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On 18th December, 2018, at a ceremony attended by some 80 participants, the Government of Seychelles launched a 5-year Policy and Strategy on Human Resources Development (HRD) to support its Sustainable Development Strategy.
The Minister of Education and Human Resources Development, Honorable Jeanne Simeon, and Chairperson of the Agency for National Human Resource Development Board (ANHRD), Mr. John Stravens, delivered speeches on the state of education, skills development and the role of the private sector in Seychelles.
The African Development Bank has provided financial and technical assistance to the Government of Seychelles with a grant of almost $700,000 to support its effort to develop the necessary skills and competencies to support its growing economy, which depends largely upon the services sector, namely tourism, ICT, and real estate. By 2027, this sector is expected to contribute substantially to GDP and employment (around 14,000 jobs), increasing demand not only for doctors, engineers, CEOs, and pilots, but also for mid-level technicians and professionals.
Seychelles’ education system is geared to produce skills in higher education, in which the gross enrolment ratio has soared from 2.5% in 2011 to 21% in 2016. However, enrolment rates in TVET - which are necessary to produce middle level technicians - remain low.
“The Government remains committed to providing the conditions necessary for the development of human capital, which is Seychelles’ greatest asset”, said Honorable Jeanne Simeon, Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, at the launch ceremony.
While unemployment levels in Seychelles are relatively low at 4.3% for males and 6.4% for females, youth unemployment stands at 13% for males and 22% for females.
The private sector, the largest employer in Seychelles, reports difficulties in finding workers with appropriate skills. This is because skilled workers tend to be recruited by government and state-owned enterprises. Average public sector wages are 45% higher than in the private sector. In addition, according to the 2017 Enterprise survey, graduate skills do not match the needs of the labour market, and enterprises have had to import foreign labour.
Seychelles has a workforce of 47,000 people, 15,000 of whom are expatriates. This number has grown by nearly a third since 2010, proving the need to have appropriately skilled workers in Seychelles, as well as showing the shortage of skilled Seychelles workers for posts in professional, technical, managerial, and clerical occupations.
Seychelles’ ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report has declined in recent years. In the Doing Business Report 2018, where Seychelles ranks 95th out of 190 countries, the business community has identified three key problems: access to finance; the inadequately educated workforce; and poor work ethics.
During the launch ceremony, Minister Jeanne Simeon emphasised the need to share “the responsibility for HR Development with other stakeholders, including employers and partners. The Government stands ready to provide the necessary conditions and incentives for partners to work together and improve their commitment to lifelong learning and human capital development”.
With a population of less than 100,000 people, the Republic of Seychelles has the highest GDP per capita in Africa of $15,410 (2016). Seychelles’ Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2017 is also the highest in Africa, at 0.797, which puts the country in the high human development category, globally ranked 62nd out of 189 countries.
Seychelles has achieved universal access to education with high net enrolment levels: 90% of children enrolled in pre-primary, 94.7% in primary school, and 74.6% in secondary schools. However, escalating levels of youth unemployment confirm that there remains much to be done to improve the quality of education and align skills produced by the education system with the needs of the labour market.