Reconstruction of La Digue School: Seychelles seeks finance from Saudi Fund for Development
Hassan accompanied a delegation from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) on a visit to the school spread over a compound, with various outbuildings. (Ministry of Finance)
Seychelles is seeking financing from the Saudi Fund for Development for the reconstruction of the La Digue School, which is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2023, the Ministry of Finance said in a press statement.
Finance minister Naadir Hassan recently accompanied a delegation from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) on a visit to the school spread over a compound, with various outbuildings, some dating back to 60 years.
The reconstruction of the school on Seychelles' third most populated island was announced by Hassan in his 2023 Budget address to the National Assembly on November 4.
A four-member delegation from the Saudi Fund for Development was in the country to evaluate the technicality of the reconstruction.
"It is important for the government to get this project underway, because it has been promised to Diguois for a long time, and from what I have seen during this visit, the reconstruction is indeed long overdue," said Hassan.
The chief executive of the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency, Jitesh Shah, explained that the reconstruction of the La Digue School is just one of several projects the government has submitted to the Saudi Fund for Development for financing.
"We have revisited the initial project and have come up with a new architectural design and we have submitted the new project proposal to SFD for funding," said Shah.
The Saudi team comprises technicians and it was important for them to visit the site and understand how the project is to be implemented.
The Saudi Fund for Development needs to comprehend the logistics of the project "especially as we will be building the new school on the same site, there will be a need, for example, to construct temporary facilities to enable learning to continue, while construction takes place," added the CEO.
The first phase of the construction of the new La Digue School is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2023 and it will span over a three-year period, scheduled to be completed in 2026.
"The construction will be undertaken in two phases, because of the relocation and movement of students and staff on the site. The new school will be bigger, with more space, to cater especially for technical rooms. There will also be space for further extension, if the need arises," said Shah.
Currently, there are more than 500 students at La Digue School, which is the only school in Seychelles where both the primary and secondary levels are in one compound.
On the main island of Mahe and Praslin, primary and secondary schools are located in separate compounds.
When the reconstruction starts, it is expected that most of the existing school will be demolished to make way for the new modern school and apart from classrooms, other facilities will be constructed including a multi-purpose court.
Since the school is located on flat land vulnerable to flooding, that is one challenge the new construction will factor in.