SCHOOLS - ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUBJECT – INTRODUCTION (19/11/13)
(No. B/914) Mr J. F. François (Third Member for Rodrigues) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the introduction of entrepreneurship as a subject in schools, he will state the progress achieved as at to date, in particular, in respect of the school year 2014.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, as Mauritius moves into the new era of knowledge economy, it becomes essential to equip learners with 21st century skills that will enable them to constantly be innovative, creative, flexible, and responsive to emerging challenges.
Entrepreneurship is one of the new basic skills which several advanced economies have already integrated in their education programmes.
Mr Speaker, Sir, Entrepreneurship Education was introduced at the beginning of the 2nd term of 2013, that is this year, in 17 secondary schools (both state and private) at Form I level on a pilot basis, including one school in Rodrigues. I am tabling a list of those pilot schools.
Textbooks and teacher’s guides, developed by the Mauritius Institute of Education, were provided free to all pupils and teachers in the pilot schools. Continuous teacher training was carried out by the MIE staff during the year 2013 with the educators concerned.
Moreover, the writing panel and officers of my Ministry carried out regular follow-up and visits to the pilot schools for monitoring.
From a pedagogical perspective, piloting the project offered enough time for the materials to be tested, refined, and provided for capacity building for educators. Now that the project has proved its worth, it will be extended to all secondary schools in Mauritius and Rodrigues in Form I next year, and will be a standalone subject. The students of the 17 pilot schools will continue to study the subject, of course, at Form II level, and then Form III, etc.
Following feedback from educators and continuous panel evaluation, a final version of the textbook for Form I has been produced by the MIE. The “Entrepreneurship Education – Form I” textbook will be available for sale in bookshops for academic year 2014, when the subject will be extended to all schools in Mauritius and Rodrigues. For effective teaching, a teacher’s guide will also be made available for the educators. Moreover, workshops for
educators will be carried out by MIE in November 2013, that is, in the days to come.
Mr Speaker, Sir, schools in Rodrigues will certainly, of course, be taken on board for this new initiative.
Mr François: I thank the hon. Minister for this answer. In that context, may I ask the hon. Minister under what Department will this new subject lie? Will it be under the Sociology Department, or within the Accounting or Business Department? Because it is not quite clear under which Department it will lie in schools.
Dr. Bunwaree: It is going to be a standalone subject. It is going to be one subject which will be taught in Forms I, II and III.
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.
NATIONAL COLLEGES - RESOURCE PERSONS – RECRUITMENT (08/04/14)
(No. B/146) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Second Member for Quartier Militaire & Moka) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the National Colleges, he will state if his Ministry has recruited resource persons to conduct activity periods thereat.
SECONDARY COLLEGES – MAURITIAN CREOLE – INTRODUCTION (17/05/16)
(No. B/444) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the introduction of the Mauritian Creole Language in the secondary colleges, she will state –
(a) if prior consultations were held with the teaching staff members of the secondary colleges and
(b) the minimum qualifications requirement for a teacher of the secondary colleges to teach the Mauritian Creole Language.
COMPREHENSIVE SEXUALITY EDUCATION –
SENSITISATION PROGRAMMES (14/06/16)
(No. B/593) Mr M. Gobin (First Member for Rivière des Anguilles & Souillac) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the implementation of the ministerial commitment taken for Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools signed on 07 December 2013 in Durban, South Africa, she will state where matters stand.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, at the outset, I would like to highlight that this ministerial commitment for Comprehensive Sexuality Education…
Madam Speaker: Excuse me! Hon. Gobin, is that your seat? Because you have to ask questions from your seat!
Mr Gobin: With your permission, Madam Speaker, it was changed to this place.
Madam Speaker: Okay.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I wish at the outset to highlight that this ministerial commitment for Comprehensive Sexuality Education was signed in December 2013 in Cape Town rather than Durban as stated by the hon. Member.
A representative of my Ministry and that of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life attended the preconference meeting on the Eastern and Southern Africa ministerial commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.
At the ministerial level, Mauritius was represented by the then Minister of Health and Quality of Life. This commitment required, inter alia, the key Ministries to jointly develop and deliver information, education and services needed to fight the HIV and AIDS epidemic and reverse the trend, promote healthy lifestyle through the Comprehensive Sexuality Education as well as health services.
The school represents a key platform for the sensitisation and dissemination of
relevant information to the adolescents and the youths. In this regard, Madam Speaker, my Ministry has been working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, the National AIDS Secretariat as well as NGOs for the conduct of sensitisation programmes and providing activities related to the education on sexuality.
In so far as the primary and secondary school curricula are concerned, elements of education on sexuality, healthy lifestyle and well-being are being integrated in the health and physical education components at the Standard V and Standard VI levels. I wish to point out that with the new national curriculum framework 2015, grades one to nine elaborated in the context of the nine years of continuous basic education, provision has been made for comprehensive sexuality education, road safety education, global citizenship education and
values as well as social and emotional wellbeing as part of the curriculum of life skills.
Madam Speaker, I wish to add that following consultations and discussions held with the Mauritius Institute of Education, the Bureau de l'Education Catholique, my Ministry will be implementing a joint programme on sexuality education, reproductive health and emotional wellbeing. The MIE is developing the resource materials and relevant training for teachers will also be provided.
Madam Speaker, action is being taken by my Ministry to uphold the commitment taken in 2013 with regard to sexuality education, emotional wellbeing as well as reproductive health.
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Jhuboo!