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Ministry of Education and Human Resources>Parliamentary Questions -Secondary Pre-Vocational Schools

Parliamentary Questions -Secondary Pre-Vocational Schools

 
 
 
SECONDARY  PRE-VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS
 
YEAR 2009
 
TEACHERS – PRE-VOCATIONAL SECTOR – CONTRACTS (31/03/09)
 
(No. B/34) Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the teachers working on a contractual basis in the Pre-Vocational sector, he will state the number thereof, indicating the average number of years of service reckoned by each of them.
 
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, my Ministry is resorting to the services of 49 supply teachers in the prevocational sector. These teachers have been enlisted on a temporary basis since January 2004 to palliate shortages pending recruitment in the grade of teacher (Secondary Prevocational).
 
Supply teachers are, however, not employed per se on a contract basis but are employed on a temporary basis as and when required during the academic year. It is a recurrent feature of my Ministry to have recourse to supply teachers as a contingency measure to address the problem of shortage in scarcity areas, and also to replace educators (Secondary) proceeding on sick leave, maternity leave, long vacation leave, study leave and leave without pay.
 
I also wish to inform the House that vacancies in the grade of teacher (Secondary Prevocational) are being reported to the Public Service Commission. This has been a long outstanding issue which has taken time to regularise in view of the creation of the posts on the establishment of my Ministry, the prescription of the scheme of service, and particularly the mise en demeure served by the Technical School Management Trust Fund Employees’ Union to the Public Service Commission and my Ministry in July 2005 as they were not agreeable to the scheme of service.
 
The case has been set aside in October 2007 following which the PSC proceeded with the filling of 70 vacancies in the grade of Teacher (Secondary Prevocational) in 2008 under the first intake note of the scheme of service, i.e appointment of the Technical School Management Trust Fund employees. The remaining vacancies will now be filled from among candidates outside the service
 
Mrs Labelle: The hon. Minister has mentioned that there are 49 supply teachers working in the pre-vocational sector. May I know from him whether these teachers who are actually working have been working since 2004?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: According to my information, yes, Mr Speaker, Sir.
 
Mrs Labelle: Mr Speaker, Sir, the pre-vocational sector is a difficult one. Does the hon. Minister think that keeping nearly 50 teachers in this uncertainty will help them to carry out their work? Since the four years, at the end of the year, they are being said there is no job.
 
In January, they are called to work and this uncertainty creates anxiety.
Will this help them to carry out their work?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: I understand the anxiety of the hon. Member which is also mine. But, as I have explained, Mr Speaker, Sir, we are respectful of institutions as well and there has been a case that was lodged in court, we had to wait when it is finished; there was also contestation of the scheme  of service. But, as I have said, now we are proceeding withthe appointment of the teachers.
 
(9.24 p.m)
 
MATTERS RAISED ON ADJOURNMENT
PREVOCATIONAL SCHOOLS – TEACHERS (21/07/09)
 
Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas & Floreal): Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to the attention of the House the difficulties faced by those teachers who work with the most difficult students. Difficult in the sense that these students are those who have the greatest learning difficulties, coupled very often with disorders, be it conduct disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and so on. In fact, these disorders could be the source of their low academic performance. I am talking Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, of teachers in the prevocational sector. Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the students in the prevocational sector are those who have failed twice the CPE or once, but are over aged to repeat and, thus, cannot have access to the mainstream of the secondary cycle.
 
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, if I have mentioned the facts, it is just to remind the House of the difficult environment in which these teachers have to work. These teachers are expected to do within three years what has not been able to be achieved with the students during five to six years. While society is expecting so much from these teachers, these very teachers are those who are less considered in the teaching profession. A quick look at the situation. I am going to focus on only three points: firstly, there are those who are less paid in the teaching profession. Up to now, there are a lot of them waiting for confirmation in their post. They are not at par with their colleagues in the private sector, saying that they are less paid in the teaching profession.
 
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, teachers or educators in the primary sector have a salary scale starting at Rs11,200. Those educators or teachers in primary, with an advanced certificate in education, will start at Rs12,300. In addition to this, if the teachers are working in the ZEP sector or specialised institutions - rightly so – they are drawing an additional allowance of Rs2,600. However, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the teachers in the secondary prevocational have a starting salary of Rs10,700 without any allowance. These teachers do teach up to six periods per day. I think they have the largest range of subjects taught. They start from English, French, Maths, Design & Technology, Home Economics, just to name some, and they have to teach all these subjects. I think it is the only category that has to teach all these subjects. So, less salary, more difficult situation.
 
Coupled with that, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the question of prevocational teachers is something which has been ongoing for years. After several claims, prevocational teachers, who were under several organisations, be it IVTB, TSMTF, have been appointed by the Ministry in February last year.
 
The letters of appointment clearly stated that, after one year of probation, they will receive confirmation in the post. At the end of probationary period, if you are favourably reported upon, you will be confirmed and will then be placed on the permanent and pensionable establishment; it is stated in the appointment letter.
After more than one year, these teachers have not yet received confirmation in their post, and they are anxious. Have they not been favourably reported upon? We have to bear in mind the conditions in which they are working. Maybe, the hon. Minister will enlighten the House why these teachers have not received their confirmation in these posts. Among those teachers,
 
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, several of them not only have their teacher’s certificate but also a teacher’s diploma prevoc.
 
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, it’s not because these teachers are working with difficult students, students who very often are put aside, that they have to receive less consideration.
 
It can be a subject of not very great interest, but I think if we care for the Education sector in this country, we have to care for all types of students and all types of teachers. Ce n’est pas un sujet peut être à grand gain politique, qui peut ne pas intéresser beaucoup dans de cette Chambre mais je pense que c’est un sujet qui mérite qu’on le traite. So, I was saying that these teachers in the pre-voc sectors …
 
(Interruptions)
 
Mr Deputy Speaker: Order, please!
 
Mrs Labelle: …even with a teacher’s diploma, they do not receive the same treatment as those working in the private sector. Teachers holding a pre-voc Diploma in the private sector are drawing a higher salary starting at Rs14,200 whereas in Government sector it is only Rs10,000.
 
Maybe, it is worthwhile mentioning that among those who are in post, prior to the offer of Government, are being enlisted on the establishment; a group of these teachers refused such offer since what was being proposed to them was less than what they were drawing be it in grade or salary scale and their situations have not yet been regularised and these teachers have all completed a Teacher’s Diploma. And here too, this Teacher’s Diploma is three years of parttime study  which means that the prevocational sector is not benefiting from their experience or expertise for months now. The other point I would like to raise regarding this prevocational sector is the supply teachers. In mostly each State secondary school with pre-voc classes there are, at least, two supply teachers.
 
(Interruptions)
 
The Deputy Speaker: Order please! Thank you.
 
Mrs Labelle: I know it is not of great interest to the House, but I think if we care for education we have to talk about it. Most of these supply teachers have been working in this sector for four to five years and many have left after two or three years of working experience.
 
These supply teachers though they have been working for four to five years do not draw any salary for the month of November and December. It occurs that some days in November can be paid if they have been doing some clerical work. And, moreover, their end-of-year bonus is being paid to them in January. After four to five years, not a single day of sick leave or casual leave!
 
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, with such working conditions, lowest salary, no confirmation of appointment, supply teachers with no certainty regarding their career, it just a good recipe for demotivation and demotivated individuals cannot give the best of themselves and thus students who badly that their teachers give the best of themselves are deprived of this opportunity.
 
I would, therefore, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, request the hon. Minister of Education to look into the issue of teachers of pre-voc secondary so as to bring necessary measures for a due recognition of the work of these teachers so that they can receive the due recognition not only for the benefit of the teachers but, of the students and society at large.
 
Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir.
 
The Minister of Education, Culture & Human Resources (Dr. V. Bunwaree): Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have listened very attentively, I must say, and taken good note of what has been just been mentioned by the hon. Third Member for Vacoas & Floréal.
 
I must tell you, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I had some notes, but after what have been mentioned I think I’ll have to look into a few of these matters raised because they do not coincide exactly with what is happening. But, there are many things that have been said that I know of and we are looking very seriously in the matter. I would like to take this opportunity to pay homage to all these teachers who are working, in fact, in the pre-voc sector, a very difficult sector, I agree. In fact, they have to be given due recognition. There is no problem on that.
 
At a later stage, I’ll come with a statement in the House concerning this particular sector.
 
In fact, supply teachers started in 2004. The hon. Member has mentioned about the difficulties faced by these people, that they are not paid for the months or the weeks or the days that they are not working. But, this is not a problem that has been created by me or by this Government.
 
I am going to look into it and I am sure I am going to correct what has to be corrected but I have taken good note of whatever has been said. I agree that something to be done so that these teachers do accept
the recognition that we want to give them.
 
I thank the hon. Member for having raised the question in the House. Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir.
At 9.37 p.m., the Assembly was, on its rising, adjourned to Friday 24 July 2009 at 3.30p.m.
 
 
YEAR 2012 
 
PRE-VOCATIONAL EDUCATION – EXTENSION PROGRAMME (11/12/12)
 
(No. B/701) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Second Member for Quartier Militaire & Moka) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the prevocational streams in secondary schools, he will state if the promotion to Form IV will be effected in January 2013.
 
Reply: I wish to inform the House that in the context of the implementation of the educational policy reform agenda encapsulated in the Education and Human Resource Strategy Plan 2008-2020, Government approved a new strategy for the prevocational education sector on 16 December 2011 with a view to making it an integral part of the secondary schooling.
 
The objective is to give Prevocational Education a new strategic orientation such that it addresses the current challenges and becomes responsive to the needs of an economy which is becoming more and more skills and technology driven.
 
This new strategy is being implemented as from January 2012 in a phased manner.
 
One of the pillars of the new strategy is the extension of the programme duration from 3 to 4 years with a new curriculum aligned on the New Curriculum Framework for the secondary and implementation will be done in collaboration with the MITD.
 
During the transition phase, those students who have been attending Prevocational Year 3 in 2012 and who have not been exposed to the new curriculum will be enrolled in 2013 for the National Certificate Foundation Course at the MITD, as it has always been the case This Foundation course will now be delivered over 3 full days at the MITD Training Centres. The remaining 2 days would be held at the secondary schools and would be utilised to run a special remedial programme focusing more on literacy and numeracy.
 
I would like to highlight that this new programme will lead to a formal certification pitched on the National Qualifications Framework recognized by the Mauritius Qualifications Authority, thereby allowing the Pre Voc students for pathways for lifelong learning.
 
YEAR 2013
 
SAVANNE & BLACK RIVER - PRE-VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS (09/04/13)
 
(No. B/68) Mrs J. Radegonde (Fourth Member for Savanne & Black River) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the new strategy for prevocational schools, he will state the –
(a) number of public and private secondary schools in Zones 3 and 4, located in Constituency No.14, Savanne and Black River, which have the capacity to accommodate same;
(b) number of teachers recruited therefor, indicating
(i) the eligibility criteria therefor, and
(ii) if they possess the required training therefor
(c) curriculum and time table set therefor, and
(d) monitoring and evaluation procedure put in place therefor.
 
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, my Ministry has, as from January 2012, embarked on a new strategy for prevocational education (PVE) in collaboration with the MITD and with the support of the MIE.
 
With regard to part (a) of the question, I am informed that in Constituency No. 14, there are 5 State Secondary Schools (M. Sangeelee SSS, La Gaulette SSS, Bambous SSS, S. Sivananda SSS and Palma SSS) and 2 Private Secondary Schools [Keats College (Boys & Girls) and College du St. Esprit Rivière Noire (Boys & Girls)] running prevocational classes.
 
I wish to inform the hon. Member, Mr Speaker, Sir, that there could be students from Constituency No. 14 attending other schools in Zones 3 and 4 which may be outside Constituency No. 14.
 
Mr Speaker, Sir, as regards part (b), it must be noted that recruitment of teachers is not effected on a constituency basis. However, there are, at present, 57 Teachers posted in the 5 State Secondary Schools and 2 Private Secondary Schools running prevocational classes in that Constituency. As at now, existing available resources are being used and 11 redundant prevocational teachers have been redeployed in the pre-voc stream of State Secondary Schools in Constituency No. 14. Moreover, for better coordination and monitoring, each school has appointed a Head of Department for the pre-voc stream.
 
Mr Speaker, Sir, pre-voc teachers are recruited in accordance with the criteria laid down in the prescribed Scheme of Service for the post. I wish to inform the House that the MIE has conducted training workshops to empower pre-voc educators to deliver the new curriculum.
As far as the curriculum is concerned, the MIE, in consultation with the MITD, has worked out a new programme aligned on the new National Curriculum Framework – Secondary, based on 4 key domains of learning for the prevocational stream, namely -
(1) Communication Skills
(2) Numeracy and Problem-Solving Skills
(3) Life Skills
(4) Livelihood and Trade Skills with ICT cross-cutting the different domains.
 
During in-service courses conducted by the MIE, all Educators and Heads of Schools were provided a CD of the new Curriculum. This MIE training programme which started in December 2012 is still being pursued.
 
New resource materials have been introduced along with a new pedagogy, shifting from the traditional subject teaching to domain teaching. Emphasis is laid on activity-based teaching and learning, team–work and other innovative pedagogical approaches with a view to engaging fully the students and enriching their learning experiences.
 
The time table for the pre-voc Years III and IV has been adjusted in line with the mixed mode of attendance with students following the course at both their school and a MITD Training Centre.
 
Mr Speaker, Sir, as regards part (d) of the question, I wish to inform the House that contrary to previous years where prevocational students did not receive any formal established qualification, the 4th year of the pre-vocational education will now lead to a formal recognized certification pitched at Level 1 of the National Qualifications Framework. The new course materials contain a built-in system of continuous assessment that would contribute towards the award of the final PVE certification.
 
The Quality Assurance and Inspection Division of my Ministry together with the Pre-voc Inspectors and the MIE are monitoring the implementation of the curriculum and the quality of teaching and learning in the Pre-vocational stream. Two Prevocational Coordinators have been newly appointed, and will also be involved in the monitoring and evaluation of the curriculum.
 
They are presently attending briefing sessions at the MIE on the delivery and implementation of the curriculum.
 
Mrs Radegonde: Mr Speaker, Sir, I understand the hon. Minister made a very impressive presentation on the curriculum and syllabus prepared by the MIE. In the light of what he has just said, can the hon. Minister tell us about the implementation of the curriculum at the public and private schools in zones 3 and 4 he has just mentioned? Is there a proper monitoring system in place to ensure that same is being delivered, and that respectively both teachers and children have a portfolio as evidence of what is being done at school?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: I did mention the monitoring work in my reply. I have been explicit on that. I must say that this is a new programme. It has started only this year. We are, in fact, having a first assessment - I think it is tomorrow. The Monitoring Unit is meeting under my chairmanship to see whatever difficulties there could be, as is always the case when we start programmes like that.
 
Mrs Labelle: The hon. Minister has mentioned the different subjects being taught, and he has even mentioned this Livelihood and Trade Skills. May I ask the hon. Minister whether he is aware that the practical side of this curriculum is not being implemented? For example, for agriculture, it is only theory, woodwork is theory, ICT is theory because the pupils of Prevoc do not have access to ICT labs or any other labs, and in so many of these schools there is not even a small garden. How are we going to implement this syllabus, when we do not give access to such facilities to these students?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: This is a problem of the past. In fact, this is what we are correcting. We have just started this programme in the month of January, and there are teething problems, as I said. Of course, all this will be taken care of. If the hon. Member is patient, she will see the changes that are going to come out of this new system soon.
 
Mrs Radegonde: Mr Speaker, Sir, with regard to the first attempt of the CPE failures, the philosophy of ‘no child left behind’ is becoming irrelevant. Can the hon. Minister tell us what are the odds of the CPE failures to succeed a second time in front of a compiled syllabus, if I understood very well, of Maths and ICT only, including basic Standard 3(iv) Part Year I, Standard 4(v) Part II and Standard 6 Year Part III, whereas languages, Science, History and Geography are not covered by the proposed syllabus, and being delivered by untrained retired supply teachers within a timeframe of one year only? In some cases, the manual given to complete the syllabus is not even accessible to the children. Therefore, they are being compelled to use the previous CPE books. Should he agree with me that the so-called…
 
Mr Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member. This is a speech! You are making a speech!
 
Dr. Bunwaree: Many questions in one question. All these are being taken care of. In fact, we have held an important forum, where all this was discussed, and we are in the process of implementing a few changes. But I will take on board whatever the hon. Member has said.
 
There are some points which are interesting, and which have already been taken at the level of the forum.
 
CPE - FAILURES - PRE VOCATIONAL STREAM (09/04/13)
 
(No. B/106) Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe & Midlands) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the new policy to encourage students having failed the Certificate of Primary Education examinations at their first attempt to join the pre vocational stream at secondary level, he will state the -
(a) rationale thereof;
(b) number of students concerned therewith, indicating the number thereof which have opted for the pre vocational stream;
(c) implications for the repeaters for the Certificate of Primary Education examinations in primary schooling, and
(d) consequences for the pre vocational sector of secondary education.
 
(Withdrawn)
 
CPE – FAILURES - PRE VOCATIONAL STREAM (16/04/13)
 
(No. B/150) Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe & Midlands) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the new policy to encourage students having failed the Certificate of Primary Education examinations at their first attempt to join the pre vocational stream at secondary level, he will state the -
(a) rationale thereof;
(b) number of students concerned therewith, indicating the number thereof which have opted for the pre vocational stream;
(c) implications for the repeaters for the Certificate of Primary Education examinations in primary schooling, and
(d) consequences for the pre vocational sector of secondary education.
 
(Withdrawn)
 
CPE - FAILURES – PREVOCATIONAL STREAM (07/05/13)
 
(No. B/242) Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe and Midlands) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the new policy to encourage students having failed the Certificate of Primary Education examinations at their first attempt to join the pre vocational stream at secondary level, he will state the –
(a) rationale thereof;
(b) number of students concerned therewith, indicating the number thereof which have opted for the pre vocational stream;
(c) implications for the repeaters for the Certificate of Primary Education examinations in primary schooling, and
(d) consequences for the pre vocational sector of secondary education.
 
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, with regard to part (a) of the question, I wish to inform the House that, in November 2012, during my intervention on the Budget Speech in relation to prevocational education, I pointed out that pupils who have failed CPE at their first attempt will be allowed to join the prevocational stream while, at the same time, be given the opportunity to sit for the CPE examinations a second time. I also explained the rationale behind this new policy especially in the context of the extension of the prevocational education (PVE) programme from 3 to 4 years bearing in mind that education is compulsory up to the age of 16 and the legal age for work is also the same.
 
I recall, Mr Speaker, Sir, that the hon. Members from both sides of the House welcomed this initiative.
 
I wish to inform the House that general consensus was also reached on this measure at the Consultative Forum on the review of the CPE held on 17 December 2012.
 
It is worth noting that only 39.3% of pupils repeating the CPE examinations in 2012 had passed. Thus, about 60% of those children were unsuccessful in improving their results after spending one additional year in the CPE class and finally they had to join the PVE Year I the next year. Had they not repeated CPE in their primary school, they would have gained one year at the prevocational stream.
 
Mr Speaker, Sir, we have to reckon with the fact that the secondary school offers a new learning environment where there is a wider range of school activities and facilities. The PVE programme provides for a different pedagogy with emphasis on activity-based teaching and scope for trade and life skills where the learner is fully involved. At the same time, it is especially designed and tailor made to cater for the needs of that category of learners. Ultimately, we really want to create new conditions that would enable the learner to regain his self-esteem and live his schooling life with a positive mindset. All these factors can contribute to trigger a new interest in the child for attending school and for learning.
 
On the strengths of the above rationale, it was decided, Mr Speaker, Sir, to implement this specific measure as from 2013 and to give the opportunity to CPE repeaters to join PVE Year I with the possibility of sitting again for the CPE examination at the end of the year. Thus, those who pass the CPE at their second attempt will have the option of either joining the mainstream in Form I the following year or to continue in the PVE stream if they so wish. As for the unsuccessful ones, they will move to Year II of the prevocational stream without having lost one year.
 
As regards part (b) of the question, I am informed that, out of 3,932 children who failed the CPE at their first attempt in 2012, 1984 have taken this option and have been admitted in PVE Year I in either a State or a private secondary school.
 
This measure has required the operation of additional PVE Year I sections, namely 28 in State Secondary Schools and 62 in Private Secondary Schools.
 
Concerning part (c) of the question, I wish to inform the house that pupils who have failed the CPE at the first attempt and who have not opted to join the prevocational stream are following CPU repeater classes in their respective primary schools as it used to be in the past and the special programme designed for them since 2011 is being pursued.
 
Mr Speaker, Sir, as for part (d) of the question, the prevocational stream in secondary schools offers now a four-year programme based on the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for prevocational education. This new policy provides an opportunity for CPE repeaters to join PVE Year I with option to sit for CPE examinations at the end of the year as I have said. In this context, Year I programme has been revisited and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for prevocational education reviewed accordingly.
 
This measure reinforces the very foundation of prevocational education to make it an integral part of secondary schooling. The new strategic orientation addresses the current challenges to enable us to become more responsive to the needs of an economy which is becoming more skills driven.
 
This specially designed programme meant for pupils who cannot follow the secondary mainstream education will have the following added benefits:
(i) They will have their self-esteem enhanced especially at an early stage of their life and this will develop confidence and render secondary schooling more meaningful.
(ii) It will provide them the opportunity to gain insightful knowledge into potential areas of future employment.
(iii) They will benefit from a new Quality Assurance System.
 
The extended four-year programme will lead to a National Certification pitched on the National Consultations Framework recognised by the Mauritius Qualifications Authority, thus allowing pathways for lifelong learning; the four years of prevocational education will be considered as a qualification at par with the CPE, that is, MQA-level one qualification.
 
The new prevoc certificate will have greater recognition and proper equivalence.
 
The new system will thus provide for greater internal efficiency in the education system and avoid wastage of resources while, at the same time, contributing towards future employability and entry into the labour market of our youngsters.
 
I wish to thank the hon. Member for this interesting question.
 
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, the Minister has given a very long answer and I hope I will be allowed a few supplementary questions.
 
Mr Speaker: Of course, you will.
 
Mr Obeegadoo: My first question is: will the hon. Minister, to set the record straight, confirm that the Opposition agreed to the extension of prevocational from 3 to 4 years but never to any issue of redeploying, if that is the term, first-time failures as they are called to prevocational education and that, in fact, this measure had never been mentioned either in the Presidential Address or in the strategy document of the Ministry of Education or any official pronouncement of Ministers of Education up until the beginning of this year?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: I don’t know if this has been discussed in the party of the hon. Member, but maybe he was absent when I was talking about this. This is one thing. We will check, but there is therefore a difference in policy but this is our policy.
 
Dr. Bunwaree: I do not know if this has been discussed in the party of the hon. Member, but maybe he was absent when I was talking about this. This is one thing.
(Interruptions)
 
We will check. There is, therefore, a difference in policy, but this is our policy.
 
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, my second supplementary is: does the hon. Minister realise that, whereas children repeating the CPE have, at least, a 40% chance of succeeding and over the years it is between 40% and 50% of repeaters who succeeded in obtaining the CPE, as per Government policy, if those children are sent to secondary schools where there are no CPE teachers, no library facilities or any other facilities to prepare the CPE, those children are being condemned to living the rest of their lives without a CPE, which is the very basic qualification required for employment in Mauritius?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: I do not agree with the hon. Member. This is his way of looking at things. I have said it is an integrated programme - which I have mentioned. Now, if you read properly what I have said, those children who, unfortunately, - and they are about 60%, I said - do not succeed the second time, those children are going to continue and now the extended four year programme, as I said, will lead to a national certification which is going to be pitched on the NQF - recognised by the MQA - and it will be considered at par with the CPE. Therefore, these children, at the end of their four-year schooling – I hope they are all going to go through, because the continuous assessment is going to take place - they are going to have this certificate which will have the equivalence of the CPE. So, there is no problem.
 
Mr Obeegadoo: The hon. Minister knows full well that more than half of these children drop out in the first two years and that there is no PSC recognised equivalence with the CPE.
 
But, is he aware that children in the poorest schools have been practically forced to move out of primary to join the secondary sector? Is he aware that it is only now, in May, that CPE teachers are being called upon to be redeployed in secondary schools to take care of these children?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: The hon. Member is making exception become the rule. This is the first time that we have moved on this project. Of course, there are teething problems. I, myself, chaired a meeting at the end of the first term to consider all the difficulties that could have cropped up, because it is a revolution. So, I would pray the hon. Member to let this system work and then we will have always the time to discuss and see what can be done further.
 
Mr Obeegadoo: Will the hon. Minister not admit that the real motive is to save some low demand primary schools from closure because, right now, many private secondary schools are becoming Prevoc schools,and also to artificially raise the CPE pass rate by eliminating those who would in their majority have failed?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: This is an invention of the mind. I do not know where the hon. Member is taking all that from. Mr Speaker, Sir, what I can say to this House is that we have taken this measure. If they were not probably agreeable, but, at least, at the forum that we organised on CPE review, there was consensus; there was no voice against this measure. So, I went accordingly.
 
Mrs Navarre-Marie: I heard the hon. Minister talking about teething problems. Do we need to understand that there has been no proper planning of the programme and that these children are being used as cobaye?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: C’est triste ce que j’entends. Moi, utiliser les enfants comme cobayes ?
 
On ne me connait pas ! M. le président, il y a beaucoup de choses qui se font au niveau du CPE.
 
Comme je disais tout à l’heure, we had a consultative forum, we discussed all these points and this is a point that has made consensus and unanimously accepted. I am coming with another project. I can already inform the hon. Members. I say that because I want to get their views. I am coming with a new project, because about 2,000 CPE students who failed the first time, have failed in only one subject and very near the 30% mark, in only one subject. So, as from this year, in December, immediately after the CPE examination, there will be another examination for the students to sit only in the subject where they have failed to allow them to pick up.
 
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, according to our information, it is redundant primary teachers who are being sent to secondary schools to teach those first attempt failures. I would like to know from the hon. Minister who are those redundant primary teachers? How have primary teachers been made redundant?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: I will have to check in what is being said. Again, I think it is exception becoming the rule. I will have to check anyway. There are supply teachers who are taken; in the supply group, there could be redundant teachers.
 
The question that is being asked, I’ll have to look into the reason and then come up again.
 
Mr Speaker: Last question to hon. Obeegadoo! It has been sufficiently aired.
 
Mr Obeegadoo: Will the hon. Minister not agree that this is yet again an instance of Government discriminating against the poorest sections of the population and their children?
 
Will he take a solemn undertaking before the House so that next year, he will make public the numbers of the children who will take the CPE from amongst those who are going on to secondary now and the pass rate amongst those students?
 
Dr. Bunwaree: The pass rate will always be…
 
(Interruptions)
 
…well, of course, disaggregated; everything will be transparent. In fact, I am looking forward to consider the results with all attention, but I do not want to remind the hon. Member what my colleague, hon. Dr. Jeetah, said the other day giving the results of the CPE examinations when he was Minister, when it was going down year after year; it was dropping.
 
 
PRE-VOCATIONAL EDUCATION – SCHOOL MATERIAL (25/06/13)
 
Mr G. Lesjongard (Second Member for Port Louis North and Montagne Longue): Mr Speaker, Sir, the issue I wish to raise is addressed to the Minister of Education and pertains to the ongoing reforms in the education sector and more specifically to the new strategy for prevocational education. It concerns those students who have failed the CPE exams for the first time and who decide to join pre-voc education to take part in the CPE exams and, if they pass, join the main stream or continue as pre-voc students. I think this issue has been aired recently on the radio and I think the hon. Minister is well aware of the concern expressed by those parents, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir.
 
Cela concerne plus particulièrement le manque de professeurs, le manque de materiel scolaire et manque de programme tout court. Alors moi, M. le président, j’interviens suite, comme je l’ai dit, à des interventions des parents à la radio qui se sont plaints de manque de matériel scolaire à la fin de ce deuxième trimestre et ils voudraient que le ministère concerné agisse dans le plus bref délai pour que ces enfants là puissent avoir le matériel scolaire
nécessaire. Comme je l’ai dit, on est au mois de juin et ces parents sont très inquiets.
 
Alors je fais un pressant appel au ministre pour qu’il puisse, lui, intervenir le plus vite possible afin que, non seulement, ces élèves puissent avoir leur matériel scolaire mais aussi pallier à ce manque de professeurs qui existe à ce niveau, c'est-à-dire, pre-voc year one.
 
Merci, M. le président.
 
The Minister of Education and Human Resources (Dr. V. Bunwaree): Mr Deputy Speaker, I think I have had the opportunity to explain the policy behind this project and it is already known that it has already started.
 
As for the question of books, I will look into this problem, but I am aware that the MIE has prepared a very special programme for these students and as it has started only this year, so it is going as and when. It is not all at the same time, but I will look into the matter if ever there is any difficulty somewhere.