By: Patsy Athanase Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame
(Seychelles News Agency) - A second cohort of Zambian teachers is expected in Seychelles this month following the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Saturday to address an acute teacher shortage in the island nation.
Under the new six-year agreement, 32 teachers from Zambia -- 23 for primary and nine for secondary schools – are expected in Seychelles ahead of the third school term in September.
The new teachers will join 43 Zambians already teaching in public schools on Seychelles' three main islands, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
The memorandum of understanding was signed on Saturday morning at the headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, between the Seychelles’ Minister for Education, Jeanne Simeon, and her Zambian counterpart, David Mabumba.
The agreement “sets a significant milestone between our two ministries in our ongoing collaboration and it also marks the consolidation of a true partnership,” said Jeanne Simeon, the Minister of Education.
She said that such collaborations also provide a platform for mutual benefits for the education professionals.
“Our local teachers have benefitted from the expertise of the Zambian teachers in certain areas such as design technology and hospitality. Likewise, the Zambians have followed several development sessions notably in IGCSE and ICT,” she added.
For his part, the Zambian Education minister, David Mabumba, said that Seychelles and Zambia enjoy warm and cordial relations in sectors such as education and hospitality. And that it was against this background that his government did not hesitate to respond to the call when the request for Zambian teachers was made.
“The signing of the MOU will not only strengthen the current bilateral relationship but will also increase the cultural exchange between the two countries,” said Mabumba.
He added that “the signing will open other future opportunities for expansion particularly in the education and hospitality sectors.”
Seychelles launched a recruitment drive in August 2017 after being unable to recruit teachers locally to cater for the increasing demand. Zambia was the first country to respond and the process which culminated with Saturday’s signing started in September 2017.
The first cohort of 48 teachers was recruited between May and July 2018; two have already left for personal reasons.
The teachers are on a two-year contract, which is renewable, and will teach science, mathematics, geography, information communication and technology (ICT), and design and technology.
The chairperson of Teaching Service Commission in Zambia, Stanely Mhango, explained that the teachers have to go through an intense recruitment exercise which includes interviews but other aspects as well.
“We consider the number of years in the profession and experience and maturity, taking intro considerations they are coming here as ambassadors for Zambia and also as ambassadors for the teaching profession,” he said.
Furthermore, for the second cohort, the Zambian authority has produced a training manual for the new teachers.
“This will be used for induction before they are finally deployed to Seychelles so that in terms of professional issues, they are up to date. And in terms of how they are expected to conduct themselves here in a foreign country, bearing in mind the cross-cultural issues,” added Mhango.
There are 26 primary and 11 secondary state schools in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
Presently, there are 1,050 teachers including 173 foreigners working in public schools.