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Regulations put in place for recruitment of international learners

Cabinet has approved the development of regulations for recruitment and enrolment of international learners. Recommendations for the alignment of other regulations to cater for such international learners which include Immigration, Health, Employment, Tertiary Education structures have an aim of ensuring requirements for movement of people beyond borders for education purposes reflect national, regional and international requirements.

The regulations follow the development of a code of conduct by the Tertiary Educations Commission (TEC) back in 2016 , which were later changed to regulations upon advice from the Cabinet Office and approved by the TEC Board in November 2017 and now by the Cabinet on 1 August 2018.

Two underpinning principles of the regulations are; equal treatment of all students irrespective of being local or from overseas with special considerations for international learners . To recall, TEC has a broad duty of care, especially for learners below 18. International learners must be provided with clear, balanced and accurate information on the Seychelles and the institution at which they wish to study.

In an interview with Jean Michel Domingue, CEO TEC and Guilliane Philoe, Principle Research Analyst, they highlighted that the regulations cover the role of TEC as the administrator of the regulations which includes monitoring the institutions and ensuring that they adhere to all the regulations.

Ms Philoe explained that the regulations require all institutions to provide information about accreditation status of institutions and its programme, as accorded by the Seychelles Qualifications Authority and the institutions must also have an International Office, headed by an officer whose main function will be to facilitate their recruitment and enrolment into the institution concerned whilst also ensuring that they are also comfortably accommodated so as to be able to give undivided attention to their studies.

“The regulations also covers the roles and responsibilities of contracted agents who market institutions, contractual and financial obligations of institutions as they deal with international students, welfare – structures and mechanisms to be in place when they recruit and enroll students including health insurance in case of emergencies, information on accommodation applicable to learners and realistic estimates of cost of accommodation,” said Ms. Philoe.

“Basic guidelines for accommodation include secure, comfortable and conducive environment to facilitate learning,” reiterated Mr. Jean Michel.

For learners below 18 years, one of the requirements is consent of their parents: institutions must put in place a mechanism for constant communication between international learners and their parents and the international officer should update parents on the progress of their children and any issues that may arise.

Mr. Jean Michel pointed out that all learning institutions have a duty of care. For example, if there are students living with relatives (homecare), the institutions must make sure that they do frequent visits to these homes to make sure that the students are safe.

As it is now, the Immigration and Employment departments do not allow international students to work in the country. Recommendations have therefore been put in place to rethink about allowing students to have part-time jobs under certain conditions to enable them acquire some income. Ms. Philoe suggested that dialogue should take place between the government, department of Immigration and Employment, TEC and the various learning institutions

According to Mr. Jean Michel, if Seychelles wants to improve this sector, students ought to be allowed to engage in some form of employment. “This conversation should start as soon as possible if we want to create an avenue for institutions to invest in international training and create revenue for both the government and the institution,” said Mr. Jean Michel

The School of Media Studies, closed down by the government in the early ‘90s, is an example of an institution that recruited private learners from overseas and had between 50-100 students from overseas including East Africa.

Mr. Jean Michel reviewed the records of international learners and currently Unisey has five and Seychelles Tourism Academy has been a facilitator for many international attachés in the tourism and hospitality sector. However, he strongly believes that there is potential for growth which should happen in the private sector.

Once the regulations become law, after the Attorney General’s input, towards the end of this year according to Mr. Jean Michel, the regulations will be available on the Tertiary Education Commission’s website and will also be made available to all institutions. Various learning institutions were consulted during the process of making regulations.

Source: C. Ouma / Today in Seychelles

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