Mauritius “Education Hub” policy: Accreditation essential EDU Secretary-General is informed
In a dynamic briefing His Excellency Irving Levance, Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Organization EDU, was informed of the ambitious plan to develop Mauritius as a world class education hub and centre of excellence.
The briefing was conducted by S.E. Jagdish Koonjul, the stylish Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary who is the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Mauritius to the European Communities and the former Chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
The professionalism of the Ambassador and his staff bore testament to the high standards in place in the government, which has led to Mauritius being ranked as the best governed country in all of Africa, five years in a row, finishing on top of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.
With English as the only official language, the education system in Mauritius is largely based on the British system since Mauritius was a former British colony.
The government of Mauritius provides free education to its citizens from pre-primary to tertiary levels. Since July 2005, the government also introduced free transport for all students.
For the year 2011, government expenditure on education was estimated at about Rs 11,709 million, representing 12.5 % of total expenditure.
The education system in Mauritius is categorized into 4 main sectors – pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary.
The education structure consist of 3 years of pre-primary school, six years of free and compulsory primary schooling leading to the Certificate of Primary Education, followed by five years of secondary education leading to the School Certificate and a further two years of higher secondary ending with the Higher School Certificate.
The O-Level and A-Level examinations are carried out by the University of Cambridge through University of Cambridge International Examinations, which devises the syllabus; prepares and prints the examinations papers. After the examination, papers are sent to Cambridge for marking, some corrections are also done in Mauritius.
Attendance at school which is gender balanced is some 98-99% and there is high peer pressure in communities for parents to have their children in education.
The Tertiary Education sector includes studying at the colleges, universities and other technical institutions in Mauritius.
The country's two main public universities are the University of Mauritius and University of Technology. The Tertiary Education Commission's Strategic Plan envisages Mauritius as a regional knowledge hub and a centre for higher learning and excellence.
It promotes open and distance learning to increase access to post-secondary education and lifelong learning, both locally and regionally.
Additionally, the intention is to allow well known foreign universities to set up branches in Mauritius to entice students from abroad to study there, attracted by high quality education curriculum combined with an extremely beautiful natural environment.
The Ambassador made the point that valid accreditation is essential for such a plan to work and if EDU can assist to open up cross border recognition and the establishment of equivalence, then that would be very welcome.
The Ambassador undertook to act as a facilitator for the recruitment of EDU Assessors from amongst the country’s academics and to liaise directly with the Government of Mauritius in matters concerning the country’s formal participation in EDU.
The Secretary-General thanked the Ambassador for his time and for the quality of his briefing.