Seychelles is introducing a new Centre for Excellence in Technology to give secondary students, with more interest in technology enterprise rather than in academic studies, a better chance to excel in fisheries, agriculture, construction, food technology, transportation, and engineering, amongst others.
The new school for TVET - Technical and Vocational Education and Training - and technology studies will become operational as of January 2024.
It will be based in the current Perseverance Secondary School opened in 2018 on a man-made island adjacent to the main island of Mahe. The centre will accommodate students from all over Seychelles for secondary four and secondary five levels. As a result, other students from secondary one up to secondary three currently studying at the Perseverance Secondary School, will next year be accommodated at neighbouring secondary schools.
The director general for TVET and entrepreneurship at the Ministry of Education, Jean Alcindor, said that the school would lessen the pressure which exists on public secondary schools and will allow for better management of resources.
"Currently, we have the pathway of secondary general education and skills development and it is these students who are doing the TVET content or technology enterprise and they have a big interest in practicals," explained Alcindor in an interview on Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation TV recently.
Alcindor added that even though the centre will cater to mostly non-academic students, students with IGCSEs or who have the potential to do their IGCSEs but who have a passion for technology can join the centre.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training was introduced in secondary schools in 2011 and was intended to integrate the different aspects of education and training, vocational and general education, skills development and career orientation.
To ensure the success of this centre for excellence, the Ministry of Education will be working closely with the China-Africa TVET Alliance through the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
"We will be sending seven trainers, in May, June and July we will have a cohort who will travel to China, they will be going to Shandong, a province which specializes in TVET and technology. Upon their return, another cohort will depart in September, October, and November," explained Alcindor.
Alcindor added that: China has the specialisation in pedagogy for technology, and pedagogy in technical education, and they have the know-how on how to integrate technology and academic with technical studies.
These trainers will start the new programme and assist with the curriculum development for the start of the school programme in January 2024. Seychelles will benefit under the Africa China TVET Alliance for the next five years.
Raymond Jumaye currently teaches construction and engineering at Mont. Fleuri Secondary School has been chosen to teach at the new Centre for Excellence in Technology.
"I think it is a good move, as students will now have a better opportunity to develop themselves, develop their interests and passion further, and are better placed to get a placement at post-secondary institutions and for further studies and for a diploma certification, and later on a degree," explained Jumaye.
Nadia Bouchereau has been a careers guidance teacher for over ten years. She said, "I personally think for so long now we have not done justice to our less academic students ... those who have a passion for the outdoors or for other practical things. With this new centre we will give these students a golden opportunity as they will not be stuck in class doing maths or other academic subjects but rather what they have a passion for or are better suited for."
Bouchereau added that teachers will now have less pressure and more time to focus on the academic students. The career guidance teacher has also commended the initiative to send 14 teachers who will be teaching at the centre for training abroad, allowing them to return to a new centre with a fresh perspective and a new way of doing things.
Source: Seychelles News Agency