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Ministry of Education and Human Resources

Secondary Curriculum

(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
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.
(8.42 p.m.)
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.
(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.



(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.


Entrepreneurship is 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.


Textbooks and 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 educators concerned.


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.


Following feedback 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 initiative.


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.