Seychelles has a developed education system with primary schools and secondary schools across the three main islands of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. In addition, there are three private schools in Mahé and one in Praslin. Seychelles has a variety of biodiversity and relies heavily on its marine resources. The country’s area comprises more than 99% water, and tourism and fisheries are the main economic activities. However, the marine resources face serious depletion because of lack of public awareness and sustainable development initiatives. Therefore, there is great need for environmental education and behavior change across the islands to mitigate these threats and create a sustainable future.
Policy & Practice
EE in K-12 Education
Environmental education is taught across the school curriculum, at primary and secondary schools in Seychelles, in order to reinforce a holistic understanding of environmental problems. Each school in Seychelles has an environment leader, who oversees its environmental education program. The leaders also encourage students to participate in activities relating to the EcoSchool program, which was established in 1994 to promote the improvement of school surroundings and make them more environmentally friendly. As an incentive, the EcoSchools compete in environmentally friendly activities to win the top prize of a trip to Aldabra, a world heritage site managed by the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF). More than 100 Seychelles students have had the opportunity to visit Aldabra’s pristine environment since the trips began in 1999.
Teachers across the Seychelles continue to show interest and commit time for eco-school programmes and promote care for the sensitive and pristine environment of the Seychelles Islands. In her Master research thesis, titled An investigation of stakeholders’ participation and learning in two schools within the Seychelles Eco-School programme, Emilie (2014) stated that many of the teachers in Seychelles are participating and learning in joint discussions, curriculum and lesson planning through environmental activities and projects and teacher professional development sessions.
EE in the National Government
The Seychelles Ministry of Education remains optimistic that much can still be done to develop an environmentally conscious public in the country, and acknowledges that it is a necessary and long-term process to ensure the next generation has the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that are needed to safeguard the country’s biodiversity and natural beauty. In 2000, the Environmental Education Unit at the Ministry of Education was established in order to ensure that this emerging issue is integrated and taught in all schools. This unit helps implement the Seychelles EcoSchools program.
The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change also supports implementation of the EcoSchools program, along with a number of other environmental education initiatives, including holiday camps, school rainwater harvesting projects, school organic gardens, and raising awareness by celebrating environmental UN theme days.
National EE Campaigns and Funding
Additional environmental education programs are implemented through various non-profits. In 1994, the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles was established to provide opportunities for youth to learn about the country’s environment through extracurricular activities. They are responsible for successfully raising awareness among youth about terrestrial conservation issues, and work on establishing a wildlife club in each primary and secondary school in the Seychelles. Moreover, the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) has worked in environmental education in the Seychelles since 2010, providing funds for several marine education and awareness projects. The SOSF Island School Seychelles (SOSF–ISS) works closely with the Environmental Education Unit at the Ministry of Education. SOSF–ISS endeavors to provide quality marine environmental education and awareness for youth and to create marine ambassadors who can embrace and protect the country’s exceptional marine environment.