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School improvement in a small island developing state: the Seychelles

By Marie-Thérèse Purvis


This thesis presents an evaluative case study of school improvement initiatives in the Seychelles, in a context specific to small island developing states (SIDS). It examines the complexities of borrowing a school improvement model from a larger and more open system (the UK) and the possibilities for adapting it to the local needs. It also considers the significance of the small island and centralised contexts into which the school improvement model was imported. In so doing, the research attempts to determine the factors that may help schools in the SIDS context to develop the internal capacity to improve and to establish the basis for a possible model for school improvement in SIDS.\ud The research is significant because it provides originality as the only study of school improvement in Seychelles secondary schools. It also contributes further insights into the development of the Seychelles School Improvement Programme (SIP); it complements the existing knowledge base on the SIP and adds to the scant literature on school improvement in small states and in centralised systems.\ud The study attempts to capture the multi-faceted nature of the SIP and the multiple forms of people's understanding of it, by examining the most salient aspects of the Programme from the perspectives of different stakeholder groups, through the case study approach. A 40% sample of the country's state secondary schools were studied, using documentary analysis, semi-structured interviews and observation of meetings as the means of data collection.\ud While the SIP has had far reaching implications for school development in the Seychelles system and school improvement strategies such as development planning and school-based professional development have become institutionalised, schools are yet to take ownership of them. It is hoped that the findings of this study may contribute to educators' reflections on effective teaching and learning as well as inform policy and practice

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