- Education in Mauritius
The education system in
Mauritiusis largely based on the British system since Mauritius was a former British colony. After the country became independent in 1968, education became one of the main preoccupations of the Mauritian Government to meet the new challenges awaiting the country. Considerable investment of resources, both human and material, has been put into theEducation sector and impressive progress has been achieved in terms of free, universal, compulsory primary education, free textbooks, free secondary education and a fairly wide range of higher education courses at the University of Mauritius.
Education has been free through the secondary level since
1976and through the post-secondary level since 1988. The government has made an effort to provide adequate funding for education, occasionally straining tight budgets and even subsidised a great part of the expenditure in the Private Confessional schools, that is, schools under the control of the Catholic Church. However, the pre-primary schools are still privately owned.
Mauritius has a population of about 1.2 million inhabitants of whom the majority are from Indian origin. The population of African origin is the second largest population in Mauritius, and small sections of the population are of Chinese and French origins.
When it comes to the field of education, the media of instruction at school is inevitably English, since the impact of colonialism is still very present.English is the official language of Mauritius but the paradoxical situation is that the majority of the population speaks French Creole in their everyday interactions. However, the teaching of some Asian languages (
Hindi, Urdu, Mandarin and Arabic) is also included in the curriculum. The education system consists of the Primary and Secondary sectors.
Children are enrolled in primary school from the age of five and enter Standard I and move automatically up to Standard IV. As the child reaches Standard IV, there is a streaming process that follows. The system is highly competitive and a two-year preparation starts since Standard V up to Standard VI for the end of primary school examinations, the CPE (Certificate of Primary Education). The CPE is a national examination carried out in all the schools of the island following a grading system. Five subjects are compulsory and taken into account for the ranking process; English, French, Mathematics, Science, and History and Geophaphy. The Asian languages are included in the grading process.
This examination was like a bottleneck from primary to secondary schools, when the ranking system was in force (expounded in the next paragraph). For instance, out of 25,629 candidates in 1996, 16,737 passed all grades included (Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, 1998). Among them, only about 8,000 were admitted to secondary schools, both State and Private of the island, and some 3,000 found their way to Basic Prevocational or technical school. Over 14,000 students are said to be, ‘left without a future’. On the whole, the CPE examination was basically like a kind of streaming at the national level.
2001, children were admitted to secondary schools or colleges solely on the basis of national ranking. That created an enormous disparity among the different colleges of the island. For instance, some colleges were deemed to be "star" schools whilst others were regarded as low-performing schools. This played an important role in the development of the adolescents who very often tend to identify themselves with the external image of the college.
In 2001, the government in power — with Steven Obeegadoo acting as minister of education — decided to abolish this system. Instead, a grading system, like that of most developed countries was introduced. Moreover, it was coupled with a regionalisation system which advocates obtaining a school near one's residence. The system is still in use today but is menaced to be changed yet once more for an "A+" system by the end of this year. This system is very similar to the ranking system of pre-2001. In this system, children have to go through 2 examinations at the most; one to merely give them a low-performing school and another, which is optional, to compete for a much coveted star-school seat. The system has been qualified as inhumane and starkly inappropriate for a country such as Mauritius, even by foreign experts.Fact|date=February 2007
As has been mentioned earlier, the CPE determines admission to a secondary college. Most of the colleges whether they are State owned or privately owned are like English-style grammar schools. The child enters college in Form I and progresses through to Form VI, requiring seven years of schooling since there is two years preparation for the A-Level examinations. From Form I to III, there is no major nationally devised curriculum since each school has to plan its work according to the level of the students. However, some subjects are compulsory, like English, French,
Mathematics, Sciences and Social Studies (including Geography and History).
When students reach Form IV, they have to choose at least six major subjects for their O-Level examinations. Then students have to specialise in 3 main subjects and 2 subsidiary ones for the A Level examination. The O-Level and A-Level examinations are carried out by the
University of Cambridgethrough the Cambridge International Examinations, which devises the syllabus; prepares and prints the examinations papers and does the correction for a few subjects only.
* ‘’’Enrolment ratio’’’: Number of students enrolled per population aged
** 6-11 years for primary level
**4-5 years for pre-primary level
**12-19 years for secondary level
*(1) General purpose teachers and Asian language teachers.
*(2) Pupils per general purpose teacher.
Source: Central Statistics Office (Mauritius) Document
In 2007, a total of 52,760 candidates took part in exams at the primary and secondary level. At the primary level, 28,234 took part in Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) exams while at the secondary level, 17,114 candidates took part in School Certificate (S.C) exams. 8,926 candidates took part in Higher School Certificate (H.S.C) exams. [cite news | first=Myette | last=AHCHOON | coauthors= | title=52 760 candidats pour les examens de fin d’année | date=
2007-08-19| publisher=La Sentinelle | url =http://www.lexpress.mu/display_news_dimanche.php?news_id=1860 | work =lexpress.mu | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-19 | language = French ]
Tertiary education which started in 1924 with the College of Agriculture has since developed into a diversified system, composed of public, private, regional and overseas institutions catering for a wide range of courses and programmes.cite web |url=http://tec.intnet.mu/tertiary%20education%20system.htm |title=Tertiary Education Commission Of Mauritius |accessdate=2007-01-19 ]
Tertiary education in Mauritius is characterized by a wide range of institutions with diverse characteristics. Some provide all levels of tertiary education in a range of disciplines while others focus their activities on only one or two areas at certain levels. A number of the institutions are overseas with their provisions made available through the distance education mode. Within the public sector, tertiary education revolves around the University of Mauritius (UoM), the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE), the Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) and the Mauritius College of the Air (MCA). Overseeing the four tertiary education institutions (TEIs) is the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) which, inter alia, has responsibility for allocating public funds, and fostering, planning and coordinating the development of post-secondary education and training.
Two Polytechnics, managed by the Technical School Management Trust Fund (TSMTF) also operate within the public sector. They are namely the Swami Dayanand Institute of Management (ex. Droopnath Ramphul Polytechnic) and the Institut Superieur de Technologie” (ex. Institut Polytechnique de Rose-Hill). The Industrial and Vocational Training Board (IVTB) and the Mauritius Institute of Health (MIH) equally dispense tertiary level programmes in selected areas.
In addition to the above publicly-funded institutions (PFIs), an estimated 35 private institutions and 50 overseas institutions/bodies are presently delivering tertiary-level programmes, mostly in niche areas like Information Technology, Law, Management, Accountancy and Finance. A majority of these private institutions operate on a part-time basis, in the evenings, weekends and on some weekdays with relatively small student cohorts. Most, if not all, of the programmes are those of overseas institutions. These are being offered by franchise agreements whereby the overseas institutions provide programme materials and/or tutorial support. Apart from playing an administrative role, the local partners also provide tutorial support and in certain cases local institutions deliver programmes using exclusively their own resources. The local tertiary education scene also comprises four tertiary education institutions with a regional vocation, namely the University of the Indian Ocean (UIO), the “Institut de la Francophonie Pour L’Entrepreneuriat” (IFE), the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College (SSRMC) and the Mauras College of Dentistry (MCD). The activities of these institutions are geared towards programmes in very limited or specific disciplines.
The provision of tertiary education extends beyond the local tertiary education institutions given that a significant number of Mauritian students either go overseas or resort exclusively to the open learning mode for pursuing their studies.
Public sector tertiary institutions
The University of Mauritius (UoM)
Starting as the College of
Agriculture, the UoM, established in 1965, dominates the Tertiary Education Sector locally. Originally, it had three Schools, namely Agriculture, Administration and Industrial Technology. It has since expanded to comprise five Faculties, namely Agriculture, Engineering, Law and Management, Science, and Social Studies & Humanities. It has also a Centre for Medical Research and Studies, a Centre for Distance Education, a Centre for Information Technology and Systems, and a Consultancy Centre.
The UoM has undergone rapid expansion over the last decade and is continuing to expand with a student growth rate of about 10% annually. Programmes have changed steadily from sub-degree certificate/diploma levels to undergraduate and taught masters Programmes, as well as research at postgraduate level.
University of Technology, Mauritius (UTM)
University of Technology, Mauritius(UTM) Act was promulgated in May 2000 and became operational in September 2000. The UTM works closely with government, business and industry and operates from 3 Schools, namely, the School of Business Informatics and Software Engineering, the School of Public Sector Policy and Management, and the School of Sustainable Development Science.
Open University of Mauritius
The Open University of Mauritius, which is in the process of being set up with the reconfiguration of the Mauritius College of the Air, will provide opportunities for higher education through distance and open learning, serving students in Mauritius and in the region.
The Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE)
Founded in 1973, the MIE was initially charged with responsibilities in the field of teacher education, research in education and curriculum development. The role of the MIE as a curriculum development centre has over time (1993) been phased out such that it is at present predominantly involved in training teachers and educational research.
There are currently 5 Schools at the MIE, namely Applied Sciences, Education, Science and Mathematics, Arts and Humanities and Distance Education. The programmes have over the years slowly increased in diversity and levels. To-date, it has offered training to school teachers in programme ranging from certificate, diploma and the PGCE. Presently, it also offers B.Ed as well as Masters programmes in Education, in collaboration with the University of Mauritius and the University of Brighton, UK respectively.
The Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI)
The MGI was established in 1970 as a joint Government of Mauritius – Government of India venture for the promotion of education and culture in general with emphasis on Indian culture and traditions. It has responsibilities, within the tertiary set-up, for running Programmes in such areas as Indian Studies, Performing Arts, Fine Arts, Chinese and Mauritian Studies.
The MGI currently has three main schools operating at the tertiary level, namely the School of Indian Studies, the School of Music and Fine Arts, and the School of Mauritian and Area Studies. Since the last few years it has been running, besides diploma and certificate level programmes, degree level programmes in Languages, Fine Arts and Performing Arts, in collaboration with the UoM. A Secondary School and the Gandhian Basic School also operate within the ambit of the MGI.
The Mauritius College of the Air (MCA)
The MCA was established in 1971 to promote education, arts and science and culture in Mauritius through mass media. When the MCA statute was re-enacted in 1985, distance education was maintained as a major strategy to meet these objectives. Merged with the Audio-Visual Centre of the Ministry of Education and Science in 1986, the MCA has until recently been catering mainly for the primary and secondary education sector through the production of educational programmes for broadcast on radio and television. The MCA has also been producing educational materials for non-formal or continuing education, for non-broadcast use. Since the beginning of 1995, it has been involved in dispensing tertiary level programmes in collaboration with overseas institutions through the distance mode.The MCA is currently being reconfigured as the Open University of Mauritius.
Rabindranath Tagore Institute
Set up in December 2002, the Rabindranath Tagore Institute has a cultural vocation and operates under the aegis of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute. It is still in an early phase of development.
The Polytechnics occupy a prominent place in the tertiary education landscape in Mauritius. Two of these institutions currently exist in the country. The Swami Dayanand Institute of Management (SDIM) runs diploma level Programmes in Information Technology, Administration and Accounting; such diploma Programmes were formerly provided by the UoM. The Institut Supérieur de Téchnologie (IST) offers diploma level programmes (Brevét de Téchnicien Supérieur) in Electro-Technics, Mecatronics and Building Engineering. All the Programmes are run on a full-time basis. Plans are currently underway to expand this sub-sector and the creation of Institut de Formation et d'Education Tertiaire in priority areas.
Technical School Management Trust Fund (TSMTF)
The TSMTF was created in
1990to manage the Polytechnics. It is administered by a Board. Industry Advisory Committees, comprised of representatives of both the public and private sectors, are appointed in respect of each programme that is being run. These committees have responsibilities for: establishing programme objectives, curriculum content and delivery modes; establishing terminal standards and certification; prescribing training equipment, hardware and software; prescribing training facilities and environment; advising on industrial training attachments; reviewing programme results and diploma holders’ employment performance; monitoring and reviewing market demand; and reviewing and upgrading programmes.With the setting up of Institut de Formation et d'Education the role of the TSMTF may be reviewed.
The Industrial and Vocational Training Board (IVTB)
The IVTB was set up in
1988to promote vocational education and training with the purposes of supplying a properly trained workforce for the industrial, services and domestic sectors. Most of the programmes that are being run are of a vocational nature leading to the National Trade Certification (levels 3 and 2). However, as from 1998the IVTB has also started running selected tertiary level programmes at the levels of certificate and diploma in selected areas including Hotel Management, Automation and Information Technology.
The Mauritius Institute of Health (MIH)
The MIH was set up in
1989to cater for the training needs of health professionals, local and regional. As per identified needs it organizes courses and programmes, mostly of short duration for medical and para-medical personnel.
Private tertiary institutions and distance education
A number of private institutions and organisations have entered the tertiary education market in the past few years. These institutions, which amount to more than 35, are offering mostly “niche” Programmes in such disciplines as Management, Accountancy and Information Technology. Most of these private institutions are local counterparts of overseas institutions and are offering programmes ranging from sub-degree to postgraduate ones through a mixed-mode system, encompassing both distance learning and face-to face tutorials. A majority of the examinations are conducted by the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate (MES) and a few are organised and invigilated by the overseas institutions themselves in collaboration with the local partner. Key players include the Charles Telfair Institute (ex DCDM Business School)Fact|date=July 2007, MALEM, the Mauritius Employers Federation and the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Charles Telfair Institute (CTI)
Previously known as the DCDM Business School, the Charles Telfair Institute is a private sector academic institution situated in Mauritius. It has as its shareholders this country’s major private sector players - namely CIEL Corporate Services Ltd, DCDM & Co Ltd, Harel Frères Ltd and Rogers & Co. Ltd amongst others.
The institute works in collaboration with the
Curtin University of Technologyand Challenger TAFE.
A purpose-built campus is in the process of being constructed at Telfair, Moka with completion projected for 2009.
With the financial and strategic support of its shareholders, the Charles Telfair Institute aims to support the Mauritian Government in its strategy of transforming the country into a regional knowledge hub.
University of the Indian Ocean (UIO)
The UIO, established in January
1998under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), is essentially a network of tertiary education and research institutions of the five member states, namely Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles. It offers tertiary level programmes of a regional vocation in the five member countries. During its three-year pilot phase, the secretariat of the UIO was based in Reunion. In line with a recent decision, the seat of the UIO will now be a rotating one among member states.
Institut de la Francophonie pour L’Entrepreneuriat (IFE)
The IFE came into operation in 1999, within the context of an agreement signed between the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research and the “Association des Universités Partiellement ou Entièrement de Langue Française et L’Université des Réseaux d’Expréssion Française”. It offers Masters and Doctoral programmes and undertake research in entrepreneuriat and related fields with a regional vocation.
ir Seewosagur Ramgoolam Medical College (SSRMC)
The SSRMC was created in 1999 and is affiliated to the University of Mauritius. Situated at Belle Rive, it caters for both local and overseas students namely from South Africa, India, Malaysia, Gulf and other Indian Ocean Rim countries. With this development, Mauritian students now have opportunities to pursue their medical studies locally and at much lower cost than they would incur elsewhere. In fact, 20% of seats are exclusively reserved for them on the 5-year MBBS programme.
Mauras College of Dentistry (MCD)
Mauras College of Dentistry which is managed by the R.F. Gandhi A.K. Trust Limited, is operational since 2003. Affiliated to Bhavnagar University, Gujarat, India, Mauras College of Dentistry, aims to be a key provider of dental education in the region. It is currently providing the BDS programme.
The Mauras College Of Dentistry found in the District of Pamplemouses, Aresenal.
* [http://www.gov.mu/portal/site/education/ Ministry of Education & Human Resources]
* [http://www.gov.mu/portal/sites/mesweb/index.htm Mauritius Examinations Syndicate]
* [http://mieonline.org/portal/ Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE)]
* [http://www.pssawebsite.net Private Secondary Schools Authority (PSSA)]
* [http://tec.intnet.mu/ Tertiary Education Commission]
* [http://www.utm.ac.mu/ University of Technology, Mauritius]
* [http://www.uom.ac.mu/ University of Mauritius]
* [http://www.telfair.ac.mu/ Charles Telfair Institute]
* [http://www.maurascollege.com/ Mauras College of Dentistry]
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