21 October 2013 Noting Seychelles’ efforts to develop a marine-based economy while reducing ocean degradation and alleviating poverty, an independent United Nations human rights expert today urged greater attention to teaching skills in the ‘blue economy.’
Following his first visit to the country, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, said that technical and vocational education and training, and collaboration with industry and enterprises “must be strengthened to ensure that the Seychellois acquire the skills and competencies needed to build the nation.”
He noted a lack of dedicated, training teachers, a trend he called “very alarming” and said that the profession “is not attractive enough” for the quality education needed.
“If the quality of education is to improve, measures must be taken to restore the esteem of the profession, as well as teaching conditions, to ensure the best students are attracted to teaching,” Mr. Singh said, warning that recent gains made in education are at risk if the crisis in teaching recruitment is not urgently addressed.
During his eight-day visit to the Seychelles, which started on 14 October, Mr. Singh met with President James Michel and other senior Government officials, as well as representatives of civil society, teachers, and students.
“The active participation of all sectors of civil society, including teachers, students, their parents and communities, is vital for a well-functioning national education system,” the UN independent expert said during visits to primary and secondary schools and public universities on the main island of Mahé.
Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes. Mr. Singh will present his report to the Council in June 2014.
Among the recommendations expected in his report will be continued support for the President’s National Renaissance Program.
“This program provides a blueprint on how the serious social issues being faced by children at home and in schools can be addressed, but it can only succeed if parents and communities are actively engaged in dialogue and actions to find solutions together,” said Mr. Singh.
“Strengthening personal, social and civil education in schools, and enhancing discipline in schools, are important means of addressing this challenge.”
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