President James Michel, who is also the Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, has applauded the hard work, determination and resilience of the students and staff of the university, after he was presented with a copy of the Certificate of Recognition of the University of Seychelles as a Registered Centre of the University of London, at a ceremony at the Anse Royale Campus this morning.

The University of Seychelles achieved the ‘Registered Centre’ status in April this year, becoming one of 70 educational institutions in the world to have this award.

The President said that the UniSey is a success story that tells the importance of believing in ourselves, and believing in the empowerment of the Seychellois youth. He said he felt very proud that the university would become the ‘knowledge hub of the Indian Ocean.’

“Hats off to the hard working staff and leadership at the UniSey. You have shown determination, resilience and have braved the hurdles. It is today a recognition of all your hard work to make the University of Seychelles what it has become today. It is a proud day for the University of Seychelles. It is a proud day for Seychelles. Today UniSey is set to move to greater heights. We are preparing for our international intake and our research centres. Thank you all for being part of the realization of a beautiful dream. Even if you are a small country, if you want to make it happen, you have to dream and dream big, and then realize it!” said the President in his address to alumni and staff of the university.

The President recalled that in 2007 in his National Day Address he announced plans for creation of the university, saying at the time; “We have reached the stage in our development where we have to take bold and daring decisions to take Seychelles and the Seychellois to the next level. The times have changed from when we said that Seychelles was too small to have a university. Our Seychelles may be small in size, but we have grown. We have grown in maturity, we have grown as a people, and we have grown in our capacity. Today, we resolve to develop this capacity further.”

He thanked the members of the Seychelles University Foundation which helped to create the university under the chairmanship of Professor Rolph Payet, for their invaluable contributions in helping to pave the way forward.

He also recalled how “we were ridiculed and how skeptical some people were; some said that we were too small and some said that we do not have the capacity to make it happen. But we proved them all wrong, we do have the capacity and we made it happen! Today it is happening in a big way and it is documented by award that has been given to us by the University of London.”

During his address, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, Professor Dennis Hardy said that the University of London panel which came to assess the university, prior to giving it ‘registered centre’ status, made very positive comments about the service delivery of the institution.

He said the panel commended a clear vision and a strong sense of governance at UniSey.

“They were very impressed with the institution overall and emphasised that now UniSey has built a strong structure it is important to maintain stability in the leadership team…..  They were also very impressed by the academic staff who were dynamic, enthusiastic, showed initiative and were very positive about the institution…the panel noted a variety of teaching methods and opportunities provided to students who are encouraged to show initiative…..  The panel was pleased to meet with a wide range of students all of whom were forthcoming and very positive about the institution and complimentary about their lecturers…. …. The panel noted that the institution is clearly addressing student support issues. ….Finally, one of the most interesting points made by the panel is that students are benefiting from studying at a small institution where they experience a personal service,” said the Vice-Chancellor.

The university was launched in September 2009 and studies started in October that year. The official inauguration took place on Monday 29th November 2010 in the presence of President James Michel and the University of London Chancellor, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, Princess Anne. Since 2009, the University of Seychelles has had a total of 68 bachelor’s degree graduates and 397 certificate and diploma graduates who completed its various study programmes. It also had a total of 56 master’s degree graduates under the Seychelles Young Leaders Programme.

Today there are 1,330 students enrolled at the university. Partner institutions include; the University of London, L’Université de La Réunion, and L’Université de Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne, Amity University, India, the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI), and the Institute of Public Administration, Ireland.

Prior to visiting the Anse Royale campus of the university this morning, President Michel also visited the campus at Ma Joie where met with the staff and students of the Guy Morel Institute, and then he proceeded to tour the Seychelles Centre for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology at the Mont Fleuri campus of the university, where he also spoke with students and staff.