Palm forest on Mahé
Courtesy Brian Kensley
Until the mid-1800s, little formal education was
Seychelles. Both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches
mission schools in 1851. The missions continued to operate
schools--the teachers were monks and nuns from
the government became responsible for them in 1944. After
technical college opened in 1970, a supply of locally
teachers became available, and many new schools were
Since 1981 a system of free education has been in effect
requiring attendance by all children in grades one to
beginning at age five. Ninety percent of all children also
nursery school at age four.
The literacy rate for school-aged children had risen to
than 90 percent by the late 1980s. Many older Seychellois
been taught to read or write in their childhood, but adult
education classes helped raise adult literacy from 60
a claimed 85 percent in 1991.
Children are first taught to read and write in Creole.
Beginning in grade three, English is used as a teaching
in certain subjects. French is introduced in grade six.
completing six years of primary school and three years of
secondary school, at age fifteen students who wish to
attend a National Youth Service (NYS) program. Students in
NYS live at an NYS village at Port Launnay on the
of Mahé, wearing special brown and beige uniforms. In
academic training, the students receive practical
gardening, cooking, housekeeping, and livestock
the aims of the program is to reduce youth unemployment.
expected to produce much of their own food, cook their own
and do their laundry. Self-government is practiced through
sessions and committees.
From the time the NYS program was instituted in 1981,
with heated opposition and remained highly unpopular.
spend the entire period away from home, with parental
permitted only at designated times at intervals of several
months. Many consider the quality of education to be
indoctrination in the socialist policies of the SPPF is
the curriculum. Nevertheless, failure to attend the NYS
difficult to proceed to more advanced study. In 1991 the
program was reduced from two years to one year. The total
enrollment in that year was 1,394, with roughly equal
boys and girls. Those who leave school but do not
the NYS can volunteer for a government-administered
work program, receiving a training stipend below the
After completing their NYS program, students could
Seychelles Polytechnic (1,600 students in 1991) for preuniversity studies or other training. In 1993, responding
popular pressure, the government eliminated the
NYS participation in order to enter the Polytechnic.
strongly encouraged students to complete NYS before
work at age eighteen. The largest number of students were
teacher training (302), business studies (255), humanities
science (226), and hotels and tourism (132). No
higher education are available on the islands. Instead,
university and higher professional courses are usually
through various British, United States, and French
Seychelles has received funds for developing its
programs from several multinational sources. These include
grant from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
(OPEC) in 1988 and a US$9.4 million loan from the African
Development Bank in November 1991.
Data as of August 1994