Until the mid-19th century, little formal education was available in Seychelles. Both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches opened mission schools in 1851. The missions continued to operate the schools — the Catholic teachers were monks and nuns from abroad — even after the government became responsible for them in 1944. After a technical college opened in 1970, a supply of locally trained teachers became available, and many new schools were established. Since 1981 a system of free education has been in effect requiring attendance by all children in grades one to nine, beginning at age five. Ninety percent of all children also attend nursery school at age four.
The literacy rate for school-aged children had risen to more than 90 percent by the late 1980s. Many older Seychellois had not been taught to read or write in their childhood, but education classes helped raise literacy from 60 percent to a claimed 85 percent in 1991.
Currently the public school system consists of 23 crèches, 25 primary schools and 13 secondary schools. The schools are located on Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette. There are also three private schools: École Française, International School and the Independent school. All three private schools are located on Mahé, but the International School has a branch on Praslin. There are seven post secondary (non-tertiary) schools. They are the Seychelles Polytechnic, School of Advanced Level Studies, National Institute of Education, Seychelles Institute of Technology, Maritime Training Centre, Seychelles Agricultural and Horticultural Training Centre and the National Institute for Health and Social Studies.
The current administration has advanced plans to open a university on the islands in an attempt to slow down the brain drain that has occurred in the past. Initiated in conjunction with the University of London, the Seychelles are launching education programmes which will include teaching and lead to the award of the recognised qualifications from the University of London.
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