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Pre-primary education in Mauritius - Status and future developments

Education in Mauritius : status and future developments (Pre primary subsector)

The educational landscape can be analysed in terms of the four main subsectors composing it namely:

·         Pre-primary;

·         Primary;

·         Secondary ; and

·         Tertiary

In Mauritius, Government provides free education from pre-primary to tertiary level. This underscores the premium put on the development of a solid human resource base.

Pre-primary subsector

The pre-primary sector comprising Pre-primary Units (PPUs) in Government Schools and private sector  pre-schools the so-called ‘ecoles maternelles’ is regulated by the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority (ECCEA) whose mission is to provide equal access for all children to quality pre-schooling, including those at risk of delayed development and disabilities, through a child-centered and play-based approach, with the involvement of the parents.

It is important to note that the ECCEA has in fact replaced the Pre School Trust Fund in 2008 with a broader scope for action i.e. more than a simply a fund it is now a full fledged authority. One of the averred objectives of the ECCEA is to make Mauritius a Centre d’Excellence in the region, especially for those countries who target the attainment of EFA Goals. Just for information the ECCEA bill was presented  in 2007 and its main object was to provide for the establishment of the EarlyChildhood Care and Education Authority and to have a more efficient regulatoryframework in relation to early childhood care and education.

This has certainly had some impact on the monitoring role of the organization with a clear cut drive towards compliance to minimum norms hence promoting quality in the sector.

Recent Developments

A cursory view at the website of the ECCEA gives us a quick insight at the latest developments. One of them is the formulation and implementation of the National Curriculum Framework which places Mauritius among the rare countries in Africa with such a framework. The drive for quality in the sector is quite apparent and laudable.

Statistics in the pre-primary sector (figures from the ECCEA website : www.tipti.org )

As at 30 June 2010, the ECCEA has estimated that were some 32,342 pupils enrolled for preprimary education broken down by age as follows: 3+: 16,003, 4+: 15628 and 5: 711.

The Private Sector provides for the bulk of the supply with 24,833 pupils attending the private pre-primary schools. The ECCEA and local authorities provide for the rest.

Future Developments

With the implementation of the NCF for the pre-primary sector the quality of education should keep on improving; and as announced in the Government Programme 2010-2015, it is expected that a Rs 200 per head per month grant for each student attending a private preprimary school in their last year of schooling will be extended to those aged 3+ as well in the future by 2015. This should normally help to lower the cost of education hence favouring greater access, equity and fairness in education.

Ultimately the ECCEA envisions to cater for children of pre-school aged 3 to 5 years old, to give them all means required for a sustainable education.

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