platforms and their respective courses.
As for students already in their second and third year of study, online classes resumed as of January 18. These students, having been at the school last year when the pandemic hit, have also had to adapt and are now proficient enough in the relevant digital leaning platforms to have online classes on a full-time basis.
“It is a challenge but we have taken it as a challenge that has helped us to improve. When the school was first closed in March 2020, access to internet was an issue for staff and students. But since the reopening in May, we ensured to rectify the matter and now students are being assisted with a special phone package so they can all have access to their learning and programme materials. It has indeed been a learning curve for the school but at the same time, it has led lecturers to develop new and novel methods of teaching and has helped us to improve as an academy,” Ms Bristol added.
Going forward, SBSA is considering moving into blended learning, which involves face to face contact at school, but also a virtual learning component, allowing the academy to cater to more students.
In addition to SBSA, the National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS) also held an induction session yesterday. All remaining professional centres are scheduled to start sessions as of Monday.