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Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research

Secondary Admissions

YEAR 2011

(No. B/350) Mrs L. Ribot (Third Member for Stanley and Rose Hill) asked the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms whether he will state if the new minimum criteria for admission into Lower VI conform with the minimum entry requirement at School Certificate level for recruitment in the public sector.
Mr Gungah: Mr Speaker, Sir, I am informed that the criteria for admission into Lower VI, that is, a Cambridge School Certificate with three credits instead of four credits as in the past, conforms with the existing minimum entry requirements with respect to grades at certain levels in the public sector.
However, currently, for post requiring a Higher School Certificate as a minimum, the candidate should hold a School Certificate with five credits.
I wish to inform the House that a Committee chaired by my Ministry is working on the review of the qualification requirement in schemes of service for entry grades in the civil service and will address any issue related to this matter
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to know from the hon. Minister if it means that, valeur du jour, holders of HSC or 2 ‘A’ levels with 2 credits at SC level are not going to be recruited in the public sector?
Mr Gungah: No. In fact, as I said, certain grades in the public sector are recruited with the existing criteria for admission, that is, 3 SC levels.
Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, we are referring to clerical grades, of course, which is the ambition of everybody holding a School Certificate. I would like to ask the Minister when this committee at the level of his Ministry was set up.
Mr Gungah: This committee was set up long before the Minister of Education came with the new criteria for admission. The committee has been working regularly. It is chaired by my Ministry and…
Mr Speaker: No, when the committee was set up, that’s all. There is no need to give the composition.
Mr Obeegadoo: My question is: what is the objective of this committee?
Mr Speaker: I think the Minister has replied to this question.
Mr Obeegadoo: May I then know whether it is the intention of Government to bring amendments to the regulations concerning…
Mr Speaker: The committee is sitting and looking into the matter. Next question, hon. Mrs Ribot!
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, the hon. Minister said certain grades are going to admit students having 3 SC levels. I would like to know what about those having 2 SC levels?
Mr Gungah: Mr Speaker, Sir, some entry grades require a bare Cambridge School Certificate, that is, either one credit or 5 passes, inclusive of English language or 2 credits and 3 passes, including English language.
Mr Speaker: Next question, Dr. Boolell!

(No. B/364) Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe & Midlands) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the criteria of two or three credits obtained for School Certificate for admission to the Higher School Certificate, he will -
(a) state -
(i) the number of students possessing three credits who have attempted/passed the Higher School Certificate in 2010 and
(ii) the number thereof possessing such qualifications registered this year for Higher School Certificate and
(iii) if the Public Service Commission has been requested to alter entry requirements at School Certificate for recruitment in the Public Sector, and
(b) for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Private Secondary Schools Authority, information as to if it has issued a letter to the private secondary schools regarding same.
Reply: As the House is aware, my Ministry has successfully implemented the measure announced in the Government Programme 2010-2015 to improve access to upper secondary education of those students who have completed the S.C./G.C.E. ‘O’ level. This measure which involved a review of criteria for admission to Lower VI was approved by Government on 28 January 2011 and has provided new opportunities for a greater number of students to have access to upper secondary by introducing more flexibility in the system without compromising on the quality of education and its outputs.
With regard to part (a) (i) of the question, 351 students with 3 credits sat for H.S.C in 2010 and 148 passed. In addition, 59 candidates obtained a G.C.E. Award with 2 or 3 ‘A’ levels out of the 351 students who sat for the H.S.C. examinations.
As for part (a) (ii), the relevant information on students having passed the S.C. with three credits and promoted to Lower Six this year is being compiled.
As regards part (iii) of the question, my colleague, the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms has just replied to Parliamentary Question No. B/350 which directly relates to the subject.
Concerning the last part of the question on the circular issued by the PSSA, the reply is in the affirmative. In fact, in the wake of the decision to review the criteria for promotion to Lower Six, we had informed Heads of Schools that taking into consideration the competitive employment market conditions and future employment prospects, students should be encouraged to improve their overall S.C./G.C.E. ‘O’ Level qualifications while they are in Lower/Upper Six
during the two year period.
I wish also to inform the House that in April 2004, the Ministry had issued a Circular letter to Heads of Schools advising students having been promoted to Lower Six in 2004 but who had ‘Passes’ in subjects like English, French, Mathematics to sit for the ‘O’ level examinations in the relevant subject to obtain a credit therein in the course of the two year period.
However, that Circular was limited in that it focused on upgrading of ‘Pass’ to ‘Credit’ in specific subjects rather than the need to upgrade the overall S.C./G.C.E. ‘O’ level qualifications.
This Government has gone beyond the 2004 Circular issued to students which advised them, to only upgrade their ‘Pass’ to a ‘Credit’ in a specific subject. This year, in parallel with the implementation of the decision to review the admission criteria to Lower Six, we have recommended that, in the interest of the students and to enhance their future employment prospects, they upgrade their overall ‘O’ Level qualifications.
As pointed out at earlier, last year some 207 out of the 351 students having 3 credits at S.C. Level have passed the H.S.C. and obtained a G.C.E. Award with at least 2 subjects at ‘A’ Level, which is the minimum entry requirement to universities.
We are confident that still more students with 3 credits promoted to Lower Six this year, will be able to pass the H.S.C. or obtain a G.C.E. with at least 2 ‘A’ Levels in 2012 and at the same time upgrade their overall ‘O’ Level qualifications.

Mr A. Ameer Meea (Second Member for Port Louis Maritime & Port Louis East): Tonight, I shall address an issue to the hon. Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research. It is in relation to the admission of pupils in Form I for secondary schools.
As she is aware, this is scheduled for Monday 12 December and this coincides with the celebration of Yaum Un Nabi. So, I will ask the hon. Minister if this admission can be extended until Tuesday for those parents who have not been able to admit their children to the schools on the 12th could do so the next day.
Thank you.
The Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and
Scientific Research (Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun): Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have been informed about this issue and the Ministry is taking care of that issue. We will look into the matter.
(8.10 p.m.)
(No. B/431) Mr Osman Mahomed (Third Member for Port Louis South & Port Louis Central) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the allocation of seats to Grade 7 in 2018 for pupils of the 2017 Primary School Achievement Certificate, she will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate, information as to the number of
applications received for transfer of allocated Regional Secondary School in each educational zone, indicating the percentage of transfers having been effected as per the requests of the respective responsible parties.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I am informed by the Mauritius
Examinations Syndicate that following the 2017 PSAC assessment, out of 12,830 students who were offered a seat for admission in Grade 7 in 2018, the total of 1,934 requests for transfer had been received at the syndicate in response with press advertisement issued on 19 December 2017. The number of applications received in respect of each educational zone is as follows –
Zone 1            668
Zone 2            519
Zone 3            336
Zone 4            411
Taking into consideration the availability of seats at the schools requested for and the criteria which are adopted as per the Education Regulations, namely the choice of responsible party, the residential address of the pupil in the geographical zone, in which the regional school is located and the grade aggregate of the pupil in the PSAC assessment. Some 710 applications were entertained representing around 36.71%.
Subsequent to the national transfer exercise carried out by the MES, the Ministry also receives and processes representations made by parents for reconsideration of their applications for the transfer mainly on the basis of hardship, serious medical cases and change in address.
For this second transfer exercise, an additional 172 cases have been favourably
received and the overall percentage of cases entertained stands at 46.12%.
Mr Osman Mahomed: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has mentioned about
1,934. Can I refer the hon. Minister to an article which appeared in week-end newspaper of 17 December 2017, and I quote -
« Mercredi dernier, soit au lendemain des résultats, ils étaient des milliers, environ 4,000, à s’être rendus dans des collèges Catholiques pour inscrire leurs enfants. Ne disposant que 850 places à pourvoir dans ces établissements, le Service Diocésain de l’Education catholique s’est retrouvé submergé par des demandes… »
Madam Speaker: Hon. Osman Mahomed, I will just stop you for one minute to tell you that you are not allowed to quote extensively from the newspaper. You can say what the newspaper had said, but you cannot quote extensively.
Mr Osman Mahomed: Yes. Can I ask the hon. Minister the disparity between the figures and what is it that went so wrong, and what happened to the 2,000 over students who were not satisfied and who only got 700 seats reallocated?
What happened?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the confessional schools have a number of seats that they fill on their own and, every year, a number of parents opt to go and ask for a seat in those confessional schools. Obviously, since they have only around 850, they cannot take up all the others, and all the other parents who had opted for a confessional school and did not get it must have taken their seats offered to them through the MES in the public schools or in other private secondary schools.
Madam Speaker: Yes, hon. Osman, Mahomed!
Mr Osman Mahomed: Many parents whose wards have obtained 4 as aggregate
have not been able to secure a seat within their catchment area. Is this a problem inherent to the reform or is it going to be different this year? Because the parents are very anxious.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, every student has been allotted a seat in his or her catchment area. It may be that the parents did not like the school that was allotted to his or her child. But, on the other hand, each and every child has been able to secure a seat in a school in the region where he dwells.
Madam Speaker: Hon. Ramful!
Mr Ramful: Madam Speaker, can I ask the hon. Minister whether she can confirm, with regard to the allocation of seats, there is a system of ranking which is based on the aggregates of the students for the allocation of seats in those regional schools?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Not at all, Madam Speaker. As I have said, as per the education regulations, the seats are allotted according to the parental choice, the proximity of the child’s dwelling to the school requested for and, obviously, the aggregate as a whole.
Students getting an aggregate of 4 are given priority over others having larger aggregates, but no ranking in any form has been adopted.
Madam Speaker: Last question, hon. Osman Mahomed!
Mr Osman Mahomed: Can I ask the hon. Minister, for those students who could not satisfy the conditions under the National Qualifications Framework and who were to be admitted to pre-voc, now called the extended stream, in regional colleges or other special programmes, what is the figure that falls under this category today?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: I do not have the exact figure with me right now, but I can always give it to the hon. Member. In fact, it should be around 3,000.
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Osman Mahomed!