(Seychelles News Agency) – The University of Seychelles (UniSey) will be organising a series of activities to raise funds for its 15-year celebration in September next year and to continue to provide quality education, according to a top official.
The UniSey’s marketing and communications director, Dolivette Chang-Ko, told SNA that the university is committed to providing quality education and research for its students but needs adequate funding.
“To continue our mission and because of the fact that we are a not-for-profit and not budget-dependent national university, we rely on the generous support of businesses and individuals in our community,” said Chang-Ko.
The first fundraising event will be a Gala Evening on Saturday, October 21, at the Kempinski Seychelles Resort in the western Mahe district of Baie Lazare.
“The proceeds from this gala will go directly towards funding four main projects in 2024, namely the international work-based experience for our students, the Open Lifelong Learning Centre, maintenance of classrooms, labs and staffroom, and UniSey’s 15th Anniversary activities,” she added.
Chang-Ko said that the gala is an opportunity for those who make contributions to receive “sponsorship packages that include benefits such as brand visibility, networking opportunities, and recognition during the event.”
The event will be an evening of celebration, filled with entertainment, fine dining, and an auction.
One of the areas the proceeds from the gala will fund is the international work-based experience for UniSey students.
This programme will begin this year with four students with a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education and Social Sciences students going for one month to Mauritius.
“This gives students a chance to experience work in other contexts, different from Seychelles, hoping that this would add to their professional development and equip them with skills to become more productive and proactive professionals,” said Chang-Ko.
However, she added that this experience is quite costly as it is not yet included in the current tuition fees and scholarships.
She said so far there has been a positive response to stakeholders that UniSey has gotten in touch with.
“We are even receiving support in terms of items for auction, prizes for the raffle, and some organisations, although they have not bought tickets to attend, they have confirmed their commitment to contribute towards one of the projects in 2024,” said Chang-Ko.
UniSey is the first national university opened in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. It was inaugurated in November 2010 in a ceremony at its Anse Royale campus by the then Chancellor, former President James Michel, and the Chancellor of the University of London, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal of the United Kingdom.
Prior to having its own campus, prospective university students from the island had to go to countries such as the United Kingdom and France to pursue their tertiary education.
“As a university, we have to cater to all the needs as much as possible. We are ready to train our citizens to learn how to learn on their own, at their own pace, in their own time, and for their specific needs so we value and believe in Open Lifelong Learning,” said Chang-Ko.
She said that from various meetings with ministries and the different professional centres, UniSey has seen an urgent need to introduce a bridging programme to enable students from post-secondary schools to access the relevant pathway to higher education.
“UniSey is in need of staff and a platform to roll out the courses as quickly as possible to respond to the demands of ministries and private clients. Moreover, the faster we can launch this Centre, the quicker UniSey will be in a better position to also respond. We sincerely hope that we will receive sufficient funding to start this programme as planned in 2024,” she said.
Having been open for over a decade, the institution’s authorities are also looking to renovate its current buildings.
“The staff offices, staffrooms, and classrooms are in such a bad state and the few buildings that we operate from pose significant health and safety risks,” Chang-Ko told SNA.
She added that there are falling portions of concrete slabs from the upper floors as well as mold and fungus in some areas.
As a result, UniSey employees have been working from home with an internet and telephone allowance “to allow academic as well as support staff to work away from the campuses for their comfort and safety”.
As of next year, UniSey has already tendered the project to carry out repair work “to continue safely and to upgrade the offices, staff rooms, classrooms; to purchase appropriate equipment.”