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Part I: Descriptive Section

DEMOGRAPHY

The Seychelles is a small resource deficient country lying 4 degrees south of the Equator in the western part of the Indian Ocean approximately 1600 kilometres off the east coast of the main continent of Africa.

It consists of a group of 115 islands comprising both granitic and coralline, all located far from the trade and financial centres of the international economic system, with a total land area of 453 square kilometres or approximately 45,539 hectares. The Republic of Seychelles is considered as one of the small island nations, forming a part of the African continent, but cut off from the mainland by the Indian Ocean. This isolation and insularity has influenced the socio-economic setting of the country of its own, which is quite different from the rest of the African Continent. The Seychelles is a multi-racial country with people of different origins race, colours, belief, all blended together to make the cheerful and friendly Seychellois nation.

It is not only in terms of land area that the Seychelles is considered a "small nation" but in terms of population as well. With an annual growth rate of 1.0 per cent the Seychelles’ entire population of 74,000 in accordance with the 1994 census, is concentrated on the main island and distributed as follows:

Mahe, the largest, has 88 per cent of the total population, of which 40 per cent located between Victoria, the capital, and the International Airport, a belt of 7 by 1 kilometres; 10 per cent on Praslin and La Digue; the other islands account for the remaining 2 per cent. The low population growth rate reflects a low birthrate and until recently, net emigration.

Table 1 shows the overall potential of the population available in the Seychelles for productive employment based on the age criteria in 1993 and projected to 2002, whereas

Table 1 ( not available)

Table 2 provides us with the school-going age population for the period of 1990 and projected to the year 2005, by geographical distribution.

Table 2 (not available)

Representing almost_______ per cent of the total population the school-going age population has a demonstrably significant bias toward the prime age range of Creche to Primary six with approximately _______ per cent of the total group. The sex distribution, males and females, are almost in perfect equilibrium, reflecting normal distribution found in the population.

The school-going age population is largely concentrated on Mahe, the main island where most of the economic activities are concentrated. Mahe covers nearly 34 per cent of the total land area and has a population density of 411 persons per square kilometre. The population is relatively young, with 50 per cent currently under 24 years of age, of which _______ per cent are in the school going age group of 5 to 16 years. The schools going-age population is expected to increase by _______ per cent to reach ……… by 2005, of which _______ per cent will be females.

ECONOMY

The Seychelles economy is a service oriented one: services, including tourism but excluding government, accounted for nearly 61 per cent of GDP in 1992 thereby emerging as the most important sector. However, the overall contribution of tourism to the economy is mainly in its interrelationship with other sectors. If the early 1980’s government put much emphasis on economic diversification, particularly in small-scale manufacturing, the latter has remained relatively low key. This sector accounts presently 12 per cent of GDP. Their development is limited by the remoteness of the country from its main sources of inputs, the smallness of the local market, the shortage of technical know-how and skilled labour, and difficult topography. Comparatively high wage levels have also restricted the scope of industrial development in recent years. Production is largely confined to a few import-substituting industries. These are in the form of joint-ventures between local parastatals and foreign investors while others are privately owned. Agriculture accounts for only 4 per cent of GPD. The poor soil quality has forced specialisation in a limited range of activities with mixed results.

All macro economic parameters need, however, to be looked at against the background of the Seychelles presenting a special case because of its size, its location, and its historical and cultural antecedents. The openness of the country’s economy, where the value of imports and exports is almost 58 per cent of GDP, makes is unusually sensitive to external shocks. The smallness of the economy makes it difficult to reap economies of scale and secure the critical mass required for many economic activities. Considering the present unstable macroeconomic situation in Seychelles, it will take considerable time before the private sector can take advantage of the numerous fiscal measures which government puts in place to disengage itself from the productive sectors of the economy. Effective revenue generating measures in the social sectors of the economy enable the state generate a sizeable surplus hence maintaining the level of public sector capital expenditures. The need to be more competitive and reduce its dependence on an unpredictable external economic and financial environment, bold and decisive measures by the government will move the economy from one of predominantly "high consumption" to a productive and sustainable one.

As a typical island microstate, the Seychelles has specific development problems that have only recently been analysed. At the theoretical level, a successful foray into diversification, by a microstate like Seychelles can only occur in activities whereby such a microstate can maintain its comparative advantage over time, relative to its largest and better endowed competitors. Invariably such activities tend to be, by nature service-oriented, labour-intensive ones, since these are activities which are not generally observed to demonstrate marked variation in labour productivity over time and across countries.

In spite of the negative macroeconomic trends which influence the development of the economy and which continue to date, the budgets for the past ten years continue to reflect the

commitment by the government to social welfare. The country’s economic progress and prosperity is possible by a large extend after it has provided and given the best opportunities to its children and a future they can look forward to. Table _______ shows the budget allocation for the period of 1990 to 1999 and the share for education, of which ______percent goes to pre-primary and primary education.

1.1 EFA GOALS AND TARGETS

Since the time when the Ministry of Education produced its new version of the educational system under the title "Education for a new Society" in 1985, important changes have occurred in Seychelles, changes which have to be reflected in this sector today.

Education and the operation of schools in Seychelles are government by the Education Act. This act contain the policy of the Government with respect to education: the responsibilities of the Minister, education zone, it defines the education system, schools administration, etc. Under this Act education is compulsory to all children aged 3 up to the age of 16 years, and free to all.

September 4th 1990, saw the President of Seychelles, Mr France Albert Rene announce the most wide-ranging improvements to education in a decade and was later proclaimed "1991 Education Reform". Decided upon by the Central Committee of the Seychelles People’s Progressive Front in consultation, with parents and the public at large, the changes will take several years to implement. This decision was taken in line with the World Conference Declaration adopted in Jomtien in March earlier that year.

The 1999 Education Reform was aimed at changes in the secondary cycle of the Seychelles education system, as such creches were unaffected. However, improvements planned before the reform as part of a continual upgrading and refining of education in Seychelles were to continue. These included the possibility of lowering the entry age for creche year 1 by a year to three years; continue to upgrade the physical infrastructural facilities and to create conditions to attract all children of this age-group to attend this programme and to attain virtually 100 percent participation rate.

Universal Primary Education

The 1991 Education reform did not address primary education directly as most of the facilities and the basic learning needs targets had almost been achieved. The main goals and targets for this programme were to improve access and quality of education at this level through teacher training standards, better physical infrastructural facilities and continue to provide free education to all.

Improvement in Learning Achievement

Monitoring of learning achievement is in its infancy stage and only being institutionalised now. Seychelles did not participate in the SACMEQ 1 Exercise as no structure was in place. However, the Education Management Division in the Ministry of Education launched in 1994 the "School Improvement Programme Project". The impact of this programme is yet to be measured. On the otherhand the SACMEQ II Exercise was launched during this year and results, are not ready.

There exist also a National Examination for the primary six pupils. The main aim is to generate performance information which provide the yardsticks by which each school can make judgement about its actual achievements. These are norm-referenced analyses and can make no conclusions about any absolute standards attained by any student or school.

Adult Literacy

Adult Literacy in Seychelles is given as much importance by the government as any other forms of education programmes. This programme has taken different dimensions in the past. The main focus then was on functional literacy. Since the Jomtien Declaration mass campaign has been a major instrument in reducing the adult literacy rate. The adult literacy programme is organised centrally under the anspices of the Ministry of Education and its objectives match the basic tenets of the national education, one of the which is education for all. The main goals were to attain a literacy rated which is well over 90 per cent at the turn of this century. Little disparities exists between the male and female literacy rate. Female participation rate is always higher than that for male and no differences exists on a geographical location point of view.

Training in Essential Skills

The national curriculum provides that every child reaches it full potential through an integrated development that empowers himself to participate fully in society.

In Seychelles, training in other essential skills required is encapsulated in the education programme from creche onwards. Each child after completing a specific cycle are able to perform certain skills, which bears positive behavioral impact in the development of attitudes and formation of concepts. The Ministry of Education plays the lead roles and is assisted by other Ministries, like Health, Social Affairs, Finance and others to a lesser extent.

Education for Better Living

Education for better living has and still is one of the principles on which the Seychelles education system is based. As one of the principles of education it is embodied in the national curriculum and reaches all person attending some form of education programmes in the country. Education is geared towards increasing knowledge, skills and values required for better living not only through formal schooling programmes but through all available means of mass media, cultural activities, etc, as well. All these are proven to be very effective as they each have their specific audiences, hence making education in Seychelles a life long process, with people learning at all ages.

1.2 EFA STRATEGY AND/OR PLAN OF ACTION

The Mission Statement of the Ministry of the Education stipulates that the vision of education in Seychelles for the new millennium is to build a coherent and comprehensive system of quality education, reflecting shared universal and national values, which will promote the integrated development of the person and empower him/her to participate fully in social and economic development.

We appreciate that in a world where market forces and advances in communication technology are accelerating the trend towards globalisation and the interpenetration of cultures, one of the main challenges for young people is to play their part as dynamic agent of change while maintaining the equilibrium which comes from a sense of identify and continuity. This is also the challenge for Education today. Equity is a necessary condition in a society founded on the dignity of the person, the maintenance of a tradition of social harmony, and the recognition of the right of every citizen to contribute in a meaningful way to national development. Equity has largely been achieved in terms of equity of access to schools and to programmes of education and training. The concept of equity is now being extended to provide for programmes which enhance the conditions for optimum achievement by every group, including the gifted, the slow learner and the learning disabled. Emphasis also is being placed on the maintenance of gender balances in performance as well as to continue providing equal opportunities for training and fair chances of success to both genders. Training opportunities will be extended to match the career aspirations an ability profiles of young people and maximise the contribution of each and everyone to national development. The driving-force behind the on-going quest for quality education in Seychelles is a cadre of professionals who are not only competent but also able to look critically at their own practice. A constant re-examination of teaching methods and strategies in the light of advances in educational technology is one of the trade-marks of teacher committed to life-long professional development. Schools will be transformed into real communities of learners as teacher acquire the habit of looking beyond their individual classrooms and working collaboratively towards whole school improvement. At institutional level quality may be achieved through schools which acquire the capacity to evaluate their own performance and to take appropriate action, in a planned, focussed and systematic manner.

Our progress as a society depends on our ability to manage the process of change with boldness, confidence and creativity. The democratic structures in schools will be further strengthened to give young learners a voice in decision-making and enable them to acquire the interpersonal and communication skills which are vital for effective participation in society. This will be achieved through the vigorous pursuit of "relevance" in all education and training programmes. In a climate of increased competitiveness and rising expectations from children, parents and the wider community, there is a corresponding pressure on schools and the Ministry to be more accountable for educational provision and outcomes. Being a major beneficiary of Government budget allocations in times of stringent spending, education requires to be more efficient and show that it has clear processes for evaluating outcomes. Accountability to those served by education must lead to the development of more open and transparent systems for providing regular information on all aspects of children’s education, and acknowledge the right of children and parents to be kept informed and consulted on all matters which affect them. Accountability also comes from within through the development of a culture of self-education, planning and target setting which will promote all schools and sections of the Ministry.

Productivity in education will be enhanced through a system which sets to high expectations, accustoms learners to hard work, exposes to both manual and intellectual work in their formative years and prepares them thoroughly for career choice and the transition to the world of work.

A sense of community soliderity with others is one of the most precious legacies of our tradition as an island nation, characterised by racial and religious harmony. It is important to cement these social bonds which not only define our identity as Seychellois, but also nourish our sense of social commitment, and allow us to continue to provide a model of peace and integration to the world. The exponential growth of science and technology in recent years has created and awareness of the vulnerability of planet Earth, and sharpened our sense of interconnectedness as citizens of the world. In bringing the world much closer to our shores, communication technology has given us the capacity to tap into a wealth of information which can be harnessed for our own development and enrichment. A mastery of modern media of communication by our learners will ensure that Seychelles can operate confidently within a commercial and cultural environment that increasingly relieves on the rapid transfer of information by electronic means.

1.3 EFA DECISION-MAKING AND MANAGEMENT

As a result of the Jomtien Declaration of 1990, the convention on the Rights of the Child among others ratified, the Seychelles Government directed the education process towards the fullest development of personality and mental and physical abilities of Children and other learners as the country had achieved equal access and full enrolment during the compulsory schooling years. Government’s commitment to education is enshrined in the constutution and is elaborated in the Education Act.

The schools Section in the Education Management Division has the main role to ensure that the principles that enderlie the education policy are implemented in all three cycles of the education system. It has to guarantee the provision of quality education for all in schools under its control. It initiates, manage and sustain change and development that bring about better progress through improved and more effective teaching and purposeful learning. To take this Division a step closer to their goals the School Improvement Project was launched in 1994. As a result of the 1999 Education Reform much emphasis have been given to this project. The school Improvement Secretariat is now made responsible for its management and further development. To compliment this initiative a new section has also emerged in the Principal Secretary’s office, namely, "Quality Assurance" Its role is to assure quality of education and bring about improvement, through the process of both external audit and internal evaluation of quality.

The Reform also saw the emergence of a new and supreme decision-making body to take the education system into the next millennium. The Education Planning Council chaired by the Minister or by the Principal Secretary is a policy making body, coordinate the development of strategic plan and monitor its implementation among other of its functions. It is being assisted in these functions by other newly set up national education committees and boards.

1.4 MAIN EFA EVENTS AND ACTIONS SINCE 1990

The UN convention on the Rights of the child was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly of the UN on November 20 1989 and came into force on September 1990. Seychelles was amongst one of the first countries to ratify the convention in 1990. Ratification of the convention did not require any immediate amendment to Seychelles legislation. In 1990 the Government put forward its policy statement put forward its policy statement on children outlining goals in health, education and improvement of the general standard of living. The President of Seychelles, Mr France Albert Rene, attended the historic World Summit for children in September 1990, and Seychelles has adopted the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and the accompanying plan of action in addition to the Convention.

In September 4 1990, President F.A Rene announced the most wide-ranging improvement to education in Seychelles in a decade, proclaimed 1991 Education Reform. The main legislation dealing with children is the Children’s Act 1982, this was amended in 1991. This Children’s Act clearly reflects the principles of the Convention especially the guiding principle that the best interest of the child should be the first consideration.

A National Seminar was held in June 1993 to launch the National Programme of Action for Children. Seychelles also received extensive assistance from donor agencies and international organisation in the area of children’s right and programmes. The United Nation Children’s (Fund UNICEF) has been particularly active on issues relating to the implementation of the Convention.

The Constitution of Seychelles as third republic which came into force on 23 June 1993 enable a large number of principles contained in the Convention be included in the form of Constitutional guarantees. Above all Education and the operation of schools in Seychelles are government by the Education Act.

There are regular and continuous coverage of the media especially ratio programme and public education and awareness programmes on children issues. The National Council for Children (NCC) The Committee for Awareness, Resilience and Education (CARE) and other NGO’s continuously use the media to focus on programmes and activities which promote the development and participation of Children. The main factor preventing fulfillment of enjoyment of the rights under the Convention is lack of resources both financial and human.

In January 1999 Ministry organised a conference with the theme Education Charting a Course for 2000 and Beyond" to celebrate 20 years of the declaration in Seychelles. This gave rise to the 1999 Education Reform. This reform has brought about wide structural change in the public education system to take it into the third millennium.

1.5 COOPERATION IN EFA

Since 1997, the Seychelles Government has embarked on the nobled and complex task of creating a comprehensive education system for the children, and so to meet the ever-growing manpower needs of a fast-developing society. A comprehensive education system among many other objectives means adequately catering for children of every ability. Only thus can the

country ensure true equality of opportunity for all. In 1991 the compulsory years of basic education was increased from 9 to 10 years.

Education in Seychelles is not only compulsory but is available free to all by the Government. Public schools is supported 100 percent by the state through the annual budget allocation.

Locally there are no institutions that support basic education services. The main thrust now is to develop the spirit of partnership with the wider community.

The principal external partners in education during this decade have been the UNICEF, African Development Bank, the Nigerian Trust Fund, WFP USAID, France, UNESCO. However, some of them have ceased to operate in the country and other states that the GPD is too high to be assisted.

1.6 INVESTMENT IN EFA SINCE 1990

For the first half of this decade Government was the sole financier of education on Seychelles. The private schools in operation were providing education to the children of foreign embassy and other international agencies based in Seychelles. With the coming of multipartism in 1993 Private schools were allow to operate freely and Seychellois children could cot between private and public schools. From 1994 to date only two private school have been set up to provide education a par with Government. Private school are private business entity and are fee paying. Nevertheless total expenditure in education has remain stable despite less children are attending

public school. Total expenditure in public education grew in real terms. The pupil per capita cost in (public) primary schools increased from Seychelles Rupees (SR) 4,624 in 1992 to SR 5,100 in 1997.

A major school reconstruction project was launched in 1990 and was virtually completed in 1997. It capital outlay was approximately SR116.0 millions and con-financed by the African Development fund and (SR93.3m) and Government of Seychelles (SR22.7m). This project was necessary, to bring all schools in Seychelles irrespectively of its geographical location to the minimum standards set by Government in pursuit of its education goals. Investment had not only been in the area of providing physical infrastructure but in terms of education materials resources, equipment, textbooks and training of teachers as well.

While relatively small financial outlays were needed to achieve the set goals and targets for literacy the centre has been self-financing to a very large extent and the returns in return of improved human capital and benefits outweighted immediate and expenditures. Toward the end of the decade some mechanism were introduced to bring changes in the pattern of expenditures notably participation of community and parents and New Scheme for teachers salaries was introduce for better reward in this vacation.


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