‘The Right to Right Information’
June 18 is the Constitution Day of Seychelles. In 2015 for the first time various activities were organised to commemorate the day and one such activity was the donation of copies of the simplified version of the Constitution to schools. This symbolic gesture by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Francis MacGregor, underlines the importance of knowing our Constitution.
In fact the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles has been a topic of study in the Citizenship Education under Personal and Social Education since the early 1990s and in 1993 when the Constitution of the Third Republic was adopted, all schools received copies of the document.
With the Education Reform 2009/2010, one of the priorities was to give more visibility and importance to Citizenship Education. The Ministry of Education implemented this decision through Education Circular No. 1 of 2012 whereby Citizenship Education is delinked from Personal and Social Education and becomes a discrete subject on the school time table from primary to post secondary institutions.
The Centre for Curriculum Assessment and Teacher Support (CCATS) which is responsible for curriculum development got engaged in different projects in order to implement the decision.
A Framework for Citizenship Education was developed. CCATS developed new instructional resources, organised capacity building workshops for educational institution heads, curriculum leaders and teachers. Talks and presentations by high ranking officials among whom was the acting Chief Justice, Attorney General, Secretary of State to the Cabinet, Clerk of the National Assembly, director general for Immigration were also included in the capacity building. Teachers from secondary and post secondary institutions also had the opportunity to go on educational visits to State House, the Palais de Justice and the Court system in order to empower them to better teach the subject.
The content of the Citizenship Education has always been based on the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic. The methodology is based on non partisan pedagogy, democratic principles and the approaches used are Human-Rights-based, Values-based, Life Skills-based, Gender sensitive and responsive. It is imperative therefore that the schools have copies of the Constitution of the Republic as one of the core references. In 2012 State House donated copies of both the original version and the simplified version for all educational institutions.
A public speaking competition was organised by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the National Celebrations Committee for public and private educational institutions on the theme ‘The Constitution Day’. It was pleasant to note during the event how the participants made easy reference to this document in their presentations and many of them had copies of it with them.
While enjoying the ‘Freedom of Expression’, it is important that people, particularly newsmakers make evidence-based declarations, when relating to matters of national importance.
Contrary to what was insinuated in the TODAY newspaper of June 17, 2015 and again of June 20, schools already have copies of the Constitution of the Republic. Nevertheless the Ministry of Education welcomes and thanks the President of the Court of Appeal for the donation of the 23 additional copies of the Simplified Constitution.
To conclude we are proud to say that the government, the Ministry of Education have invested a lot to create more awareness about the Constitution of the Republic and we continue to create more opportunities to provide Citizenship Education. It is our duty and right to give the right information to the people of Seychelles, when we feel that there is a great necessity to do so. To all those who want to know more about the “teaching of the Constitution”, the doors of the CCATS division at the Ministry of Education are wide open for the accurate information.
The Right to Right Information must be adhered to by all those wanting to inform the public.
Contributed by CCATS