A UNIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE INAUGURATED, A PROMISE DELIVERED
The University of Seychelles has been formally inaugurated during a ceremony at the Anse Royale campus this afternoon, by the Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, President James Michel and the guest of honour, the Chancellor of the University of London, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal Princess Anne.
The academic procession was led by the university registrar Mr. Elvis Julie, and also included the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Sir Graeme Davis, the President of the University of ‘Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne Professor Jean-Claude Colliard, the President of the University of Reunion Professor Mohamed Rochdi, the President of Université Juridique Numérique Professor Jean-Claude Masclet and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning.
During his inauguration address, the Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, President James Michel said that he was proud that the University of Seychelles is ‘the University of the people.’
The President noted that the University of London had the same ambition when it opened its doors 150 years ago.
“Their vision was to allow anyone with the required abilities to be able to achieve university training, irrespective of background or ability to pay. The University of Seychelles is designed in a similar philosophy, and will be the training ground for students from all walks of life, from whatever background and age. This is my dream for all Seychellois. We are a country which abounds with opportunities and we must take those opportunities seriously,” said President Michel.
The President called the university ‘the engine of transformation’ for the creation of a knowledge-driven world, and he urged the students to study hard, and ensure the success of the university through their effort and commitment to learning.
President Michel also recalled that he had made a promise to the Seychellois people; to create a university and give the opportunity for higher education to all Seychellois.
“It is a promise that I made when I assumed the presidency – that I will steer our country to a new phase of development that will bring more progress. Development that will continue to defend the principles of social justice and equal opportunity for all our citizens. Development that will continue to create the conditions that will foster the development of our youth. Our university is here. Our students are here. Together, we are ready for the future,” said President Michel.
The President and the Princess Royal together unveiled a statue of the Greek philosopher Plato in front of the University, sculpted by the artist Tom Bowers.
“It reminds us that we add to our current knowledge, we don’t lose it… Plato’s knowledge and wisdom is still relevant today. We keep adding to that sum of knowledge and we need bigger establishments to help us use it. I am sure the University will do that for the Seychelles. I am delighted that the University of London has been part of the support,” said the Chancellor of the University of London, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal Princess Anne.
The Princess Royal congratulated the University of Seychelles on its inauguration, and reminded students and academic staff that ‘education is defined as training for life.’
During the ceremony, Dr Rolph Payet was formally invested as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Seychelles by the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Sir Graeme Davis.
“Youth of Seychelles, you are the future of Seychelles. Our leaders of today have laid the foundations for peace and stability, our social and human development. We will now become the building blocks of the new modern Seychelles…. Our graduates will be equipped with the latest thinking, the ability to innovate, to do things differently, more efficiently and enhance our national wealth, “ said Vice-Chancellor of UniSey, Dr. Rolph Payet during his acceptance speech.
Following the inauguration ceremony, students of the university also expressed their excitement and pride in UniSey inauguration.
“It is an honour to be among the very first batch of student to attend UniSey, a really special moment. The visit of HRH Princess Anne is such a privilege for all the students and on behalf of the students, we thank her for doing them the honour to officially inaugurate the University of Seychelles with President James Michel,” said Magalie Ernesta, the President of the UniSey Students Union, and a second-year student in the Bsc Business Administration programme.
The establishment of the University of Seychelles is in line with President James Michel’s vision to create a ‘knowledge based society’. It was during his speech entitled ‘ Our Ambition as a nation’ to mark the 14th anniversary of the National Day on 18th June 2007, that the President outlined his vision and that is to create a ‘knowledge-based society’, to create a university to provide greater opportunities for the youth of Seychelles. He noted that ‘the times have changed from when we said that Seychelles was too small to have a university’.
Before the creation of the University of Seychelles, all students had to travel abroad to places like England, Australia, India and New Zealand to pursue their studies at the university level.
The University of Seychelles project is primarily funded by the government, however a number of private businesses have invested into its creation and still supporting the project by offering scholarships to the students. It is to be noted that people from all walks of life donated part of their salaries towards the creation of the University of Seychelles.
The University of Seychelles came into existence on 17th September 2009 during a small ceremony at State House. The President of the Republic, Mr. James Michel and his cabinet of ministers were amongst the attendees. During the ceremony, formal documents were exchanged; the university got the license to teach and power to award degrees. The President of the Republic, Mr. James Michel was named the Chancellor of the University of Seychelles and Dr. Rolph Payet the Vice Chancellor and President of the University.
The University of Seychelles opened its doors on the 04th October 2009 with a cohort of 53 students. Initially the university was offering undergraduate courses in two programme areas; Business Administration and Computing and Information Systems. The main campus was formerly the seat of the Seychelles Polytechnic, which was funded by the People’s Republic of China
Over a year later, the university has increase its student base to over 300 students located on two different campuses, with the main campus located at Anse Royal. The university is now offering pre-undergraduate, undergraduate and post-graduate courses. The university aims to become trilingual, however it is currently offering courses in English and French instruction. The UniSey students can also choose from a wider range of courses in fields such as geography and environment, law, economics, banking and finance, international business as well as tourism.
Most of the pre-undergraduate and undergraduate courses are being offered through the University of London International Programme. This means that UniSey uses the materials from the University of London as the core of the course delivery.
The University of Seychelles is also affiliated with a number of overseas institutions offering higher learning including the University of Edith Cowan (Australia), ‘Université de Paris I – Panthéon Sorbonne’ (France) and the Amity University( India) .
The Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Seychelles, Dr. Rolph Payet has announced that UniSey will continually expand on the range of courses on offer. He says that as the University expands, people in employment will also be able to follow courses and that will be on part-time basis.
The University of Seychelles is in fact the first independent, non-for-profit higher education institution in the country.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, Dr. Payet has said that the ‘university would become an engine for real change and progression – in education, business, governance, technology and science”.