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Moving the Tertiary Education agenda forward: Development of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) Strategic Plan 2017-2021

As part of the process of moving the tertiary education agenda forward, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), hosted a one day Strategic Planning Stakeholders’ workshop last week at the Coral Strand

TEC itself was created by the Tertiary Education Act (TEA) 2011 and has been in existence since 2012. Its mandate is to regulate, offer advice and make recommendations for the development of the tertiary education sector in Seychelles. In doing so TEC seeks to promote the protection of learners, safeguard the interest of its stakeholders, establish the confidence of industry and society and fulfill the human resource needs of the country.

The workshop was undertaken so that TEC would have the contributions of stakeholders across the sector in the development of its second Strategic Plan for 2017-2021. Fundamentally, this was vital in the context of the changing landscape and served to highlight the essential and pertinent issues that TEC needed to bring to the forefront in order to find common ground and resolutions on possible way forward. This was in line with the objectives of the workshop which was twofold: situate the profile of TEC in its current and emerging landscape; and elicit ideas from its stakeholders as to the strategic direction it should take for the next five years.

To lay the foundations for deliberations, the CEO of TEC, Mr Jean-Michel Domingue, launched the workshop through a presentation that served to situate TEC in discharging its mandate for the tertiary education sector. This was followed by presentations on current and evolving developments in tertiary education from both TEC and Ministry of Education (MoE) perspectives. A SWOT analysis of the Commission was then presented with the intention of getting participants to critically examine and embellish on the presentation from their respective point of view so as to encourage an integrated outcome. All presentations were relevant in the sense of ensuring that participants gained a solid, holistic and comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand and were, as it were, on the same page. The presentations on the whole stimulated some bold and enriching discussions with the intention of developing a healthier tertiary education sector for our small island state.

A persistent theme that ran through during the deliberations was the need for TEC to clarify its identity. This was mainly in terms of reviewing the legal and policy framework, rationalizing and harmonizing the different structures in place with regards to their functions and how they interface. This would enable the Commission to deliver more effective and efficient services to its stakeholders. Pertinent to that was the general agreement as to the need to review the Tertiary Education Act 2011 under which TEC operates.

This led to lengthy discussions with regards to the transition process that the Professional Centres (the former post-secondary institutions) have been undergoing since they have developed their respective charters and their boards have been appointed to provide governance. As such the issue of transition towards greater autonomy was highlighted as an area of immediate priority by those present. This was in terms of delineation of responsibilities and gradual delinking from the Ministry of Education and parent ministries. Accountability of the PCs, the involvement of partners such as the Department of Public Administration and the Ministry of Finance to resolve issues pertaining to human resources and finance respectively, were also raised as imperative considerations. More relevant was the role of TEC in facilitating this process, consistent with its mandate, especially with regards to the development and implementation of the statutes (approved institutional policies) upon which institutional autonomy rests.

Stakeholders present at the meeting

Another point which provoked animated debate was the importance of quality assurance to ensure that the PCs focus on improvement. This would enable them to have all their programmes recognized and the institution accredited.  In connection with this was the issue of having the PCs at different level in their development. This, for instance, includes, elements like strategic planning, linking up with strategic partners and marketing strategy. It was recommended that TEC should profit from the opportunities that this presents to encourage and promote the sharing of expertise.

A hot topic during the debate pertains to the quality of students coming into the tertiary education cycle. It was pointed out, and reinforced, the quota driven selection process creates a situation whereby PCs receive a large percentage of learners who do not necessarily meet the original entry requirement of programmes on offer. This, many argued, significantly impacts on the quality of graduates entering the labour market. In line with TEC's role in addressing this significant, yet sensitive issue, one of the suggestion that arose was the need to put increased emphasis on and valorize Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) as well as increase resources in this area. This would be one way to promote this form of education and training as complement to the academic route favoured extensively in our current education system.

In her closing address, the Chairperson of the Board, Mrs Margaret Pillay re-emphasized the significance of a collective approach in attaining the objectives of the workshop, when she conveyed to the participants that:

"We are all concerned for education in the country, starting from early childhood education, right through to tertiary education. We are all committed to the agenda of training our people and because of that we have opportunities to engage, share expertise and work together for the betterment of tertiary education in our country."

Essentially, the debates which she described as "fruitful deliberation" will help TEC in coming up with key targets and priorities for the next five years, enabling it to effectively move the tertiary agenda of better quality and greater accountability in tertiary education.

 

About Us

TEC is responsible for tertiary education and to co-ordinate the sustainable and harmonized development of tertiary education nationally.

 Tertiary Education Commission Seychelles

Contact us

TERTIARY EDUCATION COMMISSION (TEC)

Ministry of Education Headquarters
Mont Fleuri, Mahe, Seychelles
P.O.Box 418, Victoria


Tel. 4610 944 | Fax. 4610 923 
Email: ceosec[at]tec.edu.sc 

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