The agreement was signed by the managing director of the SEGi University and Colleges in Malaysia, Stella Lau Kah Wai (right), and the principal secretary John Lesperance. (Ministry of Education)
(Seychelles News Agency) – The Seychelles government and a top university in Malaysia signed an agreement on Tuesday through which Seychellois students will have access to online courses by the end of this year.
The managing director of the SEGi University and Colleges in Malaysia, Stella Lau Kah Wai, and the principal secretary in the Ministry of Education, John Lesperance, signed the agreement for cooperation in higher education at the ministry’s headquarters at Mont Fleuri.
The latest agreement will give Seychellois wishing to pursue further studies an affordable avenue to do so as the SEGi University and Colleges will be developing course content available on the africaopenlearning.com platform.
SEGi, which initially started out as Systematic College in 1977 in Kuala Lumpur’s tertiary education institution, has 20,000 students on its five major campuses in Malaysia.
Since 2016, students from Seychelles have furthered their studies there.
In March 2023, SEGi also held a school leadership programme for primary and secondary school teachers in the island state.
“What we really aim to do is to extend accessibility, to open up access to all people from all walks of life,” Lau Kah Wai.
The courses on offer cover various disciplines from diplomas in mass communications to a PhD in information technology.
“Education should not just be confined to a brick and mortar university but it should be accessible across all borders and across all needs and across all learning capabilities,” she explained.
The courses are available online so students can study at their own pace.
“This is especially needed for working adults, where it’s not possible to put your life on hold, to stop your work and enrol in a university full time. With the new course, prospective students will not have to choose between investing in themselves to study or giving up their steady income, or their job,” said Wai.
The course prices range from SCR7,832 ($594) to SCR118,792 ($9,023) depending on the subjects.
Speaking to the press after the signing, the Minister for Education, Justin Valentin, said that with the government’s new educational loans, these courses are affordable”.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, launched an Education Loan Scheme for people wishing to pursue their advanced or tertiary studies in May this year.
The scheme, which is a collaboration with six participating banks and Seychelles Credit Union, allows applicants to apply for a maximum loan value of SCR800,000 ($60,714) .
“This is an exciting process, as it may open avenues for our own local institutions to prepare their students to take up further studies online with SEGi,” he said.
Valentin also explained that the courses on offer are those not offered locally as “we do not want to hinder our own local institutions.”
There are also micro-credentials programmes with badges – which can be verified with SEGi to prove that the courses they have followed are accredited and the certificates they gained are verified. The badges may be used on a candidate’s personal digital file as academic accomplishments.
In 2022, the Seychelles government paid SCR202 million ($15.2million) to cover tertiary training.
Students qualify for government scholarships according to the results of their Advanced Level studies according to the UK qualifications system. They are expected to return to the island nation after they complete their studies and sign a bond agreement to work for a period of time.
The country also has its own University of Seychelles that was created in 2009 and provides a range of courses, but is still limited in the fields of study and professions it offers.