The history of education in Mauritius can be tracked back to 1778 when a “College Royal” was opened. However, education was restricted
to a privileged class unit 1815, when Reud. Jean Lebrun started a free primary school in Port Louis. Side by side with Government efforts, various religious organisations also played an important part in
fostering the creation of educational institutions. In 1944, far-reaching reforms were brought in the educational system and as from 1947, with new constitutional development; there was a rapid expansion in
Since independence, new dimensions have been added to education. The whole system has been gradually democratised. New government primary and secondary schools were
opened and more classrooms were added to existing schools. The University of Mauritius became fully operational and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute was created. The Mauritius College of the Air, the
Mauritius Institute of Education, a Sea Training School, a Hotel and Catering Training School, Trade Training Centres and a Lycée Polytechnique were set up. A Department of Law and the Sir Seewoosagur
Ramgoolam Centre for Medical studies were created at the University of Mauritius and the Mauritius Examination Syndicate instituted. However, the most prominent landmark was the introduction of free secondary
education in 1977.
Pre-primary schools are mostly self-financed and privately operated by individuals or community organisations while some pre-primary classes are run by the Government in some primary
schools. The policy of the Government is to encourage community participation in the pre-primary sector while providing training for all pre-primary school teachers. A pre-primary unit has been set up to
look after this sector. It provides training programmes, runs pilot classes, supervises the schools and provides resource materials to the different centres. A pre-school Trust Fund was set up to
mobilise funds and resources to supplement grant-in-aid to the pre-school sector.
Pupils are admitted to primary schools at the age of five. Primary schooling lasts six years for most of the pupils and a seventh year for those who are unsuccessful at the
Certificate of Primary Education Examination (CPE). Because of ranking and too much competition resulting in a ‘rat race’ beginning right from the lower primary years, and exerting immense psychological
pressure on both pupils and parents, reforms are underway to do away with CPE ranking.
At the end of primary cycle, successful students are admitted to secondary schools where, after five years, they sit for the Cambridge School Certificate Examinations. Those
who obtain the required number of credits at the School Certificate Examinations and who are below 19 years are eligible for the two-year Higher School Certificate Course. The school curriculum is being
constantly monitored so as to adapt it to changing needs. Besides academics subjects, the on-going lower secondary curriculum (renewal) project has been reviewed to include computer literacy and family life
education. The teaching of oriental languages has been extended. While State Schools are directly under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, private colleges are monitored by the Private
Secondary Schools Authority (PSSA).
Reforms at the Secondary level include the following:
1) An intensive programme of extension, renovation and construction of secondary schools so as to vastly increase the choice of State Secondary Schools
given to students in all regions of the country.
2) The conversion of high demand State Secondary Schools into Form 6 colleges so as to ensure ‘parity of esteem’ between State Secondary Schools
(Form 1-5) and thereby eliminate the need for ranking at CPE.
3) Regionalisation of admissions to Form 1 so as to guarantee a fair measure of parental choice but within a geographical region.
Tertiary Education in the country is offered by the University of Mauritius. Established in 1965, the University aims at providing facilities for teaching and research, thereby
promoting the advancement of learning and knowledge. It offers courses leading to bachelor degrees in administration, law, agriculture and technology. A centre for computer studies is also
operational. Set up with three schools, Agriculture, Administration, and Industrial Technology, the university has now been re-organised with five faculties:
3) Law and Management
4) Sciences and
5) Social Studies and Humanities.
A Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has been set up to foster the development of post-secondary education and training facilities in accordance with the social, cultural and
economic needs to the country. The institutions coming within the purviews of the TEC are the University of Mauritius, the Mauritius Institute of Education, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute and the Mauritius
College of the Air.
The Mauritius Institute of Education undertakes major curriculum reforms and organises teacher education courses at all levels.
An institution which has been very active in the field of non-formal education is the Mauritius College of the Air. It also provides support to formal education through radio,
television, correspondence courses and direct teaching, and is involved in the promotion of the arts, sciences and culture in general.
The Government has set up various training institutions to provide technical and vocational training to upgrade skills of workers in local industries and enterprise.