PRIMARY & SECONDARY SCHOOLS – LINGUISTIC & CULTURAL RIGHTS (21/04/09)
(No. B/309) Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas and Floreal) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the primary and secondary schools students, he will state if Government is contemplating implementing measures to ensure that equal opportunities be provided to all of them, on the basis of linguistic and cultural rights.
SANSKRIT LANGUAGE – TEACHING & LEARNING (07/07/09)
(No. B/761) Mr Y. Varma (First Member for Mahebourg & Plaine Magnien) asked the Minister of Education, Culture & Human Resources whether, in regard to the teaching and learning of the Sanskrit language, he will state the steps taken by Government to encourage same.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is an undeniable fact that Government is offering indiscriminate support for the propagation and fostering of our ancestral languages and to the upholding of cultural heritage. It is also a recognised fact that respect for all and understanding of each other’s differences are essential in preserving social harmony and in the nation building process.
In line with our policy to promote Asian and Arabic languages, we are offering both at primary and secondary levels, courses in Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Marathi, Urdu/Arabic and Modern Chinese. Furthermore, my Ministry is also consolidating the spread of such languages, their literature and cultural activities associated thereto in the evening schools. These activities
are organised by socio-cultural organisations on Government–owned educational premises in private schools, baitkas, temples and madrassas.
As for Sanskrit, which is an ancestral language that lies at the root of numerous Indian and non-Indian languages, the Hindi Pracharini Sabha, the Arya Sabha and the Arya Ravived Pracharini Sabha have integrated modules on this language in Hindi. Sanskrit courses are also run by Hindu priests at various socio-cultural organisations, such as the Arya Sabha, Mauritius Sanatan Dharma Temples Federation and the Mauritius Arya Ravived Pracharini Sabha.
Programmes in Sanskrit are equally being conducted from level I up to Diploma/Degree levels by the MGI and the Hindu Maha Sabha. The MGI currently runs such courses in the evening of weekdays, while those of the Hindu Maha Sabha are conducted on Saturdays. Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am afraid we do not have enough resources not to say competences to do much in favour of this beautiful language known as mother of languages, but my Ministry remains open to consider other and further demands for the learning of Sanskrit in our institutions or NGO run establishments.
Mr Varma: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, could the hon. Minister inform the House how many colleges offer Sanskrit as a language at SC and HSC levels?
Dr. Bunwaree: I don't have the reply, but I can give an indication to the House because I was myself a bit surprised. There are about 1,970 students studying Sanskrit in the country for the time being.
Mr Dayal: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, is the hon. Minister aware that the problem of ratio, especially in the evening schools, causes lots of problems for the promotion of Sanskrit, just like for Tamil, Telegu, Urdu and Marathi?
Dr. Bunwaree: I am aware of this, although it is not a question related directly to the main question. I am in favour of removing this question of ratio altogether.
Mr Varma: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, could the hon. Minister inform the House what examinations are held as regards Sanskrit language?
Dr. Bunwaree: I mentioned in my reply that there are even degrees, diplomas. But as to what exact examinations there are, I can look into it and inform the House.
FORM V – SCIENCE SUBJECT (27/10/09)
(No. B/1080) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Third Member for La Caverne & Phoenix) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the project to render compulsory the taking of science as a subject up to Form V level, he will state where matters stand.
INTERNET FACILITIES – STUDENTS AND SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (29/06/10)
(No. 1B/182) Mr K. Li Kwong Wing (Second Member for Beau Bassin and Petite Rivière) asked the Minister of Information and Communication Technology whether, in regard to the internet, he will state –
(a) if Government proposes to offer free access thereto to students, and
(b) whether consideration will be given to reduce the tariff charged to the Small and Medium Enterprises to the same as the one charged to domestic users and, if not, why not.
Reply: As from October 2005, Government is already providing free internet access to students in 172 secondary schools and since early 2009; this internet facility has been extended to 261 primary schools.
A further step to enhance student access to the internet is the “one laptop per child” project for the benefit of Lower VI students, over which project, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, other stakeholders and my own Ministry has just started working. It is expected that this project would lead to the extension of telecommunication facilities in such a manner as to provide access to internet by more and more students.
As regard part (b) of the question, I am informed by the Mauritius Telecom Ltd that the domestic offers and the SMEs offers are two different commercial services. They each have different characteristics and require different levels of investment and operating costs. In particular, the SMEs offers/provide a higher level of comfort access with better fluidity and priority while accessing the internet. The service is designed for facilitation of business. Hence, the difference in prices between the two offers.
I wish to inform the House that during the last five years, Telecom Plus has progressively reduced both its residential and business broadband tariffs and has increased internet penetration at affordable prices. As an indication, the residential tariff has been reduced on an average by 66% and the lowest tariff today is at Rs499 inclusive of VAT for a speed of up to 256 kilobits per second. The business tariff has been reduced on an average by 45% and its speed doubled in 2009.
I shall request the Mauritius Telecom Ltd to seriously look into the issue raised by the hon. Member and examine the possibility of working out other internet packages that will be more attractive for SMEs.
SCHOOLS – SEX EDUCATION (29/06/10)
(No. 1B/212) Mrs A. Navarre-Marie (First Member for GRNW & Port Louis West ) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to sex education in schools, he will state if Government proposes to introduce same in the school curriculum.
Reply: Sex education is already covered both in primary and secondary curriculum frameworks.
In fact, we espouse the UNESCO-driven concept of sex education as a life skill. In that capacity, it is meant to facilitate the emergence of a balanced individual with healthy attitudes and values for sound and responsible citizenship.
At the primary level, it has already been incorporated in the curricular materials that are currently used in Standard V and will find themselves in the new textbooks of Standard VI in 2011.
At the primary level, the learning competencies for sex education are thus taught under the subject “Health Education”.
These competencies have been so developed as to not only make the growing child understand his physical and physiological changes but also make him act in a responsible manner by making the right choices.
At the secondary level, sex education is also integrated but this time across the curriculum, more particularly in subjects like Health & Physical Education, Integrated Science and Biology.
The new National Curriculum Framework for the secondary subsector that will serve as basis for the production of new curricular materials, incorporates a substantial element of sex education as from Form 1 including issues related to communicable diseases like sexually transmitted infections.
Components of Sex Education have been integrated in the Teacher Training Programme conducted by the Mauritius Institute of Education. In June of this year, a training was conducted for Primary and Secondary Educators, on Health Issues, which included Sexual Reproductive Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Quality of Life and other partners.
Furthermore My Ministry is putting in place a more structured approach with respect to the conduct of sex education in school. In this regard, other stakeholders including Action Familiale and the Mauritius Family Planning Association will be called upon to work in partnership with the National Educational Counseling Service of my Ministry for the training of our educational psychologists. This approach will enhance the exposure of our students to sex education.
We have moved from the time when sex education was seen as a taboo and children were not meant to be exposed to it until they reached a level of maturity in line with their life. Today, we have gone beyond that realizing all same that the issue being sensitive, has to be dealt with in a deft and equally sensitive manner.
MSSSA – CROSS COUNTRY COMPETITION & REFRESHMENT (19/06/12)
Mrs L. Ribot (Third Member for Stanley & Rose Hill): M. le président, le point que je vais soulever concerne le ministre de la jeunesse et des sports, aussi bien que le ministre de la santé.
The Deputy Speaker: Time is very limited. Let the hon. Member express herself.
Silence, please! Order, please! Please, go ahead!
Mrs Ribot: M. le président, année après année…
The Deputy Speaker: I want order!
Mrs Ribot: M. le président, pour la troisième fois, année après année, la Mauritius Secondary Schools Sports Association (la MSSSA) fait le calendrier annuel de ses activités de telle manière que la compétition de cross country se tient au premier trimestre, soit en février, et de par une température de 30 degrés à monter.
M. le président, cette compétition se tient au moment même où le ministère de la santé, avec raison, émet des communiqués pour demander à la population de rester à l’ombre, de ne pas s’exposer au soleil, de porter des vêtements appropriés et de boire beaucoup d’eau pour ne pas se déshydrater.
M. le président, je suis un témoin privilégié de ce que je vous dis. Il suffit de voir l’état de ces enfants, de ces participants, à l’arrivée, pour réaliser que les choses ne peuvent continuer ainsi. Alors qu’il y a le réchauffement de la terre, allons-nous attendre que l’irréparable se passe avant de réagir? Ma requête aux deux honorables ministres est de bien vouloir demander à la MSSSA de revoir son calendrier d’activités, afin que la compétition de cross country se tienne par une température plus douce, soit au deuxième trimestre. D’autres activités moins éprouvantes peuvent se tenir au premier trimestre. Je soulève ce point maintenant, M. le président, car il est encore temps pour que la MSSSA adapte son calendrier et ne dise pas que le calendrier a déjà été fait comme les années précédentes.
Le deuxième point s’adresse toujours aux deux honorables ministres. M. le président, alors qu’on est à cheval sur les produits en vente dans les cantines scolaires, ne voilà-t-il pas qu’après le cross country, on remet à chaque participant un jus et un gateau sucré! On encourage même les participants à consommer du jus car il n’y a que quelques rares bouteilles d’eau qui ont été prévues.
Je demanderais aux deux honorables ministres de bien vouloir prendre ces deux points que j’ai soulevés avec la MSSSA.
Je vous remercie, M. le président.
The Minister of Youth and Sports (Mr S. Ritoo): Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I just want to inform the hon. Member that ceux qui pratiquent le sport n’ont jamais peur ni du froid, ni de la chaleur. According to me, there is no question…
The calendar of activities for the MSSSA is prepared in consultation with all the schools.
The hon. Member is the first to say that we cannot run. So, there is no question, on our side, that we should change the calendar.
At 8.43 p.m. the Assembly was, on its rising, adjourned to Tuesday 26 June 2012 at 11.30 a.m.
SCHOOLS – ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION – INTRODUCTION (11/12/12)
(No. B/695) Mr J.F. François (Third Member for Rodrigues) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the proposed introduction of the new subject entrepreneurship in the schools by the year 2013, he will state where matters stand, giving details thereof.
Reply: Entrepreneurship education is a lifelong learning process. Its initiation in schools would help lay students’ foundations for self employment and further education in academic or vocational streams.
As announced in the Government Programme 2012-2015, my Ministry is introducing Entrepreneurship studies as part of the secondary school curriculum.
As an immediate measure, Entrepreneurship Education will be introduced as a compulsory core component of Social Studies as from Term II in Form I on a pilot basis and a compulsory module in Lower VI as from next year.
In Lower 6, it will be of 15 hour duration over 2 terms and will be sanctioned by an Award Certificate.
I wish to add that Social Studies are presently being taught during 4 periods per week in Form 1. However, as from next year 5 periods will be devoted to it, of which 2 of them will be reserved for the teaching of Entrepreneurship Education.
Some 17 schools, 4 in each zone, comprising state and private schools including 1 in Rodrigues, namely Le Chou College, will pilot the Entrepreneurship Education in 2013. It is envisaged to extend the project to all schools in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega, after the pilot stage.
In a near future, my Ministry is envisaging to have Entrepreneurship Education as an optional subject in Forms IV and V also. Modalities will be worked out in consultation with the Mauritius Examination Syndicate and the Cambridge International Examinations so that Entrepreneurship Education will be an optional examinable subject at School Certificate level.
The overall aim is to enhance the life skills and entrepreneurship skills of our young students and prepare them for the world of work, especially for those who will not be able to go for further studies, and will enter ‘de plain-pied’ the world of work. This will be an excellent opportunity to link school with the world of work.
SCHOOLS - ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUBJECT – INTRODUCTION (19/11/13)
(No. B/914) Mr J. F.
François (Third Member for Rodrigues) asked the Minister of Education and Human
Resources whether, in regard to the introduction of entrepreneurship as a
subject in schools, he will state the progress achieved as at to date, in particular,
in respect of the school year 2014.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, as
Mauritius moves into the new era of knowledge economy, it becomes essential to
equip learners with 21st century skills that will enable them to constantly be
innovative, creative, flexible, and responsive to emerging challenges.
one of the new basic skills which several advanced economies have already
integrated in their education programmes.
Mr Speaker, Sir,
Entrepreneurship Education was introduced at the beginning of the 2nd term of
2013, that is this year, in 17 secondary schools (both state and private) at
Form I level on a pilot basis, including one school in Rodrigues. I am tabling
a list of those pilot schools.
teacher’s guides, developed by the Mauritius Institute of Education, were
provided free to all pupils and teachers in the pilot schools. Continuous
teacher training was carried out by the MIE staff during the year 2013 with the
Moreover, the writing
panel and officers of my Ministry carried out regular follow-up and visits to
the pilot schools for monitoring.
From a pedagogical
perspective, piloting the project offered enough time for the materials to be
tested, refined, and provided for capacity building for educators. Now that the
project has proved its worth, it will be extended to all secondary schools in
Mauritius and Rodrigues in Form I next year, and will be a standalone subject.
The students of the 17 pilot schools will continue to study the subject, of
course, at Form II level, and then Form III, etc.
from educators and continuous panel evaluation, a final version of the textbook
for Form I has been produced by the MIE. The “Entrepreneurship Education – Form
I” textbook will be available for sale in bookshops for academic year 2014,
when the subject will be extended to all schools in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
For effective teaching, a teacher’s guide will also be made available for the
educators. Moreover, workshops for
educators will be
carried out by MIE in November 2013, that is, in the days to come.
Mr Speaker, Sir,
schools in Rodrigues will certainly, of course, be taken on board for this new
Mr François: I thank the hon.
Minister for this answer. In that context, may I ask the hon. Minister under
what Department will this new subject lie? Will it be under the Sociology
Department, or within the Accounting or Business Department? Because it is not quite
clear under which Department it will lie in schools.
Dr. Bunwaree: It is going to be a
standalone subject. It is going to be one subject which will be taught in Forms
I, II and III.
CIVIC EDUCATION (08/04/14)
(No. B/125) Mrs L.
Ribot (Third Member for Stanley & Rose Hill) asked the Minister of
Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to civic education, he will
state if his Ministry is proposing the introduction thereof in the pre-primary,
primary and secondary schools and, if so, when and, if not, why not.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, this
also is a very interesting question and I have to thank the hon. Member for
raising this issue here. Civic Education, Mr Speaker, Sir, which involves
education of skills and values related to social and moral responsibilities of
a citizen, is already incorporated across the pre-primary, primary and
secondary school curriculum.
In fact, basic civic education is being
taught to pupils in pre-primary schools of the Republic of Mauritius, as
provided for in the National Curriculum Framework (NCF). A number of
activities, under the curriculum domain “personal and social development”,
centred around civic education, are contained in the Activity Book, published
by the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority and developed by the
Mauritius Institute of Education.
The National Curriculum Framework for the
Primary Sector also has a learning domain called “personal and social
development” under which Civic Education is addressed. For instance, the
Foundation Year (formerly the Bridging the Gap programme) which was introduced
as from this year, makes provision for project-based learning around themes.
From Standard II to Standard VI, themes addressing civic education include,
among others: festivals, the origins of the people of Mauritius, environment,
discovery and development of the Island, for example.
Mr Speaker, Sir, at the secondary level, civic
education is addressed mainly through the Social Studies Curriculum in the
mainstream, where themes already dealt with at primary school level are further
developed and discussed through inputs from disciplines such as History,
Geography and Sociology, including Citizenship.
Mr Speaker, Sir, as the House is aware, in
line with the measure announced in Moving the Nation Forward: Government
Programme 2012-2015, with the aim to nurture proud and responsible
citizens, the Prime Minister’s Office has established the National Institute
for Civic Education (NICE) in 2012. In collaboration with my Ministry, the
Institute has, over the past two years, engaged around 200 and 400 students at
Form IV level in several activities under four over-arching themes –
(i) “Know my Country”;
(ii) “My Fellow Mauritians”;
(iii) “Together A Better Mauritius”, and
(iv) “Yes I Can”.
The NICE programme will give a new impetus to
civic education and would act as a platform towards nation building and
community development as well as motivating the youths for the country’s
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to know
from the hon. Minister whether the component Civic Education, the subject,
could not be taught per se on its own instead of incorporating it and it
gets lost in other curriculum?
Dr. Bunwaree: Well, this is, in
fact, the interesting part of the question, Mr Speaker, Sir. I am all for this,
what has been just raised, but les pédagogues pensent différemment. So,
the debate is on and I am not there to force people to go in one direction or
another quand il s’agit de l’éducation, mais je continue à répéter la même
chose, la même chose pour l’histoire, study of history of Mauritius in our
schools. Même chose! Alors, il y a un petit brin dans telle matière, un
autre petit brin dans une autre matière et puis on me dit: voilà, on fait
l’histoire de Maurice. C’est la même chose pour Sexual Education. Donc,
on est en train de revoir ça. Je suis content que le point ait été fait ici et
puis on va continuer. Je vais transmettre ce voeu de l’Assemblée - si je peux
l’appeler ainsi - à ceux qui ont la responsabilité de faire ce type d’éducation
dans les écoles.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, among the components
of civic education, I would like to know from the hon. Minister whether the
issue of violence is addressed in any of those subjects?
Dr. Bunwaree: I am told, yes. But
if you ask me where exactly, then I will have to go into the details. On m’a
donné une liste. Je pourrais laisser ça à l’honorable membre tout à l’heure
pour voir quel type de sujet ou de thème est soulevé dans quel livre et dans
quelle matière enseignée à l’école avec les pages qui ont été mentionnées
Mrs Labelle: Mr Speaker, Sir, the
hon. Minister has mentioned a list of activities under Civic Education and he
has also mentioned the NICE Programme, but when we look at the NICE Programme,
it is being said that the programmes, I quote - “to reinforce the sense of
national belonging, to provide a common platform for shared experience, empathy
I have not heard the hon. Minister talking
about these programmes and what is being done in our schools; what is the role
of this pilot project with what the hon. Minister has just mentioned.
Dr. Bunwaree: En fait, ce qui est
fait dans le NICE Programme, c’est un peu à la sortie des écoles, Forme
IV, Forme V. Donc, c’est à l’école à partir du pré-primaire, primaire et
secondaire de préparer les enfants pour que le NICE Programme puisse les
prendre à la fin et puis qu’ils soient des meilleurs citoyens. J’ai ici le
manuel of activities for pre-primary. If you look into this, you will see so
many things that are taught to our children in pre-primary schools. C’est
la base. C’est la fondation, mais bien sûr il faut construire là-dessus and
the NICE Programme comes at the age of 15 and 16.
Mr Obeegadoo: The hon. Minister
just stated that he was in favour of our suggestion that there be a distinct
subject. So, is he aware that instead of this motley of haphazard initiatives
he has just described, that under the MSM/MMM Government there was a distinct
subject called Citizenship Education resting on the three pillars of human
rights education for multiculturalism and education for sustainable development
that was done away with in the wave of partisan hysteria following the 2005
elections. So, if the hon. Minister is now in favour of what we had implemented
in those days, will he agree to an objective non-partisan reassessment of that
Dr. Bunwaree: Ça a été déjà fait. It was not done away
by me or by this Government; it was done away by le fait du hasard quelque
part, ça je ne sais pas. Je ne suis pas rentré dedans, but what is a fact…
Mr Speaker: Order!
Dr. Bunwaree: …is that we are going
to improve on what was being proposed in those days.
Mr Speaker: Last question!
Mrs Labelle: Thank you, Mr
Speaker, Sir. Mr Speaker, Sir, in December 2012, there was a pilot project, the
TVET Track Programme and when I look at what was done, it is being said that
during the placement, the participants are expected to observe, learn on job
and submit a group report. Is it such programmes that are being done for Civic
Education under the TVET?
Dr. Bunwaree: No, no, not exactly.
The NICE Programme is a programme by itself and if a proper question is put, of
course, we will give all the details. It is completely different. C’est quelque chose
de nouveau qui n’a pas existé à Maurice pour rendre hommage à l’honorable
Premier ministre pour avoir pris l’initiative de venir avec ça. Il ne faut pas
mélanger les choses. Ça c’est quelque chose de différent. Ça fait partie du
placement des enfants dans les entreprises et dans les endroits pour le travail
social aussi, mais c’était bon. C’était un bon programme qui existe encore, je
dois dire, mais à ne pas mélanger avec le NICE Project du Bureau du
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to ask
the hon. Minister whether an evaluation has been made of Civic Education in the
secondary level and what about the training of teachers?
evaluation is a continuous mechanism. It has been made. I don’t know what is
the situation presently, but I am aware that, in fact, because I speak so often
of this at the level of my Ministry that it is taken care of. The other innovations
that I have brought at the level of the secondary sector, especially the use of
the activities period, I think there is a question on that too, I want to make
it clear that Civic Education is one of the priorities of the Ministry.
COLLEGES - RESOURCE PERSONS – RECRUITMENT (08/04/14)
(No. B/146) Mrs L. D.
Dookun-Luchoomun (Second Member for Quartier Militaire & Moka) asked the Minister
of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the National Colleges,
he will state if his Ministry has recruited resource persons to conduct
activity periods thereat.