Education in Mauritius - An Overview
The system of education in Mauritius is mainly based on British model of education. After Mauritius gained independence in 1968, the new free government made education its main agenda for economic and social development of the country.
The government tried to put both human and materialistic resources in place so as to ensure that education shall reach to masses. The primary education was made compulsory and offered for free. Education at secondary level was not compulsory but offered free. Higher education was provided through University of Mauritius. Education has been free through the secondary level since 1976 and through the post secondary level since 1988.
The government tried its best to provide sufficient funds for education and even provide major funds for the Private Confessional schools under control of Catholic Church. The pre primary schools in Mauritius are privately funded.
The medium of instruction in educational settings is English. Some Asian languages have also been included in the teaching curriculum like Hindi, Urdu, Mandarin and Arabic.
The education in Mauritius is distributed over following stages:
- Pre Primary Education
- Primary Education
- Pre-vocational Education
- Tertiary Education
Children take admission into primary school, Standard I, at the age of six year and move automatically up to Standard IV. After reaching standard IV, an streaming process 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 level examination and conducted in all schools of the island. The subject tested in the following areas: English, French, Mathematics, Science, and History and Geography. The Asian languages are included in the grading process. The CPE was considered like a bottleneck from primary to secondary schools when the ranking system was in force.
Before 2001, the enrolment of children in secondary schools or colleges purely done on the basis of national ranking. The 2001 the government has decided to abolish this system and a grading system was introduced similar to developed nations. This system was added with a regionalisation system, which favors attending school near one’s residence. However, this system is going to be changed soon.
It has discussed earlier that the admission to secondary colleges is made on the basis of CPE. Colleges both state owned and private are like English style grammar school. 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).
Students of Form IV have to choose at least six major subjects for O-Level examination. Then students require doing specialization in 3 main subjects and two subsidiary subjects A – Level examination. Both the O-Level and A-Level examinations are carried out by the University of Cambridge through the Cambridge International Examinations.
Tertiary education in Mauritius started in 1924 with college of Agriculture. Now it has spanned wings and provided in different study discipline through public, private, and regional and overseas institutions.
Mauritius joined UNESCO on October 25, 1968. The country is covered by the UNESCO Office Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. In 2006, at the request of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education (IBE) carried out a two-week workshop for Mauritian curriculum specialists and decision makers. As of September 2006, Mauritius counted seven schools in the Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet).