Compared to school systems worldwide, Seychelles schools and further education institutions are well staffed, Seychelles primary schools pupil to teacher ratios (2007) equaled 12:1, 13:1 in secondary and 10:1 in post secondary institutions. Based on the Ministry of Education statistics of 1985 to 2003, there have been relatively small fluctuations in these ratios over the past twenty years. Some 85% of teachers have received pedagogical training ranging from one-year certificates to a Bachelor of Education (B Ed) and postgraduate certificates. At present the minimum qualification for primary teaching is a four-year diploma which may lead to a B Ed in two more years of study; for secondary teaching it is a B Ed. Almost all primary school teachers are Seychellois but in secondary and post secondary institutions 11% of teachers are expatriates originating mainly from Sri Lanka, India, and Kenya. This makes for a certain degree of instability in staffing at that level, along with wide differences in teacher expectations. Seychelles school infrastructure is generally of a good standard with most schools having been rebuilt or renovated over the past ten years.
Seychelles pre-school or crèche education is not compulsory but it is available free of charge and 85% of all children in the 3½ to 5 year age range attend crèche. There are 33 crèches and they are usually located close to district primary schools and are run by the same management team. There are also 27 private day-care centers that cater for 52% of children aged 2 months to 5 years. In 2005 the total pass rate for A level students in Seychelles rose by 1% from the previous year to 98%.
Seychelles Primary Education
Seychelles primary education is compulsory for all children starting from the age of 5 years and there is 100% enrolment. A zoning policy for government schools obliges children to attend school in the district of their family’s residence. Four of the 26 primary schools in the country are located on three other islands (Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette) and three are privately owned and run. Primary schools range in size from one group per year level to six groups.
A broad-based curriculum is offered throughout the six years of primary schooling, organized in three primary cycles (Crèche – P2: Cycle 1, P3/P4: Cycle 2 and P5/P6: Cycle 3). In the first four years of schooling (i.e. in Cycle 1), Creole, the mother tongue of 99% of Seychellois, is the medium of instruction, after which there is a gradual shift to English.
Children also learn French as a foreign language.
Seychelles Secondary Education
Seychelles secondary education is compulsory (comprising of a minimum of four years and a maximum of five) and students have to attend one of the 10 regional secondary schools found on the three main islands or one of the two private schools. Enrolment in state secondary schools is 94%, while 4% attend the private schools. The regional schools are inclusive in nature and are generally quite large in size, with 700 to 1000 students per school. In 2003, 12 students dropped out of school. Precise figures for previous years are not available because data received from some schools was not always complete. However, it is estimated that over the past eight years, between 10 and 20 students dropped out of secondary school each year. This does not include the 200 or so who choose to leave school at the end of Secondary Year 4, on completion of 10 years of compulsory education. Anecdotal evidence suggests that non-completion of compulsory secondary education is associated with persistent truancy related to longstanding disaffection with school, frequent suspension, drug (mainly marijuana) and/or alcohol abuse, and pregnancy (although some students return to school after having a baby). A follow-up programme is now in place which is aimed at helping Seychellois school drop outs until they are 15 years old. When a student reaches 15 years of age they exempt from compulsory schooling.
The Seychelles secondary school curriculum offers a certain amount of subject choice through an option system that includes core, academic, and technical subject combinations. Information Technology (IT) is taught on a rotational basis in the first three years of secondary school, after which it becomes an optional subject. Seychelles academic curriculum leads to a national examination at the end of the fifth year, when students may also sit for international Cambridge ‛O’ level examinations (General Certificate of Education) provided they meet the examination standard criteria. (The country’s examinations system has been linked to the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate – UCLES – since colonial times). Private schools in Seychelles follow an international curriculum, with the two main institutions offering the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
Seychelles Post-Secondary Education
Seychelles further and higher education is provided in nine different post-secondary institutions, courses offered range from one-year certificates to four-year diplomas. The Seychelles University was established in 2009 and currently consists of 175 students. For students wanting to study abroad, the country offers a number of linkage programmes with universities overseas which enable students to study at degree or post-graduate level through distance learning programmes. Currently these include partnerships with the universities of Edith Cowan (Australia), Manchester and Lincoln (UK), Rouen (France) and Indira Ghandi National Open University (India). Most training institutions offer a range of one-year to four-year training programmes in a number of different technical and vocational areas. Entry into full-time post secondary education is competitive and generally about 70% of the full year group population (an average of 1320 yearly) gain access to full-time courses. The remaining 30% may join part time training programmes or seek employment. Whilst the adoption of a free and comprehensive school system has provided access for all, the system is still unable to effectively cater for all abilities and ensure success for all.
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