MINISTER OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND HUMAN RESOURCES – PROPOSED REFORM PLAN (01/12/09)
(No. B/1267) Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the proposed reform plan of his Ministry to be implemented as from January 2010, he will state wherematters stand.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS – PHYSICAL EDUCATION CLASSES (21/07/09)
(No. B/930) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Third Member for La Caverne & Phoenix) asked the Minister of Education, Culture & Human Resources whether he will state if Physical Education classes are carried out in Government Primary Schools and, if so, indicate the number of schools where such classes are carried out.
Reply: One of our main policy objectives is to promote the teaching and practice of Physical Education so as to foster the overall development of the child.
In line with the above objective, each class in every primary school has been allocated 2 slots of 25 minutes weekly in the time-table for the teaching of Physical Education.
Following a policy decision in 2000, all General Purpose Teachers are called upon to teach Physical Education in their classes. PRB Report 2008 has endorsed this as being part of duties of General Purpose Teachers.
In addition, 34 Physical Education Instructors provide support to primary schools. In line with PRB Report 2008, they are responsible for implementation of curriculum on physical education and health. Each Instructor caters for a cluster of 6 to 7 schools in a zone and provides exposure on Physical Education and Health.
In practice certain types of physical exercises such as breathing, drills, jumping and stretching are generally carried out in schools. Normally it is the class teacher who takes this responsibility. However, where playgrounds and other sports facilities are available, the Physical Education Instructors organise sports activities such as football, race and other types.
KREOL LANGUAGE – MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTION (14/07/09)
(No. B/823) Mr G. Lesjongard (Second Member for Port Louis North & Montagne Longue) asked the hon. Minister of Education, Culture & Human Resources whether he will state if Government has recently adopted the policy to use the creole language as a medium of instruction at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, although Government has not yet adopted a formal policy for the language of the environment such as Kreol or even Bhojpuri as a medium of instruction, it is already a current practice for teachers to have recourse to the Mauritian Kreol language as an aid in educational institutions along with English and French for children who have serious learning difficulties or lack of the basic foundation skills for effective communication.
The House may wish to learn that, as per section 43 of the Education Regulations 1957, Kreol language can be used in the lower classes of Government and aided primary schools up to and including Standard III, just as any other language of the environment may be employed as a medium of instruction, being a language which is in keeping with the learning ability of the pupils.
While it is true that we do not discourage the use of the Kreol language to facilitate understanding and learning, English is and remains the medium of instruction across the different sectors of the system and it is also a fact that the principle has always been to expose all our learners to other languages like English and French that make up for our comparative advantage at all levels. This is all the more true for Tertiary levels studies since our emerging professionals have to be in a position to participate in activities in a global context.
Evolving a policy to use the Kreol language as a medium of instruction has several implications in terms of legal provisions, international recognition, parental consent, school curriculum and training of teachers. All these are under consideration.
The House may note that we are not remaining idle to the use of Kreol as a medium of instruction and indeed, as the House is aware we are in the process of setting up a Creole Speaking Union which will be called upon to look into this matter, as a priority for paving the way of the formal use of Kreol Morisien in schools especially as one harmonized writing system GRAFI LARMONI has already been proposed by the University of Mauritius.
In the meantime, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, my Ministry is following up very closely the ongoing BEC project intended to promote Kreol at the pre voc level.
The Bureau d’Education Catholique is proposing, in fact, to embark on an action research program on a pilot basis, as from January 2010, the use of the mother tongue, in some schools, as a pedagogical tool for effective learning.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, once again there seems to be a confusion between the medium and the support language. Creole has been used as a support language but, unfortunately, not as a medium of teaching. May I ask the hon. Minister - because the previous Minister, last year, announced the setting-up of a joint committee between the BEC and the technicians of his Ministry - whether this committee has been set-up and if not, why not?
The Minister announced the setting-up of a committee since 25 February. I am referring to PQ No. B/991 where the Minister talked of a meeting held between the BEC and the technicians of his Ministry on 25 February and it was supposed to have other working meetings and so on.
May we know whether this project is on or not?
Dr. Bunwaree: Meetings are going on. In fact, that was one meeting, but there have been other meetings. The committee is working and we have not discouraged BEC to go along with it but there was some feeling of discouraging BEC at the start I must say. But, this is out of question, we have not discouraged them; they have already done some work. Last time, in answer to a question I said that in the month of September they are supposed to submit a report.
Now, we have already been informed that pending the obtention of the report, we are going to look into that, but we have not objected to the start of a pilot project in early January next year.
Mr Lesjongard: May I ask the hon. Minister whether he is aware of the recent statement made by the Prime Minister that he is in favour of the Creole language being used as a medium of instruction at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. If this is the case, what measures have already been taken at the level of his Ministry?
Dr. Bunwaree: The Prime Minister is already aware of what we are doing at the level of the Ministry and I have already mentioned that there are many other implications, but we are going very quickly. I believe that with the setting-up of the Creole Speaking Union - because the GRAFI-LARMONI is already there, they have to finalise something so that we might go into it.
The point has been made that there is a difference between medium, of course, and using Creole as a support language. What I have tried to make clear in my reply is that the support language is not only there, but it is being encouraged, to allow children to understand better and learn better.
But, at the same time, we are going in line into trying to get Creole as a written language itself.
Mrs Labelle: The hon. Minister has talked about a pilot project and the BEC will be using Creole as the medium of teaching. I don't know whether the hon. Minister has taken cognizance of what has already been done at the level of the BEC. It is my pleasure to table a book which is the “Matématik” book, Mathématiques Elémentaires, and it is in two versions, Creole and English. So, here it is an example of Creole as a medium of teaching and it is my pleasure to table a copy of this book. I would like to know whether the hon. Minister has taken cognizance of this work which has been used during the past years?
Dr. Bunwaree: Not only have I taken cognizance, I am well aware and I have the book in my office. But what we are lacking and expecting is to get the assessment that has been made after the book has been in use.
PRIMARY & SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS – LINGUISTIC & CULTURAL RIGHTS - EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES (23/06/09)
(No. B/597) Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the primary and secondary school 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.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, primary and secondary schools are already equal opportunities settings, and all pupils/students attending these schools are afforded the same opportunities, inasmuch as they follow the same curriculum, use the same textbooks and are taught by educators having the same level of relevant qualifications and training.
However, we have to reckon with the fact that all pupils/students do not have the same facilities and aptitudes, with the result that many of them have learning and other difficulties. It is for this reason that Government has introduced measures of positive discrimination, like the “ZEP Project” in the primary sector, and the “Books for Needy Students” in the secondary sector.
On the linguistic side, English and French are core compulsory subjects, both at primary and secondary levels, whereas the Asian Languages are optional but are extended to pupils/students of non-Asian descent too. Creole language is also used as a support language to facilitate learning at lower primary level.
As regards culture, there is no such subject in its own right either at primary or at secondary. However, cultural issues are integrated in the curriculum and cut across the subjects, more particularly History and Geography at primary level and Social Science as well as History at secondary level. It is to be noted that ad-hoc cultural activities such as Drama, Theatre, Music are also carried out in schools. Such activities have been initiated this year during the activity period, which has been introduced in secondary schools in January last. They will be fully operational in all schools in 2010, both at primary and secondary levels.
We are making, Mr Speaker, Sir, every effort to ensure that there is, therefore, no linguistic or cultural discrimination of any kind in primary and secondary schools.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Speaker, Sir, the Minister will agree that, if we give the same thing to children with different needs, it is not ensuring equal opportunities. In this respect, particularly when low performing students or schools are concerned, studies have shown that when the culture is not being valued, there is high risk for low academic performance. Will the hon. Minister contemplate to initiate actions, so that we can have proper studies to see such impact in our education sector? This is my first question.
Secondly, the Minister has said that the Creole language is being used as support in lower primary, but we are all aware that Creole language is being used at all levels, even at University.
But, as a language itself, is the Minister contemplating introducing this in our curriculum sector?
Dr. Bunwaree: In fact, we are seriously working on this possibility, Mr Speaker, Sir, to see in what way the language can be used as a medium of instruction. It is allowed in Standard I, II & III officially for the time being. But, of course, we are working on it, and we have to devise ways and means of agreeing on the language itself, which is not yet done, as a written language for the time being. I agree that whenever teachers feel the need of using Creole in any class, this is done, but not at the risk of penalising the English language in any case.
Mrs Labelle: May I ask the hon. Minister whether he has taken cognizance of what has been done in PreVoc/BEC and whether he has t aken cognizance of the evaluation already effected after more than four years of such training?
Dr. Bunwaree: I am constantly in touch with that, because it is of interest to me personally, I must say, Mr Speaker, Sir. But they have not evaluated completely, and there is much work still to be done. In fact, this morning, I had a phone conversation with the Director of BEC, and they are expecting, by the month of August, to come forward with a work paper, and from then on we will see.
Mrs Martin: Mr Speaker, Sir, can the Minister say whether he is contemplating initiating discussions. I know there had been a lot of discussions which have started under different Governments, but this time with a view to make at least a step forward in putting the Creole language at par with the other languages which are taught in schools.
Dr. Bunwaree: I think I have already partially replied to that. At this stage, we cannot put it at par, but we are moving into that direction. But I must say it is a slow process, and we have to be very careful because all experts seem to agree for the time being, that, if we do it too quickly, it could be to the detriment of English, which would not give the good results that we are expecting.
Mr Lesjongard: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that Creole language is being used as a support language at the lower primary level. Can I know from the hon. Minister whether his Ministry has identified problems related to the use of the Creole as a support language at other levels of education?
Dr. Bunwaree: Well, not exactly, but I can say that, on the other side, there is no empirical evidence that the use of Creole as a medium of instruction - and as it is in use – has allowed students to learn better or mprove. We do not have empirical evidence.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Speaker, Sir, I have heard the hon. Minister mention that experts have stated that introducing the Creole may be to the detriment of English. But an empirical study has been carried out during the past four years for Prevoc BEC, where the results have shown that the English performance of these kids has been increasing at a considerable and impressive way.
Is the Minister aware of this? Because this is empirical.
Dr. Bunwaree: I have looked into that, Mr Speaker, Sir, but there is no document to confirm what the hon. Member is saying.
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.
STANDARD III ENGLISH AND FRENCH TEXTBOOKS – REPRESENTATIONS (14/04/09)
(No. B/231) Mr Y. Varma (First Member for Mahebourg and Plaine Magnien) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the new Standard III English and French textbooks, he will state if he is aware of any complaint in relation thereto and, if so -
(a) the nature thereof, and
(b) the remedial measures that will be taken.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, I thank the hon. Member for this question. I am indeed aware of representations made regarding the new English and French textbooks of Standard III including comments from some trade unionists in the press. The bottom line of these representations is that the new textbooks are generally overloaded and the Standard III English and French textbooks in particular are complicated and are of too high a level for the pupils.
Be it as it may, Mr Speaker, Sir, I must say that the new textbooks are premised on the National Curriculum Framework (Primary) which was elaborated after a National Debate on Curriculum Reform in December 2005 in which all stakeholders and all trade unions took part. There was synergy and consensus on the broad curricular issues.
Further, the new textbooks have been written by experienced educators who form part of the subject panels. Before these textbooks were finalised and issued to students, they have been tested on a pilot basis and there was no negative feedback received then.
Consequently, there is no clear indication at this stage that the textbooks are in fact really overloaded or complicated. However, it is admitted that –
(i) these textbooks follow a new approach whereby life skills and a number of concepts like values or environmental consciousness have been integrated therein, and
(ii) students with learning difficulties particularly in the ZEP schools may have some difficulty to grasp the new concepts thus requiring additional efforts from the Teacher.
As a result thereof, there could have been a perception that the textbooks are complicated when, in fact, such may not be really the case.
Nevertheless, the MIE has been requested to carry out a fresh evaluation of the two textbooks and submit a report.
Mr Varma: Mr Speaker, Sir, could the hon. Minister inform the House when is the report expected to be ready?
Dr. Bunwaree: Well, I want this to go as quickly as possible. In fact, this is also a question of days. But, the Ministry is very closely monitoring, Mr Speaker, Sir, the situation of the third and fourth standards with respect to these books and inspectors may be called upon to provide necessary support to the teachers in case of necessity.
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.
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 – KREOL MORISIEN – INTRODUCTION (30/03/10)
(No. B/92) Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to Kreol Morisien in schools, he will state the actions that have been initiated or are being contemplated by Government for the introduction thereof as an optional subject and medium of instruction, indicating the timeframe for itsimplementation.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, in my reply to PQ No. B/823 on 14 July 2009, I pointed out that the use of Kreol Morisien can be resorted to by teachers as an aid to help overcome serious learning difficulties in the classroom as well as to facilitate better understanding and communication.
I wish to remind the House that, in January this year, I made a policy statement whereby Kreol Morisien can be used as a support language to facilitate teaching and learning at all levels, whether at primary or secondary school. The House will realize that this a very significant step forward that has been taken to effectively recognize the value and place of Kreol Morisien in school set up as a tool to facilitate assimilation of concepts.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the use of any language as a medium of instruction carries a number of implications which include national acceptance and international recognition, parental consent, training of teachers as well as a review of the school curriculum. These implications are being carefully examined and studied, however, keeping in mind that, being insular, our outlook has to be exogenous and outward looking.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, our multicultural and multilingual entity makes it important to give due respect and recognition to languages brought by our ancestors. This explains why Asian languages and Arabic have found their rightful place in the school curricula.
One would wish to have a similar recognition of and value added to Kreol Morisien with its introduction as an optional subject. This has already been announced publicly by the hon. Prime Minister and we are going in this direction. But this in itself, has implications regarding the production of curriculum materials, recruitment and training of teachers and especially nationally accepted and standardized written form of the language. The whole exercise is part
and parcel of an ongoing and evolving process.
In this context, my Ministry is embarking on a national consultation process, involving all stakeholders, whether these be members of the academia, researchers, pedagogues, linguists as well as those who, in one way or another, can contribute to the debate. The overall aim is to build up a national consensus on the issue. As an initial step towards the enterprise, we are going to invite all parties wishing to bring their contribution to make submissions very soon.
These inputs will be central to the discussions and deliberation of a national forum to be organised soon.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, when I heard the hon. Minister mentioned that following PQ No. B/823, he mentioned that the Creole language can be used as a support language and this is a very important step that we have done, I feel very sad because the hon. Minister is aware that this is the case since 1957. So, there is no big progress. According to section 43 of the Education Regulation of 1957, it is the case. So, saying that we have just done a huge step, I don’t think it is a correct statement.
The Deputy Speaker: Put your question, please!
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, may we know what other steps have been initiated after the statement of the hon. Prime Minister on 01 February 2010?
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would answer the first part of the question. In fact, I informed the House, at that time, but the hon. Member is still coming with the same argumentation. In fact, what she says is true, but for Standards I, II and III only, the Education Act mentions that only for the primary schools. But Creole language, as a support language, is not allowed in any other class legally. We have said, and I mentioned it in my reply that it has been allowed now, as a policy measure for all classes in all pre-primary, primary and secondary
schools whenever it is needed. I hope this is once and for all very clear in the minds of all the hon. Members.
The second thing is: qu’est-ce qu’on a fait depuis? On a fait beaucoup de choses. On va organiser un forum dans deux à trois semaines pour mettre tout le monde ensemble, comme j’avais dit tout à l’heure dans la réponse, parce qu’on a décidé de faire du créole une langue optionnelle. Quand on dit une langue optionnelle, cela va être dans les écoles, bien entendu, mais il y a des petites choses à régler. Plus j’entre dans les détails, plus on voit des problèmes,
comme cela arrive souvent. Il y a le problème de la grammaire, de l’orthographe et de la graphie harmonie qui est une graphie. Mais, de là, à faire le vocabulaire et l’entrainement des professeurs, tout cela prend du temps. J’ai décidé de mettre tout le monde ensemble - je pense avant la fin d’avril on va réaliser ce forum - et on va décider ensemble what is the best way forward to make creole an optional language in our school system.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Minister has mentioned about a technical committee that has been set up - if I got him right. May I know when the committee met and when the next meeting is being scheduled?
Dr. Bunwaree: The committee is meeting very often, once every week I must say, and sometimes, I myself chair the committee. But what I have said is important, we have to get this forum where all the stakeholders will be brought together because together we have to define the way forward.
Mr Lesjongard: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, since the hon. Minister has also mentioned the various implications for the introduction of Kreol Morisien as an optional subject, can he inform the House whether he has a specific time frame for completing that job and whether it is in the coming weeks or months?
Dr. Bunwaree: J’ai répondu indirectement à cette question pour dire que si ce n’était que moi, j’irais très vite et j’aurais proposé janvier de l’année prochaine. Mais plus j’entre dans les détails plus je vois qu’il y a des choses à faire. On me dit que la grammaire risque de prendre beaucoup plus de temps. C’est pour cela que je veux voir tout cela dans le forum et on va décider what is the best way forward.
The Deputy Speaker: Last question hon. Mrs Labelle!
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I ask the hon. Minister whether he will let the House know who are the members of the technical committee that he has just set up?
Dr. Bunwaree: This technical committee is at the level of the Ministry. Of course, I have no objection to let the House know but then this committee is preparing the forum which is the most important thing.
SCHOOLS - KREOL LANGUAGE – INTRODUCTION (22/03/11)
(No. B/23) Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the kreol language, he will state if it will be introduced as an optional language in 2012 and, if so, the measures Government proposes for the recruitment of teachers for the teaching thereof.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, in line with the announcement made in the Government Programme for the introduction of Kreol Morisien as an optional subject in schools, my Ministry has initiated a number of measures since August 2010 with a view to ensuring that the Kreol Morisien is introduced in primary schools at Std I level as soon as feasible and if all works as planned, as from January 2012.
In my reply to PQ 1B/659 for the sitting of Tuesday 23 November 2010, I informed the House of the organisation of a National Forum on 30 August 2010 on the introduction of Kreol Morisien as an optional subject in schools. Subsequently, Government decided to set up a Technical Committee known as the ‘Akademi Kreol Morisien’ to look into all aspects related to the introduction of the Kreol Morisien in schools along with, inter alia, a harmonised version of its written form.
The ‘Akademi Kreol Morisien’ which was set up in October 2010 has appointed four Working Groups to look into specific issues such as Writing System, Grammar, Curriculum and Teacher Training and these Working Groups are well into the fulfillment of their assignments.
I wish to inform the House that, prior to the introduction of this language, a number of steps would have to be followed -
(i) finalisation of standardised writing system;
(ii) finalisation of the grammar;
(iii) development of the relevant curriculum, and
(iv) preparation of workbooks for Standard I pupils and Teachers’ Guide.
On 21 February 2011, the AKM finalised the ‘LORTOGRAF KREOL MORISIEN’ which was presented to me in the context of the International Mother Language Day 2011.
Once work will have been completed by the different groups, the subject will be ready to be offered at Standard I in schools. While this is underway, my Ministry has already started the administrative process related to the recruitment of teachers. It is estimated that initially some 60 Teachers will be required for teaching the subject in the 272 primary schools.
Trainee Educators (Primary) enlisted in 2008 and who are interested in teaching Kreol Morisien have been invited on 08 March 2011 to submit their application for a six month training programme to be carried out by the MIE. These teachers have to be trained in the pedagogy related to the teaching of the subject. To date, 28 Teachers have expressed their interest to teach Kreol Morisien. It is expected that this number will increase by the closing date (25 March 2011).
With a view to enabling a proper planning to be carried out, parents registering their child for admission to Standard I as from January 2012 will be called upon to exercise their option.
This exercise will be conducted earlier than usual this year, i.e. in April, instead of May, to enable my Ministry to obtain the number of pupils who will opt for Kreol Morisien and consequently, to determine the human resource requirements.
I wish to inform the House also that a sensitisation campaign will be carried out prior to the admission exercise to highlight the importance of the use of Kreol Morisien for the teaching and learning process to help the parents in making their options.
Mr Speaker: We will continue with the supplementary questions after lunch. I suspend for one and a half hour.
At 1.01 p.m. the sitting was suspended.
On resuming at 2.34 p.m with the Deputy Speaker in the Chair.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I ask the hon. Minister, since he has mentioned that the teachers who will be teaching the Creole language are from the general purpose, what are the arrangements he is considering when these teachers will be absent and whether an evaluation has been made regarding the disturbance which will be caused to the pupils while their teacher will be teaching the Creole language particularly in other schools?
Dr. Bunwaree: Here, I don’t find the problem. This is a feature that happens for any other language in any other school, but what is important to note is that the planning is being done properly so that at the beginning we have enough teachers to teach these languages as the other optional languages. It will be along the same trend.
Mrs Labelle: My question was: the teachers who were teaching the other Asian languages are not attached to a class, but if we are taking teachers from general purpose, I take it that these teachers are attached to a class. Will it be so?
Dr. Bunwaree: If they are attached to a class, they will no longer be attached to the class.
The option for them will be to go and teach only this as the other teachers.
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, we all agree that the technical committee which the Minister calls an academy is doing a good work, but we are now in a race against time. If Creole, as an optional subject, is to be introduced in January next year, will the Minister consider the advisability of setting up an implementation committee, not the technical committee, not the academy, but officials of the Ministry and of the MIE, an implementation committee to manage this project to follow up on the technical committee’s work and ensure that in terms of textbooks, in terms of teacher training, we are really prepared for the beginning of the next academic year?
Dr. Bunwaree: The implementation committee has already been set up, it is already there and it is, in fact, because it is working properly that we are on time.
Mr Obeegadoo: That’s the information I have from the technical committee. Be that as it may, the point raised by my hon. colleague regarding teachers, is very controversial amongst the unions as the Minister will agree. Will he therefore consider urgent consultations with all the unions so that there is some sort of stakeholder consensus as to the status of those teachers who will teach Mauritian Creole, their promotion prospects, the numbers to be recruited and the manner of their training.
Dr. Bunwaree: I don’t find the problem. Let us not create problems where there are not none! Il y a des professeurs éducateurs à part entière. In fact, in the letter that has been sent to those who are interested, let me quote paragraph 6 -
“In the event you elect to serve as Educator Creole Mauricien, you will retain all the terms and conditions of service including seniority placing and promotional prospects throughout.”
Il ne faut pas créer des problèmes. Au contraire, nous devions être contents parce qu’on a avancé suffisamment vite et je suis confiant, même si j’ai laissé entendre ce matin qu’on est en train de faire le maximum à une vitesse rapide, qu’au début de l’année prochaine, on va démarrer le langage Créole Mauricien dans nos écoles.
Mr Obeegadoo: We would be even happier if we manage to meet the objective at the beginning of next year. My point is: right now, as the Minister is aware, since he reads the press as we all do, there is still a lot of controversy concerning recruitment and status of those teachers.
So, will he - I repeat the question - consider the advisability of meeting with all the unions so that we can have, as early as possible, a consensus on this issue?
Dr. Bunwaree: Pour comprendre la presse, je la lis à l’envers.
Mrs Ribot: I would like to ask the hon. Minister since there are only 28 teachers to date who have expressed their wish to be registered as teachers of Creole language, what if the number needed is not reached?
Dr. Bunwaree: Of course, we have thought about that. We have so many other possibilities. In fact, we are trying to get those teachers of the MIE who are going to join the schools in the weeks to come; we have supply teachers, but all these teachers, whoever they are, will need to go to the 6-month training course, and we have put deadlines for that.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am coming to the question of the 6-month training. As it is mentioned in the circular sent by the hon. Minister to head teachers, may I ask the hon. Minister whether there is a time schedule when this training is to be started, and also the 28 replies that the Ministry has received are out of which number?
Dr. Bunwaree: The 28 replies out of those who have been attached to MIE are following the courses. I don’t know the number exactly, I need notice for that. We are planning in such a way that the six months must end before the end of the school year, that is, before the end of October this year.
SCHOOLS – MAURITIAN KREOL – INTRODUCTION (05/04/11)
(No. B/144) Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe and Midlands) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the concerns raised over Government’s state of preparedness to introduce the Mauritian Kreol as a subject of study in schools in 2012, he will state if additional urgent preparatory steps will be taken in relation to -
(a) curriculum development, syllabus for each level of study and pedagogical approach;
(b) textbooks and teacher’s guides, and
(c) conditions of employment and scheme of service.
Reply: In my reply to PQ B/23 on 22 March 2011, I have already elaborated on the steps undertaken for an early introduction of Kreol Morisien in schools. I am satisfied with the state of preparedness and work is in progress on all the essential prerequisites leading to the introduction of the “Kreol Morisien” in schools. These include the preparation of the Grammar, development of curriculum, syllabus, preparation of textbooks and Teacher’s Guide, teachers’ selection and training.
As I have already announced previously, the standardized writing system i.e the LORTOGRAPH KREOL MORISIEN has already been completed in February 2011 as per target set by Akademi Kreol Morisien (AKM). The implementation is well on schedule and there are no additional urgent preparatory steps to be taken at this stage.
With regard to part (a) of the question, the MIE has been entrusted with the responsibility for the development of the curriculum and pedagogical practices in line with recommendations of AKM. MIE is a member of the various Working Groups of the Akademi.
The structure of the curriculum will be on the same lines as for all other optional languages, that is equivalent to 15 credits, over and above the 60 credits for the core and common modules given to all primary teachers irrespective of subject areas. The 15 credits are in respect to modules in the language and can be covered over one semester as the training will be devoted solely to one particular language. General discussion concerning syllabus for lower Primary has already taken place at the MIE among language and educational academics. A seminar will also be organised with all stakeholders prior to the implementation of the syllabus.
A Kreol Unit is being be set up at the MIE.
In relation to pedagogical approach, the focus would be on development of the child’s communicative competence in the mother tongue as well as social, linguistic and cognitive competence.
As for part (b) regarding the preparation of textbooks and teacher’s guide, this is already planned and is closely linked to curriculum development of “Kreol Morisien”. The organization and structure of the textbook for Standard I is being finalised at the MIE.
A number of units of the textbooks have already been written. The teacher’s guide is being written concurrently. Workbooks will be available as required as from the second term of 2012. This provides ample time for MIE to be ready with textbooks. The “Kreol Morisien” will be introduced in Standard I in an incremental manner as from 2012 onwards.
As regard part (c), I had the opportunity to explain the recruitment of teachers for the first batch of 2012. As regards conditions of employment and scheme of service, arrangements are being finalized in consultation with the Public Service Commission (PSC) in line with established procedures.
The initial procedures are in respect of the prescription of the Scheme of Service for the grade of Educator (Kreol Morisien) and will be carried out on the same basis as other optional languages.
All the recruitment exercise will therefore be carried out by the PSC. Once the exercise of registration of Standard I pupils is completed, we shall be able to determine the exact human resource requirements for teaching of “Kreol Morisien”.
In addition, I also wish to inform that a public awareness campaign is being launched on the importance of “Kreol Morisien” which will ultimately become examinable as an optional subject at CPE Level on the same lines as Asian/Arabic Languages.
This Government is making every effort for this language to occupy the place it deserves in our educational landscape. This development will be a landmark in the history of Mauritius and I wish here to make an appeal to everyone and all to support this national initiative so that we can move ahead on this agenda.
Of course, we would welcome constructive criticism, if any, but please rest assured that this Government will not move backward on this project which will be creating history.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS - ICT TEACHERS (19/04/11)
(No. B/241) Mrs L. Ribot (Third Member for Stanley & Rose Hill) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the ICT primary school teachers, he will state -
(a) the number thereof
(b) their qualifications, and
(c) their status
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the details sought regarding parts (a) and (b) of the question are as follows -
(a) As at date there are 176 ICT Teachers employed in Primary Schools.
(b) Their qualifications in general are: Cambridge School Certificate
Cambridge Higher School Certificate
Certificate of Proficiency in ICT
With regard to part (c), the ICT Teachers are employed on a contract basis with a flat salary of Rs10,950 per month. Their current contract has been extended up to 31 December 2011.
The ICT Teachers have been recruited on contract basis since 2002. Their contracts have been renewed on annual basis. With the phasing-out of Information Communication Technology (ICT) as a teaching subject, a policy decision was sought from Government in line with the recommendation of the Pay Research Bureau (PRB) for the creation of a new post of ICT Support Officer to absorb all ICT Teachers.
I am informed that in a letter dated 21 March 2011, the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms has advised that the issue of regularisation of the situation of ICT teachers has been referred to the High Powered Committee (HPC) under the chairmanship of the Secretary to Cabinet. The matter will be considered at the next meeting of the Committee.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to know from the hon. Minister if he is aware that some schools, for example, Belle Mare Government School and Caroline Government School, do not have any ICT teachers at all since the number of ICT teachers has dropped drastically for the past few years?
Dr. Bunwaree: The whole question of teaching of ICT is en pleine effervescence, je dois dire, because we have so many projects insofar as ICT is concerned. But I have given the explanation concerning this question and I will look into the specific case of this school.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to know from the hon. Minister if he finds it correct that those ICT teachers, after nine years of continuous service, are still employed on a temporary basis and do not benefit from the facilities as all other civil servants, contrary to the PRB recommendations of 2008?
The Deputy Speaker: This has been answered. The High Powered Committee is looking into it.
Dr. Bunwaree: If I may add, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have done all my best for them to be regularised and the main difficulty is that when they were taken on employment for the first time, there were teachers who did not have HSC and in the meantime, the report of the PRB has come out où c’est devenu une obligation.
This has created some problems. We know how the Civil Service is. But I agree with the hon. Member that on humanitarian grounds, something has to be done and I have done it. The last resort is the High Powered Committee. I can’t pre-empt what is going to happen. But, according to how things go, I am almost sure that it is going to be settled there.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, in 2006, in reply to a PQ regarding ICT teachers, the then hon. Minister of Education stated, I quote -
“A joint committee comprising the MIE and the Central Informatics Bureau, among others to map out the future IT strategy for primary schools, is being set up.”
We were also told that the decisions of the Ministry will be governed by the recommendations of that committee. May I ask the hon. Minister whether he can inform the House about this committee and what were its recommendations regarding the ICT teachers?
Dr. Bunwaree: So many things have happened since that date! In fact, I have been informing the population as a whole of the various steps that have been taken and we are, as I have just mentioned, en pleine effervescence insofar as IT projects for schools are concerned.
But if a proper question is put as to what is being done and what has been done, I will certainly reply.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I heard the hon. Minister saying that on est en pleine effervescence. Mais je suis tentée de dire une effervescence qui dure un peu longtemps because during the past six years, we have been coming with regular questions on ICT teachers who were first offered a contract of four years and then renewed for two years, not on a yearly basis. They have been drawing the same basic salary up to now. May I know from the hon. Minister whether this is the reason why initially there were 263 ICT teachers who were teaching in our schools in 2002 and now we have come up with what the hon. Minister has said, that is, 176? We have a serious problem. Can the hon. Minister explain how we are coping with the project of ICT when the number of teachers has decreased so drastically?
Dr. Bunwaree: This is a specific question. The number has decreased for this one but it has certainly increased elsewhere, because we have so many projects and so many things are being done in ICT.
The Deputy Speaker: Order!
Dr. Bunwaree: If they have well understood - I hope they have well understood – some people do not qualify to be employed. At the start, they did qualify. In the course of time, they happened to be disqualified. Would they like us to throw them out? Of course, not! Let me do what has to be done for them!
PRIMARY SCHOOLS – NATIONAL MONUMENTS – SYLLABUS (10/05/11)
(No. B/288) Mr J. Seetaram (Second Member for Montagne Blanche & GRSE) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to sites declared as National Monuments, such as the Bassin des Esclaves, at Pamplemousses, and the Vagrant Depot, he will state if same are included in the syllabus of the primary schools, and if not, if consideration will be given therefor with a view to promoting same at school level.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker Sir, the National Curriculum Framework for the Primary sub sector advocates an understanding of the history of the Republic such that pupils from an early age are exposed to what has become part of the national heritage.
The basic concept of National Monuments has thus been introduced at standard IV of the primary level in the subject “History and Geography”. Sites such as Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Cultural Landscape that have now been inscribed as World Heritage sites are illustrated in standards V and VI textbooks at primary level.
However, as there are more than 160 approved National Heritage structures and sites in Mauritius, it will not be possible to include all such monuments/sites in the textbooks.
Nevertheless, national monuments such as Bassin des Esclaves and the Vagrant Depot are expected to be highlighted by the educators at standard V level while covering topics relating to Indian immigration and heritage sites, slavery and heritage tourism. Furthermore, as part of what is known as the “hidden curriculum”, pupils are being exposed to such sites during educational field visits.
Mr Seetaram: Mr Speaker, Sir, concerning the promotion of national monuments, does the hon. Minister consider it compulsory for students, be it at primary or secondary level, to have educational tours and be aware de visu of those national monuments and national sites, so that they know about their history and the history of their country?
Dr. Bunwaree: It is already an obligation for primary and the early stages of secondary.
It is already there, we can look more deeply into it.
SCHOOLS - SEXUALITY EDUCATION (14/06/11)
(No. B/497) Mrs L. Ribot (Third Member for Stanley & Rose Hill) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the proposal for the introduction of Sex Education in schools, he will state where matters stand.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, in my reply to Parliamentary Question B/212 of 29 June 2010, I informed the House - I think I would prefer to use the word ‘sexuality education’ to give my frame of mind, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir – that sexuality education is already integrated in the curricular materials at the primary and secondary levels and as such it is being embedded in the school programmes.
The new National Curriculum Frameworks for the primary and secondary sectors which have been finalised as from January 2008 for primary and December 2009 for secondary respectively, provide for learning competencies for sexuality education.
At the primary level, the new National Curriculum Framework proposed the introduction of a new subject “Health and Physical Education” as from Std I. The topics have been developed according to the different stages and levels. Sexuality Education has been included in the new textbooks for Std V in 2010 and Std VI in 2011. The Health and Physical Education Curriculum addresses a range of health problems and issues, for example, Substance Abuse Prevention, HIV/AIDS and especially Sexual Health Education in Stds V and VI of primary schools.
Several components of sexuality education have already been introduced in the Teachers’ manual and guides of Health Education for Stds V and VI in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, as regards the secondary sector, sexuality education has also been integrated in line with the new curriculum framework for secondary in different subjects but, more particularly, in subjects namely, Integrated Science and Biology. Sexual and Reproductive Health is thoroughly dealt with in the Biology syllabus of Form III which is compulsory for all children in secondary schools and further expanded in Forms V and VI.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please, hon. Assirvaden and hon. Aimée!
Dr. Bunwaree: The Health and Physical Education domain also incorporates an element of Sexuality Education. However, with the newly approved National Curriculum Framework for secondary education, concepts of sexuality education will be addressed more comprehensively at both mainstream and prevocational levels. This will be reflected in the forthcoming textbooks which are presently being developed. Schools are encouraged to provide to students relevant exposure on sexuality education under co-curricular activities.
It must be emphasised that besides the curricular approach, my Ministry is working proactively with other line Ministries and stakeholders to complement its programme on sexuality education in the education sector.
For the primary school students of a certain age, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life in collaboration with my Ministry conducts face to face sensitisation with pupils on topics such as puberty, physical changes and development, emotional and psychological changes, menarche, personal hygiene, awareness of sexual exploitation, etc. For secondary school students, the topics covered are puberty, changes in adolescence, social problems, menarche and
The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has prepared a manual on Sexual and Reproductive Health whose contents aim at creating a deeper awareness about sexuality education among the primary and secondary school population.
The Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare has, jointly with my Ministry, established a calendar of interventions in schools to sensitise students on the rights of the child, protecting children against violence, abuse and sexual exploitation.
My Ministry has also enlisted the collaboration of the Ministry of Youth and Sports which also intervenes in schools and has prepared information pamphlets on life skills, peer education and peer counselling. It also organises youth forums on sexuality, HIV/AIDS and drugs.
On its part, the M.I.E. conducted several workshops last year in Mauritius and Rodrigues in order to train both primary and secondary school educators on reproductive health, sexuality and education covering sexually transmitted infections. The school rectors and head masters of primary schools were also briefed on this thematic area. Some 600 participants attended the workshops run in April and July 2010.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, recognised NGOs including Action Familiale and Mauritius Family Planning Association are also encouraged to deliver talks to students of upper primary and secondary schools on issues relating to sex education. These NGOs have been conducting sessions regularly especially since January this year and as a matter of fact, Action Familiale has conducted 25 sessions in primary schools and 26 sessions in secondary schools in 2011.
As for the Mauritius Family Planning Association, they have held 25 sessions in primary schools and 15 in secondary schools during this year. These interventions covered key concepts such as human growth and development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behaviour, sexual health, society and culture and le corps humain.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, our primary objective is to promote an all-round and holistic development of the individual: physical, intellectual, social and emotional, leading to a balanced, active, healthy and productive lifestyle and I strongly believe sexuality education is a major item in this regard.
I wish to thank the hon. Member for putting this question which has given me the opportunity to highlight developments regarding sexuality education in schools and action being initiated to help our students to acquire knowledge, values and habits which will allow them to develop healthy and responsible relationships as they grow up.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether he does not think that, in regard to the number of children being sexually abused very often by close relatives and members of the family, we should go beyond health and sex education as we have always seen it in school books and introduced and even emphasised in the curriculum, important components such as to protect oneself against rape, incest and paedophilia.
Dr. Bunwaree: The point is taken, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir. In fact, we have already taken it, and I think what I will do is to send a copy of all these published documents that are sent to children at different ages. Also there are the face to face interactive sessions between responsible people in the NGO’s and the children. I think the work is being done and we will still try to go further, as the hon. Member said.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to ask the hon. Minister whether he does not think that it would be better to have sex education as a separate subject being taught in schools instead of having it as a component integrated in other subjects.
Dr. Bunwaree: This is a debate going on, I must say, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir. I have myself tried to canvas it at a certain point in time, but I must say that the trend for the time being in the majority of countries is the same that we have adopted. I have just found on the Internet that, this year, countries like Malaysia are deciding to go along the line as the hon. Member is saying. This can be taken on board, but then we will need as many teachers to go and teach the particular subject and so on. It involves other aspects, this will be looked into. What I am trying to do is that we have started, in fact, since last year, very actively, sexual education in schools. I think the hon. Member is aware of it, but we want to let it have its go in schools and the teachers who are teaching the other subjects are themselves trained and being asked to teach that subject.
If this takes up well, then we will probably in future come with what the hon. Member is saying.
Dr. S. Boolell: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, in view of the rising number of sexual assaults at school level, outside and inside schools, including teachers sometimes, should the hon. Minister not consider revisiting his programme of sexuality education and convert it directly into sex education with sex protection and even maybe go beyond the schools and come up with a programme that would advertise the rights of children to the children?
Dr. Bunwaree: This is the debate, in fact, which is going on, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir. I personally prefer the word sexuality education because it covers the other aspects of moral values and so on. But we are taking on board what the hon. Member is saying and the debate is still continuing. We will try to find what is the best way ahead.
Mr Leopold: Is the hon. Minister aware that even if in certain subjects like biology and human and social biology, topics on sexuality are compulsory, some teachers at present do skip parts of the topic as if to avoid like, we say, embarrassing questions? Does the hon. Minister don’t think that it is time that teachers receive proper training in order that they can deliver the goods as sexual education is very important for our children at this age of 14, 15, and even at primary level, at a time that they have to know about the development of their body, they have to know how to behave into a responsible sexuality?
Dr. Bunwaree: This point also has got its importance, but I would like to say to the House that there are some cases like that. We have to look into the particular cases but, in the majority of cases, teachers take it well. There are the parents as well who have to be brought into the picture and make them understand what is happening in schools. But this particular aspect of some teachers trying to skip - because they have their own particular reasons probably - we will take that on board in the training. In fact, it is taken on board, but we will go deeper in it.
Ms Anquetil: M. le président, est-ce que le ministre pourrait nous dire quelles sont les personnes qui donnent ces cours, et à quelle fréquence ?
Dr. Bunwaree: Comme je dis, les cours sont intégrés dans les programmes.
Sûrement pas, celui-là ! M. le président, ces cours, comme je disais, sont intégrés dans le programme scolaire. Donc, les cours sont assurés par les professeurs des écoles, que ce soit en primaire ou en secondaire. En secondaire, c’est obligatoire jusqu’en Form III, mais après la Form III, les enfants qui choisissent les sciences ont plus de formation là-dessus. Je suis en train de voir comment on peut étaler cette formation au-delà de la Form III. Mais ce sont les professeurs de l’école qui le font, comme je disais tout à l’heure. Concernant la fréquence, cela dépend des chapitres ; c’est dans le programme. Mais c’est une formation régulière. C’est un enseignement régulier aussi qui est donné aux enfants.
The Deputy Speaker: Last question, hon. Mrs. Ribot!
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, just a suggestion that I would like to make to the hon. Minister. Since it is a national issue and a national concern, could he not consider making a kind of table ronde with all the stakeholders, to see the best way to make sex education be no longer a tabou and the best way to introduce it in schools?
Dr. Bunwaree: This is a very interesting suggestion, but I would wish the hon. Member to know exactly what is being done. This is why I thanked her because I feel that people do not really know what is happening in schools. We have to wait because we started sexual education in primary schools last year. So, by the time these small children come to the age of 15/16 we will have to wait for a few years and if all of the Members are well made aware and happen to understand what is happening in schools insofar as sexuality education is concerned as it is for the innovations brought to schools then, of course, we could sit down and see what is the best way ahead.
The Deputy Speaker: Time is over! The Table has been informed that Parliamentary Questions Nos. B/499, B/501, B/502, B/503, B/506, B/507, B/512, B/513, B/514 have been withdrawn.
SPORTS - STRATEGIC PLAN (19/07/11)
(No. B/707) Ms S. Anquetil (Fourth Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Youth and Sports whether, in regard to sports, he will state if Government proposes to come up with an integrated Strategic Plan for the fostering of the culture thereof among the citizens.
Mr Ritoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, one of the major preoccupations of my Ministry has been to encourage the practice of sports at all levels. In fact, under the relevant PBB programme of my Ministry, provision is made to encourage sports for all and its democratisation through the organisation of sports activities for the public, including women.
In this respect, my Ministry works in close collaboration with the Local Authorities, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, Commission Nationale de Sport Féminin, Sports Federations, Mauritius Secondary Schools Sports Authority and the NGOs to motivate people of all ages to practise sports.
Regarding the Integrated Strategic Plan enunciated in the Government Programme 2010- 2015, my Ministry has set up a committee to prepare same and to come up with a policy in order to streamline and boost the work already being done to foster the culture of sports.
Already, besides the sports facilities available in our youth centres, I have also arranged for fitness equipment to be placed in most of these centres so that people can make use of them at their own pace and leisure.
Ms Anquetil: Merci M. le président, le sport est un élément essentiel de la société et sa promotion est importante. Dans le plan stratégique pour encourager la population à faire du sport, le ministre pourrait-il indiquer à la Chambre si, dans sa démarche, il prévoit également un encadrement concernant le sport pour les enfants, les seniors, les handicapés physiques et visuels ?
Mr Ritoo: In fact, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are working closely with the Ministry of Education for sports at primary school level and also for the senior citizens to practise sports.
Ms Anquetil: Une dernière question. Je voudrais aussi savoir du ministre si, dans sa démarche, il prévoit une consultation avec tous les partenaires ?
Mr Ritoo: Bien sûr, M. le président.
The Deputy Speaker: Yes hon. Khamajeet, you have a question?
Mr Khamajeet: Concerning the preparation of the strategic plan for the promotion of sports, can I ask the hon. Minister whether any scientific studies had been made to come up with strategies so that we can touch all the different segments of the population?
Mr Ritoo: Well, we have now come up with the committee. I think the committee set up to look into the strategic plan will consult the responsible people.
Mr Obeegadoo: Yes, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, within the perspective of this strategic plan, will the hon. Minister commit to resuscitating the agreement of 2003 or 2004 between Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Education for all playing fields within State secondary schools to be provided with floodlighting and made available to the local community outside school hours.
Mr Ritoo: Well, to provide for floodlighting, it is the Ministry of Education duty, but as far as all the gymnasiums or stadiums pertaining to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, they are already now being provided with the lights and are opened to the public.
Dr S. Boolell: May I ask the hon. Minister whether he could ascertain that all these centres which are so equipped are opened outside office hours and on Sundays, the whole day, rather than 9.00 a.m to 4.00 p.m.?
Mr Ritoo: Well, normally they are opened on Saturdays and Sundays, but now that we are having remarks for excessive overtime by the audit report, we have to see how to balance it.
Mr Obeegadoo: Will the hon. Minister check - he seems not to be aware - whether, there did not exist an agreement, whereby all these issues of payments of overtime, cost of lighting, insurance issues had been thoroughly thrashed out as between Education and Sports for all school playgrounds to be made available?
Mr Ritoo: We can consult the responsible person and come up with a plan.
The Deputy Speaker: Last question hon. Khamajeet!
Mr Khamajeet: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, as we have an MoU signed between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Education to allow 12 SSS to stay open after working hours, can I ask the hon. Minister or both Ministers if they can consider opening more SSS for the practice of sports.
Mr Ritoo: There is a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education where we have already given directives.
RODRIGUES – SCHOOLS – KREOL MORISIEN (08/11/11)
(No. B/840) 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 Mauritian Kreol in schools, in Rodrigues, he will state if consultations have been carried out with the local authority and the stakeholders, and if so, indicate –
(b) the outcome thereof, and
(c) if Government will consider reviewing this decision, in view of the specificity and cultural differences in Rodrigues.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, in my reply to Parliamentary Question 1B/659 on 23 November 2010, I had informed the house that in the context of the implementation of the decision to introduce Kreol Morisien in Std I in schools as from January 2012, my Ministry has embarked on a process of consultation at different stages with a wide range of stakeholders including Rodrigues.
With regard to part (a) and (b) of the question, I wish to inform the House that a National Forum was organised on 30 August 2010 and participation did include a representative of the Rodrigues Commission for Education.
Following the recommendations made at the level of that Forum, Government agreed to the setting up of the Akademi Kreol Morisien (AKM) administratively to look into the implementation of the decision to introduce Kreol Morisien in January 2012.
The Akademi Kreol Morisien (AKM) includes inter alia a representative of the Rodrigues Education Commission who has been attending the meetings of the AKM held on 27 October 2010, 10 November 2010, 16 December 2010 and 19 October 2011 respectively.
In the context of the admission of pupils in Standard I in 2012, an exercise was carried out in April/May 2011 and schools in Rodrigues were also taken on board in that exercise respectively in relation to those opting for ‘Kreol Morisien’. I am advised that some 384 pupils to be admitted in 14 schools in Rodrigues in 2012 have opted for Kreol Morisien as an optional subject.
With regard to training of teachers who will be teaching Kreol Morisien, consultation was held with stakeholders in Rodrigues in May 2011, following which arrangements were made for 13 of them who opted to teach Kreol Morisien to attend training at the MIE, for the period August to November 2011. It is on, until the end of November of this year.
As for the curriculum part, phonetic and lexical variants specific to Rodrigues have been identified which are taken into consideration in the curriculum material and training sessions.
Mr Speaker Sir, I wish to highlight that I had a meeting with the Chief Commissioner and Commissioner for Education, Mr Jabeemissar, on Tuesday 18 October 2011 with regard to the issue of specificity and cultural differences of Rodrigues in the context of the introduction of the Kreol Morisien. We agreed that my Ministry, the MIE and the AKM should take on board these issues relating to phonetic and lexical variants specific to Rodrigues and further consultations are being programmed with other stakeholders in Rodrigues in November/December this year.
During the discussions, it was also pointed out that proposals will be made for the next edition of Diksioner Morisien to be enriched further to cover expressions drawn from rich and colourful kreol varieties of Rodrigues as well as of Outer islands.
Mr François: If I followed the answer of the hon. Minister well, that brings more
confusion to my mind - with due respect, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you will allow me - we are not against the introduction of Kreol in schools. However, is the hon. Minister aware that in Rodrigues - and I will quote - even the Chief Commissioner himself is contesting and opposing the proposal to introduce - maybe it is technical - the Mauritian Kreol in schools which is now being considered as a threat to our cultural identity and the fundamental rights for the people of Rodrigues instead of talking about the introduction of Kreol Rodriguais.
Dr. Bunwaree: I am not agreeable to what I am hearing. But I would have to look into the matter that is raised by the hon. Member concerning the Commissioner for Rodrigues. But I must say that the Rodrigues Regional Assembly has set a dedicated Committee to contribute to this work and the work is still going on. One thing I can give the assurance to the House is that we are going to take on board all the specificities concerned with the Kreol that Rodriguans speak kreol morisien, the type of Rodriguais Kreol that they speak. This will be taken on board,
in fact, in the preparation of materials, etc. But we are working only for Standard I. We have all our time to include all that is being said. If the hon. Member has got expert opinion from Rodrigues, expert people who have their contribution, they can make, I am open to that and I will listen to what they have to say.
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is a manifest unease in Rodrigues concerning this issue. I have no reason to doubt the hon. Minister’s work concerning past consultations, but, because this is such an important issue and we need to have consensus to move forward, will he, in a spirit of compromise and dialogue, agree to initiate a new ground of consultations involving civil society in Rodrigues and whoever else has an interest in this debate so that, as a nation, we can move together as one on this important issue.
Dr. Bunwaree: I have no quarrel on that. In fact, I invited all stakeholders, those who came forward did. I am going to look into the matter. In fact, discussions are still on.
Mr François: Just to point out a bit further. Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the functionality of the introduction of Mauritian Kreol will not meet its main objectives. I have in hand, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, a sort of draft book of the kreol morisien, Standard I. Allow me, to quote just one line.
The Deputy Speaker: I think it is better that the hon. Member makes representation to the hon. Minister if he has any.
Mr François: In that case, I will request seriously the hon. Minister to reconsider urgently the position with regard to the introduction of the Kreol Morisien and to make sure that there is proper consultation not only with the Chief Commissioner and the Commission of Education, but with all the stakeholders in Rodrigues, because there is a lot of confusion and there is this feeling of setback with regard to our cultural identity and emotional attachments to our mother tongues and our land.
Dr. Bunwaree: I don't think there is any need to have any confusion. In fact, we have 13 educators from Rodrigues who have opted to come and to follow the training sessions at the MIE. They have been very efficient contributors, but there are other stakeholders, of course, and we will take on board what has been proposed in this House. I am sure that we are going to do a very good work for the Kreol Morisien for Rodriguans.
The Deputy Speaker: A very last question!
Mr François: With regard to these educators at MIE, in fact, I will request the hon. Minister to make sure to discuss with them, because they have just been called to follow the courses and they are not fully agreeable to follow these courses. I will request the hon. Minister to see to it with these 13 educators at MIE, because, as I have said, there is a lot of confusion here and in Rodrigues also.
Dr. Bunwaree: I think for them the confusion was at the start and this confusion has been cleared, but I will try to meet them again.
MAURITIAN KREOL – PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION - FORMAL USE (23/04/13)
(No. B/169) Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe & Midlands) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues whether, in regard to the Mauritian Kreol, he will state if, further to the findings of the 2011 Population Census, Government will authorize and facilitate the formal use thereof in public administration, including in Parliament, local authorities, courts of law and for the
application procedures having regard to social benefits and housing.
The Prime Minister: Mr Speaker, Sir, the House will note that it is this Government - please note, it is this Government - which has given official recognition to Mauritian Kreol and approved its introduction in schools.
It is also this Government which has set up a Creole-Speaking Union by virtue of the Creole-Speaking Union Act, one of the objectives of which is precisely to promote the Creole language in its spoken and written forms.
Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Health, do not interrupt!
The Prime Minister: Besides, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has recently commended Mauritius for the establishment of language unions and the inclusion of Kreol Morisien and Bhojpuri as heritage languages and mother tongues in the primary school curricula.
Mr Speaker, Sir, in regard to the use of Mauritian Kreol in our Courts of Law, I am informed by the Master and Registrar that Kreol is already widely used and the usual process is that evidence is habitually adduced in Creole in all cases, except where foreigners are called to depone or are litigants. In fact, the law provides that any person may give his evidence in the language with which he is best acquainted. All Courts in Mauritius have always admitted depositions in Mauritian Kreol by parties and witnesses.
Mr Speaker, Sir, as I have stated in my reply to previous Parliamentary Questions on this subject matter, there are a number of implications that would need to be addressed before one can even contemplate the formal use of Creole language in the National Assembly.
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, since we do now have an agreed standardised spelling and grammar for Mauritian Kreol, would the hon. Prime Minister not agree that it is a basic human rights issue that whereas statements are recorded by the Police from individuals in Creole, but without any training of the Police Officers, in Courts the statements are produced as evidence, but oral evidence given in Creole is translated into English to form part of the official record by a Magistrate who is untrained and that transcript does not have to be approved by the witness?
The Prime Minister: I do not know why the hon. Member said the Magistrate is
untrained. Untrained in what?
Mr Obeegadoo: In Creole.
The Prime Minister: In Creole! So, the Magistrate cannot speak Creole?
Mr Obeegadoo: No, spelling and grammar.
The Prime Minister: Not just the Magistrate, there are lots of people! So, that is why I said there are implications, Mr Speaker, Sir.
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, as regards our Parliament…
Mr Speaker is looking at the time! Does that mean that I am not allowed two more questions, Sir?
Mr Speaker: Have I said anything?
Mr Obeegadoo: No, no. Fine!
Mr Speaker: Silence!
Please, no adverse comments!
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, in 2011, two years ago, in answer to a question from hon. Bhagwan, the hon. Prime Minister stated that once we have agreed spelling and grammar for Mauritian Creole, the desirability and advisability of allowing the use of Creole in the National Assembly will be considered - two years on. Will the hon. Prime Minister tell us what his stand now is?
The Prime Minister: Two years on, two years since, we have seen what kind of unruly behaviour and language is being used! We become wiser with events.
Mr Speaker: Hon. Seeruttun!
Well, if hon. Members are going to make noise, we will not be able to proceed.
Some silence now! Hon. Seeruttun!
Mr Seeruttun: Mr Speaker, Sir, on a point of order! I was just putting a question to the hon. Prime Minister and he treated me a liar and I consider it inappropriate. I would request that you ask him to withdraw that word.
The Prime Minister: I said it, yes; but it was a lie, because they were there.
It was a lie!
Mr Seeruttun: Mr Speaker, Sir, I…
Mr Speaker: Last question!
Mr Seeruttun: I do maintain that…
Mr Speaker: I said last question!
Mr Seeruttun: I am insisting on the fact that he has to withdraw the word ‘liar’!
Mr Speaker: The hon. Member is insisting on the question.
I look at the hon. Prime Minister.
Is the hon. Prime Minister answering? Yes, please proceed.
The Prime Minister: I would gladly withdraw if the hon. Member agrees that they were there.
He cannot say the SMF was not there when they were there!
How can I accept, Mr Speaker, Sir, that the hon. Member misleads the press and the people like this?
They were there!
No, they were there!
Mr Speaker: Okay, now I have to make an announcement. The Table has been advised that Parliamentary Question Nos. B/210 and B/211 have been withdrawn. Dr. S. Boolell!
Okay, one last question to hon. Obeegadoo!
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, I note that the improper language in the House does not depend on Creole.
The word ‘shit’ was not uttered in Creole and that word was withdrawn for being improper!
Mr Speaker: Is this a question?
Mr Obeegadoo: So, if I may put my question.
Mr Speaker: Is this a question?
Is this a question?
Mr Obeegadoo: It was the preamble.
Mr Speaker: It is irrelevant to the question put, okay? If the hon. Member has a
supplementary, he may put his supplementary question!
Mr Obeegadoo: Yes, so my question, Mr Speaker, Sir, is: given that we now have
standardised Creole, will the hon. Prime Minister consider having public notices in places like dangerous beaches, hospitals and Social Security Offices placed also in Creole?
The Prime Minister: Mr Speaker, Sir, we must be careful…
Mr Speaker: Silence!
The Prime Minister: We must be careful not to do as if people in Mauritius do not understand French and English. But the point about beaches is probably something that we – Ido not know whether there are implications in this, I will have to look into it.
Mr Speaker: Next question!
SCHOOLS - 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 future.
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 aussi.
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 initiative?
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 Premier ministre.
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?
Dr. Bunwaree: Yes, 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.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS - SUBJECT TEACHING (10/02/15)
(No. B/44) Mr S. Fowdar (Third Member for Grand Baie & Poudre d’Or) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Science Research whether she will state if her Ministry is considering the introduction of subject teaching at the primary level.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS – STANDARD IV ASSESSMENT (17/11
(No. B/924) Mrs M. C. Monty (Third Member for Port Louis North & Montagne Longue) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the Standard IV at the primary level, she will state the body responsible for the setting of the examination papers for the recent end of year examinations therefor, indicating why there has been a mismatch between the examination questions and the syllabus therefor.
Reply: The recent Standard IV assessment has been organised under the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate (MES), which had enlisted the services of paper setters, moderators and resource persons from among the Primary School Inspectors and Asian Language Supervisors of Ministry. Question papers for the Standard IV assessment were prepared by the panel members under the guidance of the Resource Persons appointed by the MES.
I have indeed been informed that representation has been received regarding one question in the Science Paper, to the effect that a word which is not mentioned in the Standard textbooks has been used in the questionnaire.
Normally, pupils are taught to the text, and paper setters refrain from using vocabulary that is not mentioned in the textbook.
I wish to inform the House that necessary arrangements have been made at the level of the schools to adjust the marking exercise for Question 4B of the Science Question Paper.
However, I have instructed that, henceforth, norms and parameters governing paper setting and moderation be strictly complied with to avoid recurrence of same.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS - STANDARD II - HINDI BOOKS (07/06/16)
(No. B/537) Mr S. Mohamed (First Member for Port Louis Maritime and Port Louis East) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the Hindi books for Standard II, she will state if mistakes contained therein have been reported and, if so, indicate if remedial measures have been taken in relation thereto.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the attention of my Ministry has been drawn to certain mistakes in accuracies found in the Hindi books for Standard II which had been prepared by a panel of teachers under the aegis of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute.
Madam Speaker, as soon as the representation was received, the matter was immediately taken up with the MGI which was requested to appoint an independent panel to look into the issue. The MGI accordingly appointed an independent panel and the panels submitted a report on the basis of which a list of errata has been prepared by the MGI for distribution to schools. I am also advised that the amendments are being brought to the textbooks for the Academic Year 2017.
Moreover, a vetting team has been set up at the MGI to review the textbooks to avoid recurrence of the above situation. A quality assurance team is also being set up to ensure that a complete verification of textbooks before they are finalised.
Madam Speaker, every effort will be put in to ensure that the teaching materials provided to our pupils are up to the required standards.
Mr Mohamed: I will follow the question, at page 15 of that Hindi book for Standard II, there is reference to ‘ghajar ke khet’. So, basically, they are talking about a field of carrots, but the picture does not show ‘ghajar’, but, on the contrary, it shows tomatoes. So, has this report identified who has made those blunders with regard to not knowing what is the difference between a carrot and a tomato? Could those people be identified? What could be done in order for those people to be disqualified from putting our children studying Hindi into such complicated situations?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: This has already been done, Madam Speaker. The teachers have been identified. I will obviously not state their names here and they have been replaced.
Mr Mohamed: I thank the hon. Minister for her answer and the importance I see of ensuring that our Oriental languages are protected and are transmitted down to new generations. Is this one of the reasons why the number of students going to study Hindi is constantly on the decrease? I am not saying ever since this new Government is in, but is constantly on the decrease and even though it is not part of this question, if you would allow me, what could be done in order to reverse the trend, to encourage Hindi being taught?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, may I mention that it is absolutely not the reason for which there is a decline in the number because this is a problem that has just arisen and the decline in number is very often due to parents choosing to ask the students to go for the competitive exams of the CPE and to make sure that they don’t lose time doing other things than concentrating on what they consider to be the main subjects. But Government is doing everything that is possible to ensure that the teaching of oriental languages be upgraded and necessary support be provided to teachers through the resource centres that are being set up and through proper teacher training programmes.
Madam Speaker: Provided your question is within the parameter of this question.
Mr Mohamed: I thank the hon. Minister - even though it was not - for wishing to help and provide us with the answers. Yes, this letter of erratum or even the communication has not as yet been communicated to the schools. The first time, I believe, officially there was the union that informed the hon. Minister on 28 March of this year that there were mistakes. By what time will the students and teachers be made aware of what the mistakes are and then maybe we would congratulate them with gajar ka halwa?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Let me inform the hon. Member that the teachers have already been informed, that they have been given the information and that the mistakes were, in fact, in terms of colour, of printing and in certain cases, the use of singular terms instead of plural terms. But these are minor mistakes and the teachers have already been informed about it. I am sure the teachers will immediately find out as soon as they come across these mistakes.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS – TEXTBOOKS (28/06/16)
Mr D. Ramful (Third Member for Mahebourg & Plaine Magnien): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have an issue concerning the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research. I think she is not here, if one of the colleagues can convey the issue to her.
I have been informed by parents with regard to some primary schools - I don’t know if in all of them, but I know for some - students have not received their part two textbooks yet. These students would be going on holidays in July. They will be back in August and they will have only about two months to complete those Part II textbooks which, I believe, are quite thick.
Therefore, I am making a humble request to the hon. Minister of Education, and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research to, please, kindly look into the matter.
The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security (Mr M. Seeruttun): Madam Speaker, I would like to have some clarifications with regard to the subjects and the classes concerned, please.
Mr Ramful: Well, for example, at Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo Government School, which is in Sodnac, Standard III pupils don’t have their Maths, French, Science and History textbooks. But I don’t know if it is the case for other Primary Schools.
Mr Seeruttun: Okay, I take note of that request and I will pass on the message to the hon. Minister when she is back.
SCHOOLS - GRADE 5 – SYLLABUS (29/11/16)
(No. B/1070) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the students in Grade 5/Standard 5 and being given that they will have to take a modular assessment (Module 1) Science and History and also in Geography in October/November 2017 and a School-based Assessment in two non-core subjects, namely Communications Skills and IT Skills, she will state –
(a) if the syllabuses therefor are ready and, if so, table copy thereof;
(b) the number of teachers trained in the respective subjects, indicating the duration of the training therefor, and (c) if all the schools are equipped with the appropriate IT equipment .
Reply: With regard to part (a) of the question relating to students in Grade 5 taking modular assessment (Module 1) by end of third term 2017, and who will be subject to school based assessment in two non-core subjects, i.e Communication Skills and ICT, the relevant syllabi are ready and have been published. I am tabling copies.
With regard to part (b) of the question, I wish to inform the House that a Training Plan has been elaborated in collaboration with the MIE and training has started since last year.
I am informed that educators who will be teaching Grade 5 in 2017 have already been trained on the new National Curriculum Framework 2015 which includes Science, History & Geography. Some 444 such Educators have been trained from 21 to 24 November 2016 in the context of the reform.
As far as Communications Skills are concerned, some 492 Educators who would be teaching Communications Skills in Grade 5 in 2017, have already undergone training in July 2016. Further training is scheduled in December this year regarding Assessment in Communication Skills as a non-core subject.
In addition, ICT support officers who would be teaching ICT Skills as a non-core subject have been trained in the months of April, May and September 2016. Another training programme is also scheduled from 05 to 08 December 2016 including all ICT support Officers.
Training will be an ongoing activity. More training workshops are planned for the month of December from 12 to 20 December 2016 for the benefit of all Educators who would be teaching Grade 5 in 2017.
I am advised that, with respect to part (c) of the question, all primary schools in Mauritius and Rodrigues are equipped with computer room facilities.
As part of the planning process for 2017, my Ministry is procuring additional personal computers for the schools.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS – STUDENTS - SWIMMING COURSES (28/03/17)
(No. B/34) Mr F. Quirin (Fourth Member for Beau Bassin & Petite Rivière) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the launching of swimming courses for primary school students, she will state the expected starting date thereof, giving details as regards the coaches involved therein.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, in the context of the implementation of the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE) reforms, a holistic education programme has been introduced in the primary school curriculum. This programme includes an important component, namely the Swimming and Water Environment Awareness project (also called ‘Natation Scolaire’). It was officially launched on Monday 13 February 2017 and aims at promoting the practice of sports activities among pupils at a very young age.
The ‘Natation Scolaire’ project is being implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Mauritius Sports Council as from 23 January 2017 for some 1,100 pupils of Grade 4 on a pilot basis in 30 primary schools found in the vicinity of the five swimming pools managed by the Mauritius Sports Council.
The swimming classes are of 10 weeks’ duration and pupils will be provided with a certificate of participation at the end of this period.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is supporting this project through the provision of lifeguards, and the Mauritius Sports Council is providing qualified swimming coaches having necessary qualifications and competencies to ensure safety and security of swimmers.
I am given to understand that the Mauritius Sports Council has a database of registered coaches in respect of several disciplines, including swimming, and the Mauritius Sports Council has availed of the services of these registered swimming coaches for the ‘Natation Scolaire’ Programme. The Mauritius Sports Council ensures that each coach has the required qualifications to run these sessions.
I wish to add that there are approximately four to six coaches responsible to deliver the swimming classes in each of the five swimming pools to approximately 40 pupils at a time.
Mr Quirin: Merci, Madame la présidente. Peut-on savoir de l’honorable ministre quelles sont les écoles qui participent actuellement à ce projet, et aussi de bien vouloir nous indiquer le nombre d’écoliers par école et de nous expliquer aussi comment se fait le choix de ces écoliers ? Est-ce qu’ils sont tous aptes à participer ou il y a un choix qui est fait ?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madame la présidente, je vais soumettre au parlement la liste des écoles. Mais tous les élèves de la quatrième sont impliqués. On ne fait pas de sélection à moins que les parents viennent nous dire que l’enfant n’arrivera pas à suivre les cours pour une raison quelconque.
Mr Quirin: Est-ce que l’honorable ministre est en train de confirmer que toutes les écoles primaires sont concernées actuellement?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Dans ma réponse, Madame la présidente, je viens de dire que c’est sur une base pilote, et nous n’avons que 30 écoles qui ont débuté le programme.
Mr Quirin: D’accord. Peut-on savoir qui est le responsable technique de ce projet et d’où proviennent les 46 entraineurs dont nous a affirmé l’honorable ministre ; de quels clubs ils proviennent ?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Je n’ai pas mentionné 46. J’ai mentionné qu’il y avait six coaches par classe et que c’est le DTN, le Directeur Technique du ministère de la Jeunesse et des Sports qui est en charge du programme.
Mr Ramful: Since we are dealing with very young children, Grade IV, can the hon. Minister give her assurance that all safety measures have been taken whilst the children are participating?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I must reassure the hon. Member and the House that all safety measures have been taken and even insurance policies have also been taken just to relieve the parents and to make them feel at ease with the programme. The programme is being held in such a way that children will be at safety. We have lifeguards and there are about six coaches for each class. So, we have taken all the measures required.
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Quirin!
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY – CREOLE LANGUAGE (20/06/17)
Mr A. Ganoo (First Member for Savanne and Black River): Madame la
présidente, j’avais inscrit en mon nom une question parlementaire le 18 avril de cette annéeci, où je demandais au Premier ministre si le gouvernement envisageait d’amender la Constitution et les Standing Orders de l’Assemblée nationale afin de permettre l’utilisation de la langue créole mauricien au sein de l’hémicycle.
Faute de temps, l’honorable Premier ministre ne répondit pas à cette question ce jourlà.
Malheureusement la réponse n’a jamais été déposée à la bibliothèque de l’Assemblée nationale depuis le jour où j’avais posé la question. Cette demande, Madame la présidente, d’introduire la langue créole au sein de l’hémicycle ne date pas d’aujourd’hui. Une telle proposition a été faite déjà dans le passé et j’y reviendrai.
Madame la présidente, aujourd’hui cette revendication devient plus que pertinente
après que la décision a été prise, comme nous le savons tous, pour que les débats
parlementaires soient télévisés et diffusés en direct. Madame la présidente la raison d’être de mon intervention aujourd’hui réside dans le fait qu’une quasi-totalité de mauriciens parlent le créole et que, d’autre part, la majorité de nos parlementaires interviennent en anglais au Parlement. Il y a donc un mismatch, un décalage au niveau linguistique dans la communication entre nos élus et le peuple.
Comme nous le savons tous, Madame la présidente, il avait malheureusement un
blocage vis-à-vis de l’utilisation de la langue créole, voir un préjugé basé sur une
misconception que la langue créole peut être écrite de plusieurs façons ou des préjugés basés sur d’autres raisons sur lesquelles je ne m’attarderai pas. Madame la présidente, la situation a évolué et la langue créole est aujourd’hui pourvue de son lexique, avec le résultat que nous pouvons aujourd’hui distinguer entre des mots, des expressions qui, d’après moi, peuvent être classifiés comme Parliamentary ou Non-Parliamentary. La langue créole est aujourd’hui enseignée au MIE, à l’université de Maurice. Nous avons même un dictionnaire Kreol
Madame la présidente, les universitaires et les chercheurs de l’université de Maurice ont même développé un logiciel d’Auto correct pour corriger le créole sur le Microsoft Word.
Le créole mauricien s’affiche aussi sur le moteur de recherche google.mu. Donc, je fais ce pressant appel au Premier ministre de prendre en considération l’opinion, le vœu de la nation qui souhaiterait l’introduction de notre langue maternelle au sein de notre hémicycle. Je suis convaincu que ce même consensus est présent parmi la majorité des membres élus au sein de cet hémicycle.
Madame la présidente, vous seriez peut-être surprise d’apprendre, tout comme les
membres de la Chambre, qu’en 1977, le leader de l’Opposition d’alors, Sir Anerood Jugnauth avait déposé un Private Member’s Motion dans le même sens.
C’est pourquoi, aujourd’hui, presque 40 ans après, je fais un appel à l’honorable Premier ministre pour lui demander de réfléchir sérieusement sur cette question. Nou ti bizin kapav koz Kreol dans sa parlement-la, Madame la présidente, pour ki tou bann morisien kapav kompren….
Madam Speaker: Not yet!
Mr Ganoo: …pou ki tou bann mauriciens kapav kompren se ki bann representan
lepep p debatt, p diskite. Le kreol morisien est une belle langue, Madame la présidente. Cette question n’est aucunement dictée par des considérations politiques, elle est l’expression sincère de mon désir, du désir de mon ami, ici, à mes côtés, et je suis sûr du désir de tout le monde dans cette Chambre, pour permettre l’accès des débats à tous les Mauriciens. Cette démarche, Madame la présidente, pour montrer le respect ki nou ena envers nou population.
Sa demarche la pou favorise la transparence et pou montrer ki nou croire dan le concept de freedom of expression.
Madam Speaker: Not as yet, hon. Ganoo. You cannot express yourself in creole
Mr Ganoo: C’est pourquoi, Madame la présidente, je fais un appel pressant à notre
Premier ministre aujourd’hui. Je suis sûr qu’il a déjà ses idées propres à lui et je lui demanderai donc de réfléchir sur l’opportunité d’introduire la langue créole, d’amender les Standing Orders, d’amender la Constitution pour que tous les élus de cette Chambre puissant utiliser le créole à leur guise.
Je vous remercie.
The Prime Minister: As the House is aware, the proposal for the introduction of the Creole Language in the National Assembly has been the subject of several Parliamentary Questions in the past and, each time, emphasis was laid on the fact that there are a number of issues that would have to be addressed before introducing the Mauritian Creole language in the National Assembly.
Madam Speaker, in a statement made in the House in April 2008 in the context of
Parliamentary Question B/76, the hon. Member himself stated that we must consider introducing the Creole language in the National Assembly in a gradual manner and that we should start by envisaging using it in schools in the first instance.
Likewise, in his reply made to Parliamentary Question B/169 on 23 April 2013, the then Prime Minister also emphasised the fact that there are a number of implications that will need to be addressed before one can contemplate the formal use of Kreol language in the National Assembly.
Madam Speaker, as a matter of fact, the Mauritian Kreol language has been
introduced as an optional subject in primary schools since 2012. The language has also been given due recognition as a subject in the context of the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education Programme.
The teaching of Kreol Morisien has been made possible following the elaboration of its orthography, grammar and dictionary and the following documents have been produced accordingly -
(i) Lortograf Kreol Morisien;
(ii) Gramer Kreol Morisien; et
(iii) Diksioner Morisien.
In 2017, the teaching of Mauritian Kreol language has been rolled out in the primary cycle and is being offered as an optional subject across Grades 1 to 6. A formal assessment will be carried out in October 2017.
I am informed that some 2,960 pupils of Grade 6 will be sitting for Kreol Morisien at Primary School Achievement Certificate Assessment in 2017. Kreol Morisien will also be offered as an optional subject at Grade 7 (that is formerly Form I) in 2018 and will be covered during the full Nine Year Continuous Basic Education Programme. Students taking Kreol Morisien will be assessed at the level of the National Certificate of Education (NCE) Assessment in 2020 at the end of Grade 9.
It is considered that at this stage, the Mauritian Kreol literacy among the youth, taking into account the proper use of orthography, grammar and vocabulary, has been developed at the level of pupils of primary schools up to Grade 6. The University of Mauritius has also offered a degree programme covering kreol studies.
This process is being sustained and my Government is providing the necessary
resources for the teaching and promotion of Kreol Morisien in schools.
Madam Speaker, in the event that the language is used for official purposes, it has to be spoken and written and recorded while respecting its orthography, grammar and vocabulary in line with the published documents.
It is therefore imperative that, at all levels, we adopt the standardised written system and acquire proper communicative as well as social linguistic and cognitive competencies.
The teaching and learning process and training should be pursued and facilitated
incrementally and over a period of time so that people can develop a mastery of the language.
This process will also ensure use of a harmonised version of written Kreol among the population at large.
Madam Speaker, apart from the language issue, other arrangements, both
administrative and logistics, especially in terms of appropriate IT hardware and software will have to be put in place before contemplating the introduction of Mauritian Kreol language in the National Assembly.
Madam Speaker, the Mauritian Kreol language being a unifying factor in our rainbow nation, Government will consider its introduction in the National Assembly once all the issues are carefully examined and thrashed out and all the necessary pre-conditions are met.
At 00.55 a.m. the Assembly was, on its rising, adjourned to Wednesday 21 June 2017 at 10.00 a.m.