UAE to support Seychelles in reinforcing STEM subjects in schools
Promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the school curriculum in Seychelles was the focus of discussions between Seychelles and the UAE on Wednesday.
Rashid Salem Al Shamsi, the director of the development cooperation department of the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and his delegation met with high-level officials of Seychelles’ education ministry at Mont Fleuri.
The four STEM school subjects were identified in the past as one of the weaknesses of the educational system of Seychelles.
Seychelles’ principal secretary for education sector development, John Lesperance, told the press that in 2018 the country started working with the UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education for the implementation of work to put in place a STEM programme. Due to the global pandemic and a change within the administration of the international body, the integration of STEM in the school curriculum did not happen.
“We were approached by UAE, which asked if we would like their help and we saw that as a good opportunity. If they can bring us this kind of support, it will be a big plus for the Ministry of Education to introduce STEM in the system. We live in a modern and digital world and there is a need for us to introduce STEM into our system,” he said.
Lesperance explained that to ensure continuity, the island nation wants to involve the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (SITE) in the planning from day one so that they can help the would-be teachers.
The UAE delegation also held discussions with members of the National STEM Committee to learn more about the various activities undertaken to promote it in Seychelles.
The delegation said that STEM was introduced in the UAE in stages through a pilot project in some public schools in 2016. Today, STEM has been integrated into the curriculum of all public and private schools in the emirates, with improvements now being made.
Following discussions at the ministry, the delegation visited Perseverance Primary School, located on the outskirts of Victoria, to see an organic garden, an example of the application of STEM education in a school’s daily activities.
The delegation also met with students who were awarded prizes for various STEM competitions organised at both national and international levels by the Division for Science, Technology, and Innovation of the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship, and Industry.