International students in Seychelles to benefit from new regulations
Partial view of the main campus of the University of Seychelles where international students have been studying since 2015. (Mervyn Marie)
(Seychelles News Agency) - International students in Seychelles will soon benefit from a legal framework aimed at regularising the activities of foreign educational programs in the island nation.
The regulations cover legal aspects to ensure that the rights of visiting international students are protected. One of the rights is for students to have access to clear, balanced and accurate information on Seychelles and the concerned institute.
“More protection will also be guaranteed for the foreign students to ensure that any training institutions wishing to receive them will have to provide accommodation among all other requirements,” said Margaret Pillay, the deputy Cabinet Secretary for Policy Affairs.
The legal framework will put Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, in line with the SADC Protocol on Education and Training. Article 7(A) of Chapter 3 of the protocol states that “member states agree to facilitate movement of students and staff from the region for purposes of study, research, teaching and any other pursuits relating to education and training.”
It further adds that “member states agree to work towards the gradual relaxation and eventual elimination of immigration formalities that hinder free student and staff mobility”
“This regulation is an effort to give effect to such commitment by the government which is a signatory to the protocol,” said Jean-Michel Domingue, the chief executive of Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).
The commission was set up to advise the minister responsible for tertiary education and coordinate the development of this sector in Seychelles. It aims at ensuring that educational standards are maintained, national policies are implemented, and a regulatory framework for the tertiary sector is created.
“All post-secondary and university institutions will be controlled under the regulation and everyone joining this institution will go through TEC to proceed with registration,” said Johny Bastienne, the Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Institutional Affairs.
International students have been studying at the University of Seychelles since 2015. However, other institutions such as the Seychelles Tourism Academy, The Maritime Training Academy and the Blue Economy Research Institute are also looking to take in international students.
New regulations which will come into effect before the end of the year will allow foreign students to be able to work as they study. To ensure that everything goes well, necessary mechanisms are to be put in place to recognize their qualification and enable the transfer of credit.
Bastienne said that to come into effect, the regulation has to be signed by the responsible minister after it has been reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office.
“Having foreign students study in Seychelles is also good for the economy as any foreign student have to pay a fee and have expenses, thus contributing to the economy of the country,” said Bastienne.
He added that it builds and allows for exchanges between Seychelles and other countries.
At the moment there is only a code of conduct that was developed by the commission for tertiary education institutions wishing to enrol learners from overseas. Foreign students studying in Seychelles are currently being issued with a student permit.