The République des Seychelles/Repiblik Sesel is an archipelago of 150 islands in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar. The population is 82,247 and the literacy rate is 91.8%. English is the official language, although Creole is spoken more than English.
The islands were first visited by Europeans in 1609 when the crew of the British ship Ascension landed. Seychelles has no indigenous population, and residents can trace their ancestries to France, Africa, England, India and China. In 1756, France established a colony on Seychelles and, as a result of the 1814 Treaty of Versailles, England was granted control of Seychelles and Mauritius. In 1903, Seychelles became a crown colony separate of Mauritius and independence was granted on June 29, 1976.
Although Seychelles had been a British colony since 1814, schools were not established on the islands until 1944.
Education is free and compulsory from the ages of 6 to 15. Primary school (P1-P6) is 6 years beginning at age 6. The language of instruction is Creole from ages 6 to 10, and then English is gradually introduced as the language of instruction, with French introduced as a foreign language. At the end of the 6th year, students sit for a national attainment test to measurement educational achievement.
Secondary school (S1-S5) is 5 years, although only 4 years are compulsory. At the end of the 5th year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE O-Level). Since 2004, students have had the option of sitting for an external examination leading to the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which will eventually replace the GCE O-Level. Students also sit for another national attainment test to determine admission to post-secondary programs. Prior to the 1998-99 academic year, secondary school was 4 years and was followed by a year of National Youth Service (NYS). NYS included academic studies, as well as instruction in practical life areas, such as cooking, gardening, housekeeping and raising livestock. NYS was discontinued in 1993.
Post-secondary programs are offered at Seychelles Polytechnic and the National Institute of Education. Seychelles Polytechnic offers a 2-year upper secondary program leading to the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) as well as one- to three-year certificate and diploma programs.
Plans and fundraising have begun to establish Seychelles University.
Primary and secondary school teachers are trained at the National Institute of Education of Seychelles Polytechnic. At least 5 passes on the GCE O-Level or an IGCSE are required for admission. Primary and secondary school teachers must first complete a two-year program leading to the Pre-Diploma. Students continue on to one of two, one-year programs leading to the Diploma 1 in Teacher Education for primary school teachers or the Diploma 2 in Teacher Education for secondary school teachers.