afrol News, 30 November - Seychelles, a nation of only 85,000 inhabitants, yesterday inaugurated its first university. The small nation hopes to reverse the "brain drain" resulting from students having to travel abroad.
The University of Seychelles yesterday was formally inaugurated during a ceremony at the Anse Royale campus by the Chancellor of the new university, Seychelles President James Michel, the Chancellor of the University of London, Princess Anne and prominent guests from France and Réunion.
During his inauguration address, President Michel called the university "the engine of transformation" for the creation of a knowledge-driven world, and he urged Seychellois students to study hard, and ensure the success of the university through their effort and commitment to learning.
During the ceremony, Dr Rolph Payet was formally invested as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, or "UniSey". Finally, the President and Princess Anne together unveiled a statue of the Greek philosopher Plato in front of the University, sculpted by the artist Tom Bowers.
President Michel recalled that he had promised "to create a university and give the opportunity for higher education to all Seychellois" when he assumed the presidency in 2004. He had also earlier noted that "the times have changed from when we said that Seychelles was too small to have a university."
Before the creation of the new university, all Seychellois students had to travel abroad to mainly England, Australia, India and New Zealand to pursue their studies at university level. Many Seychellois intellectuals opted to stay in the country where they had studied.
The University of Seychelles project is primarily funded by the government,
Ceremony of inauguration of the University of Seychelles
however a number of private businesses have invested into its creation and are still supporting the project by offering scholarships to the students. According to government, "people from all walks of life donated part of their salaries towards the creation of the University of Seychelles."
While the new university was officially inaugurated yesterday, it informally opened its doors in October last year with a cohort of 53 students. Initially the university was offering undergraduate courses in only Business Administration and Computing and Information Systems.
Over a year later, the university has increased 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.
According to government, "the university aims to become trilingual, however it is currently offering courses in English and French instruction." UniSey students meanwhile can 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. It also cooperates with the Australia's University of Edith Cowan, France's Sorbonne and India's Amity University.
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