Three dozen additional Zambian teachers are expected to join their colleagues in Seychellois classrooms as part of a memorandum of understanding between the nations that will help Seychelles overcome its lack of local teaching staff.
The new teachers will join 43 Zambians already teaching in public schools on Seychelles' three main islands.
A delegation of senior officials from Zambia was in the country last week for discussions with the Seychelles' Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.
"In this MOU, we have support for teaching cadre as well as other initiatives. We know that nationally we have a shortage in teachers at secondary and professional centres and the Zambian government has been kind enough to respond to our request for help in the supply of teachers," explained Jeanne Simeon, Seychellois Education Minister.
Simeon added that "as per other memoranda before concluding the signing, usually the delegations from the two countries meet and agree on the requirements of the MOU. Already some 40 teachers from Zambia are in our various schools teaching various subjects."
"We are happy to respond to the request of your government for an extra 36 teachers. Our coming here is the demonstration of our commitment to this noble cause," said the chairperson of the Teaching Service Commission of Zambia, Stanely Mhango.
Mhango said the selection of the teachers for Seychelles was "very selective and competitive and was done in transparency with many government departments involved."
"The teachers before coming to Seychelles were told that the government of the Republic of Zambia expected them to discharge their duties, demonstrate high standards, uphold professional standard both inside and outside the classrooms, maintain high-performance levels and carry out their roles and responsibilities with dedication and commitment to the learners," said Mhango.
The six-member delegation of the education and public service sector from the southern African country spent a week in Seychelles, where they also visited some schools on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, to meet with all Zambian teachers working here.
The visits were also to know more about the conditions of their work, to see how the newly recruited teachers are coping as well as give them an opportunity to express their grievances such as issues and challenges they are facing.
There are 26 primary and 11 secondary state schools in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. Presently, there are 1,050 teachers, including 173 foreigners, working in public schools.
In December last year, when the Ministry announced plans to recruit more Zambian teachers, the principal secretary for early childhood, primary and secondary, Odile De Commarmond explained the first thing that the Zambian needs to adapt to "is the school curriculum as in their country they have their own examination system and they do not train students for International Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)."
Once in the country the Zambians will be teaching science, mathematics, geography, information communication and technology (ICT), and design and technology which are subjects in Zambia's educational system.
Apart from Zambia, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development is also recruiting teachers from Mauritius and is exploring possibilities with Fiji, Madagascar and Philippines.