11 November 2017

Seychelles: Seychellois Teachers March Again, Demand Security At Schools

Seychellois teachers of Mont Fleuri Secondary marched on Saturday -- the second time this week -- and were joined by their colleagues from other schools on the main island of Mahe.

The teachers first took to the streets on Wednesday to protest an incident in which one of their colleagues was assaulted on school grounds.

Teacher Kevin Monthy was beaten on Tuesday, allegedly by three family members of a student who was being disciplined for inappropriate behaviour.

Another case was reported on Thursday, where an expatriate teacher at English River secondary school was attacked by two students.

Teachers have also signed a petition which they will present to the Minister for Education Joel Morgan on Monday asking for better working conditions, taking into account their security, salary and work load.

The group of around 200, including teachers, expatriates and parents marched from the school located in the central district of Mont Fleuri through the capital Victoria.

The teachers said that for too long the authorities in Seychelles - a group of 115 islands in western Indian Ocean - have only been reactive to the issues of discipline and behavioral problems which they say they face every day at school.

A teacher from Cascade primary school said, "At primary school we are very concerned because even though most of these problems occur at secondary level, we are not spared. We do have difficult parents, who does come to the school and are violent and who sometimes threaten us."

Morgan also said that eight students from three secondary schools, including the two brothers involved in the assault on teacher Kevin Monthy, have been expelled. Monthy's injuries included a fractured skull and other wounds to the head that required stitches.

Morgan said that the ministry will be giving compensation to Kevin Monthy and Nifa Moumou, who was also assaulted in June.

Last week Morgan announced several measures being taken to ensure more security at the Mont Fleuri secondary school. He also met with all security firms on contracts with schools where this issue was discussed. Morgan said around $2.3 million will be used next year for security at the schools.

Teachers, however, say that security firms must have support, as schools are big and some lack the necessary facilities.

"Fences are not safe. Instead we think the presence of the military on school grounds will deter both students and parents from misbehaving," said a teacher from Bel Eau Primary School.

John Hoareau, a former teacher and member of the National Assembly for the district of Beau Vallon, who also attended the protest march, said that an insurance policy is urgently needed for all teachers.

"We also need to look at what to do with children with discipline and behavioural problems, they must also be able to get the chance to get reform and reintegrated in the society," Hoareau told SNA.

Some teachers felt that the problem is escalating and that waiting for the construction of a new juvenile reform centre will take too long.

"We already have infrastructure that the government can use, we have the school on Silhouette Island, and all facilities are there. We cannot wait any longer, these students must be removed in school and get specialized help," said Miss Isabelle, a teacher since 1981.

According to the Ministry for Education a new facility for young people with behavioural problems will be built next year at Cap Ternay in the western Mahe district of Port Glaud.

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