Education in Seychelles
The Republic of Seychelles, a small island state located in the western Indian Ocean, is an archipelago consisting of 115 islands with a landmass of 445 square kilometres. Only four of the larger islands (Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette) have a permanent sizeable population. The population is concentrated on Mahé, the principal island, where the administrative centre of Seychelles has been established. Population growth is relatively low at less than 2 percent per year. Seychelles has developed a multiracial society with Christianity as the dominant religion and Creole as the mother tongue. English, French and Creole form the three national languages. Although there have been attempts at diversification, the Seychelles economy depends on tourism.
Since 1977, the year of independence, education in the Seychelles has been guided by the following policy concerns: education for all, education for life, and education for social and national development. The numerous reforms that followed independence were driven by the egalitarian principles of providing equal opportunities, the humanitarian principles of social justice and the educational principles of experiential learning. They were spearheaded by structural changes such as “zoning” where “all children had to go to school in their residing districts”, by innovations in the secondary school, and the establishment of the polytechnic as the centre for further education. These reforms were consolidated by the amendment of the education act, expansion of the infrastructure to accommodate new schools, development of support services, and the continued renovation of teacher education.
The education system of Seychelles provides full access to ten years of general education, and in the year 1999 the net intake rate into primary schools was 100 percent. Dropout at primary level is not a problem although there are some instances of unexplained absences. In 2000, for example, 60 cases of truancy were being followed-up by the Student Welfare Unit at the Ministry of Education. However, dropouts in the last two years of secondary education were recorded as twenty-five percent in 2000. This may be a sign of deficiencies in pupils’ learning that may need attention.
Curricular reform had been initiated in the primary and secondary school with the launching of the National Curriculum Framework and the Ministry has been concerned with implementing strategies to improve the quality of education. The School Improvement Programme (SIP), aimed at improving pupils’ performance by introducing and implementing development planning in schools, has been functioning since 1995. The Quality Assurance Service set up in 1999 to support the internal evaluation of schools (which originated from SIP) and carry out external evaluation of schools is yet another indication of the Ministry’s commitment to high standards and to increase the effectiveness of the education system.
On becoming a fully-fledged member of SACMEQ in 1999, the Ministry of Education participated in and supported the SACMEQ II project, which was an extension and refinement of SACMEQ I and included achievement in mathematics and reading comprehension at Grade 6 level. This provided a sound means of evaluating the quality of basic education.
*latest data as of March 2009 from UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
Minister of education: Hon. Bernard SHAMLAYE
Education in Seychelles is comprehensive, co-educational, and free of charge to all Seychellois children for a period of 13 years (from Crèche or pre-primary to secondary). In the year 2000, there were 3,065 children in preschool and over 10,000 pupils in primary schools, and nearly 8,000 students in secondary schools. At the same time, a flexible option system of post-secondary, further and continuing education has been evolving. This includes vocational training institutions under the auspices of other Ministries. Within the Ministry of Education, there is an Industrial Training Centre, a college of further education (the Seychelles Polytechnic), a teacher training college (National Institute of Education), and an Adult Learning and Distance Education Centre. There is no university, and students follow graduate and other advanced courses abroad. However, collaboration and linkages with universities in other countries are being established.
All children between the ages of 5 to 6 and 15 to 16 must attend school. The Education Act of 1983 made provision for nine years of compulsory schooling. This was extended to ten years in 1991. The Ministry of Education operates six years of primary (P1 to P6) and five years of secondary schooling (S1 to S5). The number enrolled in each group has remained fairly stable at around 1,600 pupils in each year of the primary/secondary cycle. This does not include the 7 percent who attend private primary or secondary schools.
Pre-primary (crèche) education
Secondary education is delivered in regional secondary schools. Instead of students remaining in the district where they attended primary schools, they are now being concentrated into fewer regional centres. The process of establishing ten regional secondary schools that was carried out during the 1990’s is now essentially complete. All pupils from the primary schools enter the secondary school at S1. Students follow a core curriculum from S1 to S3, which is then followed by an option system in S4/S5 as students prepare for the National School Certificate and the Cambridge O-Level examination.
Seychelles is characterised by a highly centralised education system with a common curriculum framework, common textbooks and learning teaching materials. The Ministry of Education manages the schools through individual head teachers; it controls facilities, resources, staffing, and budgetary allocation. One of the important objectives of the education system is to provide equal opportunities for all and to distribute resources equitably.
SACMEQ II (2000) Reading achievement
SACMEQ II (2000) Math achievement
For more country statistics, see also: