‘Quality education’ the way forward


I am pleased to see that the Seychelles Weekend Nation dedicated its middle-spread this week to Teachers’ Day 2012.

The various photos you published depicting President Michel and the Minister for Education Mrs Macsuzy Mondon actively engaged with long serving teachers and others clearly reflect the importance which the government attaches to the challenge of education in this country today.

However, I was most perturbed though not surprised with the statement of the Minister for Education – “As we bid farewell to the 10 teachers who are retiring let us make it our civic duty to seriously consider how each and every one of us concentrate in our own way to help address the teacher recruiting challenges that continue to haunt our Nation. We need teachers to teach our children.”

This statement has an S.O.S. tone about it and is an obvious admission that our young people are not too enthusiastic about embracing the teaching profession and that given a choice, the most brilliant of them prefer to study law, business management, medicine, engineering, rather than become a “Professional Educator.” Why is this situation so? Is it because the “Professional Educator” is not sufficiently remunerated or the perception that our society does not afford teachers the social status respect which they deserve?

I understand that in the advanced society of Finland, the best performing pupils each year are selected and encouraged to pursue the career of a “Professional Educator” with a job situation guaranteed at a remuneration level at par with the norm of other professions.

There is no doubt that if Seychelles is to maintain its momentum towards becoming a more respected and sophisticated society, along the line of President Michel’s desire to leave behind a legacy of Seychelles being a jewel which will continue to shine, that we must not only stand for a proactive policy of general education but also insist on a policy of “Quality Education” which should be inclusive of ‘savoir faire,’ ‘savoir vivre,’ community living and global awareness.

I was glad that your feature article on Teachers’ Day also carried the story of our Minister for Education paying a surprise visit to the few remaining sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny Convent.
 Many of us in Seychelles are very much aware of the important and influential role which various missionaries have played in our educational history. These people came to us “in the service of the Lord” but sadly over the last 50 years the world has witnessed a progressive decline of the religious influence in education as materialistic egocentricities have taken over.

I certainly do not think that in future we will see many of the likes of Sister Dominic, Sister William, Frère Louis, Brother Austin and others coming our way. May God bless the soul of those departed – and may He continue to enlighten our leaders in the task of providing our people with “Quality Education” that will enable us to cope with the demand of a globalised world in a manner which takes into account the importance of ‘savoir faire’ and ‘savoir vivre’ in a stable and relatively prosperous environment.

James R. Mancham

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