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

Secondary Library Facilities/Careers Guidance

(No. B/89) Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the Secondary School Health Programme, he will state the number of students who have been screened –
(a) in 2008, and
(b) since January 2009 to date, indicating the number of tests effected.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Secondary School Health
Programme is being implemented jointly by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and my Ministry since February 2007. The objective of the Programme is for the early detection of Non-Communicable Diseases and their risk factors amongst students and to create awareness and sensitise students on good nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
The numbers of students who have been screened as well as the number of tests carried out are as follows –
Year Number of students screened
Number of tests carried out
2008 24,012 4,593
2009 23,552 5,531
2010 (to date)
2,771 Figures are being compiled
Tests carried out were especially in respect of -
(1) Blood Pressure Measurement
(2) Vision Testing
(3) Fasting Blood Glucose
In addition, Medical Officers carry out clinical examination with special attention to -
· heart/lungs/abdomen
· skin for any dermatological problem
· deformities/congenital abnormalities
· any other abnormalities Counselling and health education are also provided. Relevant advice is also given regarding health and dietary related issues.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, can the hon. Minister give us the names of the secondary schools where these screening have been effected and during which period?
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I can circulate the list.
Mrs Martin: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, since the hon. Minister has mentioned the figures of the different years and of the number of students who have been screened, may we know what percentage this represents with regard to the total population of students during those years?
Dr. Bunwaree: It is difficult for me to say the percentage right now, but if a proper question is put I can reply. I can say that I am not very satisfied with the way it is being carried out, but we are presently continuing along the same trend. We started two years ago, the idea in which line we want to go is that every school child must have a screening at least once every two years. This is the direction in which we want to go.
Mrs Martin: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the same wavelength, can the hon. Minister say whether there is a follow-up programme which will, in fact, make it compulsory or, at least, ask the students in order to be able to be equipped with information so that they could inform other students and make it as a rippling effect?
Dr. Bunwaree: There is a follow-up programme for the screened cases. Of course, once the cases are discovered, they are channeled to the relevant medical units. Then, as I said, if we go in line with what I have mentioned, that is every child is screened once every two years, the follow-up will be an automatic one.
(No.1B/361) Mr C. Fakeemeeah (Third Member for Port Louis Maritime & Port Louis East) asked the Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands whether, in regard to libraries run by the Municipal Council of Port Louis, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain, from the Council, information as to the number thereof, indicating if they are equipped with
internet facilities.
Reply: I am informed by the Municipal Council of Port Louis that internet facilities are available to members of the public and library subscribers against payment of a nominal fee of 0.50 cents per minute at the Audiovisual Section of the Municipal Library and at the Computer Clubs found at Camp Chapelon, Cassis, Cité Briquetterie, Idrice Goomany Centre, Plaine Verte,
Roche Bois, St François Xavier, Tranquebar, Vallée des Prêtres and Vallée Pitot.
(No. 1B/359) Mr E. Guimbeau (First Member for Curepipe & Midlands) asked the Minister of Youth and Sports whether Government proposes to re-introduce the Inter-college sports competition and, if so, when and, if not, why not.
Mr Ritoo: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the National Games, formerly known as the National Inter College Games was reviewed in August 2008 by my Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, the Mauritius Secondary Schools Sport Association and National Sports Federations with a view to giving a boost to school sports. The
question of re-introduction therefore does not arise.
Six (6) sports disciplines were involved inthis first edition, in 2008 namely Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Table Tennis and Volleyball.
In December 2008, i.e. three months after I assumed office, I had a meeting with the Union of Secondary School Managers, the MSSSA and other stakeholders to discuss the organisational aspects of the second edition and it was agreed that the MSSSA will take the lead to organise the National Games as from 2009 in close collaboration as usual with my Ministry.
For this edition again, the same six (6) sports disciplines were involved.
As regards the 2010 edition, I wish to inform the hon. Member that preliminaries and finals at regional levels have already been completed in majority of the sport disciplines.
However, the MSSSA has informed my Ministry that the calendar of activities had to be reviewed due to several reasons, namely, time constraint, the large number of students involved for the Athletic competitions, policy of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources not to organise major activities in the 3rd term due to School Certificate and Higher School Certificate Exams and the holding of the last general election. Consequently, the finals of the athletic competition will not be held exceptionally this year.
But, the MSSSA will during the beginning of the 3rd term organise the finals for football, volleyball, table tennis, badminton and basketball at national level.
In the context of the 4th edition in 2011, a joint Technical Committee will be set up involving MSSSA, Ministry of Youth & Sports, Ministry of Education and Human Resources and Sports Federations to monitor the preparation and timely, implementation of the calendar of activities.
Mr Guimbeau: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, did the Minister say that for 2010 there will be no inter-college games?
Mr Ritoo: As I stated in my answer, exceptionally the finals of the athletics competition will not be held this year due to time constraint because we had the general election and it is also the policy of the Ministry of Education not to hold athletic competition during third term.
Mr Guimbeau: Can the hon. Minister give some precision who take parts in those games? Is it all the colleges?
The Deputy Speaker: This has been answered, I understand. It is regional.
Mr Ritoo: It is organised by the MSSSA in collaboration with the Ministry for all the colleges.
Mrs Ribot: Can we know from the hon. Minister when the regional competitions were held?
Mr Ritoo: The MSSSA organised the regional competitions and also at national level.
Mrs Ribot: The question what I'm asking is the dates on which the regional sports were held?
Mr Ritoo: They were held at the beginning of the first term.
Mrs Ribot: Does the hon. Minister mean that between the beginning of the first term and the end of the second term no date was available for the holding of the National Athletic Competition?
Mr Ritoo: As I stated in my answer, there was general election and also because a large number of students were participating in the athletics games, so it was not possible to continue with this activity. We had to withhold everything for one month during the electoral campaign.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I don't think that the student were being held up in the electoral campaign.
The Deputy Speaker: This question has been answered. We know the reason. Hon. Guimbeau last question!
Mr Guimbeau: In reply to PQ No. B/144…
The Deputy Speaker: Order please!
Mr Guimbeau: In reply to PQ No. B/144 in April 2008, there were two committees which were set up, a technical committee comprising of officials of his ministry and Board of Education and there was an implementation committee, comprising of all stakeholders including sports federation. Can the hon. Minister table the report of both committees?
Mr Ritoo: There is no problem to table the reports.
(No. 1B/497) Mrs L. Ribot (Third Member for Stanley & Rose Hill) asked the Minister of Youth and Sports whether, in regard to the Mauritius Secondary Schools Sports Association, he will state the -
(a) names of the President and Members of the Executive Committee thereof;
(b) name of the representative of his Ministry sitting on the Committee thereof,
indicating the number of meetings of the Committee that the latter has attended,
since January 2010 to date, and
(c) number of regional and national inter college competitions it has organized, since January 2010 to date.
Mr Ritoo: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the name of the President and Members of the Executive Committee of the Mauritius Secondary Schools Sport Association MSSSA are being tabled.
Regarding part (b) of the question, the MSSSA is a multisport organisation, governed by Rules and Regulations of the Sports Act. The board of the MSSSA is composed of Rectors of affiliated private and public secondary schools, as such, like other sports federations; no representative of my Ministry is entitled to sit on the organisation. However, there is a Desk
Officer in the grade of a Senior Sports Officer, who deals with all issues concerning the MSSSA and there is also one Sports Officer who acts as a liaison officer and a facilitator.
Regarding part (c) of the question, I am informed that, since January 2010, 70 inter college competitions have been organised that the regional level in various sports disciplines and two competitions at the national level namely cross-country and swimming. Moreover, national competitions in football, volleyball, basketball, badminton and table tennis are scheduled for
September 2010.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to know from the hon. Minister if he is aware that winners of the table tennis competition in March 2009 have still not received their awards?
Mr Ritoo: This is very serious. I will look into the matter.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to know from the hon. Minister if he is aware that the volleyball competition in some regions have never taken place and, instead, there has only been a festival?
Mr Ritoo: As I stated, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is the MSSSA which organises the inter college competitions and I have only a Desk Officer who does the liaison with the MSSSA.
But, I will check if the volleyball competition has not been organised. Anyway, it is a national competition, but it should have been organised.
Mrs Ribot: I would like also to know from the hon. Minister, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, if he is aware that the Acting Administrative Secretary of the MSSSA had already informed the P.E. teachers as early as 13 July that no National Sports Competitions were going to be held this year?
Mr Ritoo: Well, as I stated in my reply, there will be a National Competition in football, volleyball, basketball, badminton and table tennis scheduled for September 2010.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to know from the hon. Minister, contrary to the previous years, if the State Colleges are going to be allowed to participate this year?
Mr Ritoo: Well, the inter college games is open for all the colleges. It is on a regional basis. All colleges are supposed to take part.
Mr Quirin: M. le président, est-ce que le ministre est au courant que les colleges confessionnels ont l’intention d’organiser des championnats inter collèges d’athlétisme durant le mois de septembre?
Mr Ritoo: Well, this is not proper. I have already informed the concerned people that it is not proper to organise the sports differently for les collèges confessionnels or whatever.
Mr Quirin: Malgré tout, M. le ministre, cela ne prouve-t-il pas que ce que fait le MSSSA est insuffisant?
Mr Ritoo: As I stated, MSSSA is a separate body. There is a Desk Officer who does the liaison. They wanted to organize the inter college games, so all the responsibility are going to the MSSSA.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think that even if the MSSSA is an independent body it still falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Sports and as such I would like to ask the hon. Minister to see to it that le sport scolaire ne continue pas sur la pente qu’il a prise. Puisque, comme il est de nos jours, nous allons vers une mort certaine.
Mr Ritoo: I thank the hon. Member. Well, I am very much concerned about the inter college games. I have set up a committee to see that the inter college games are being regularised because we must not forget that we have very good athletes. In fact, all the athletes who represented Mauritius in the CJSOI games emanate from the colleges and all those who are actually participating in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore are also from the inter college national games.
(No. B/296) Mrs A. Navarre-Marie (First Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions whether, in regard to the Books Loan Scheme, she will state if she has been informed that some students eligible thereunder have not yet obtained their school books, and if so, indicate –
(a) the number of students concerned therewith, indicating the secondary institution which they attend, and
(b) if urgent remedial measures will be taken.
Reply: I wish to inform the House that the involvement of my Ministry regarding the provision of books to needy students of the secondary schools is limited to the assessment of eligibility of beneficiaries.
These beneficiaries are –
(i) recipients of Social Aid and Unemployment Hardship Relief (UHR)
(ii) needy recipients of basic pensions who would have qualified for Social Aid in the absence of the basic pension, namely Basic Widow’s Pension, Basic Invalidity Pension, Guardian’s Allowance, Basic Orphan’s Pension and Basic Retirement Pension.
Applications from parents whose children attend secondary schools are received at the Social Security Offices of my Ministry as early as September each year, in order not to penalise students when they resume classes at the beginning of the year. These applications are made on a specific form provided by the Heads of schools.
Once the eligibility of applicants is established, the application is approved and issued by my Ministry normally on the same day depending on the production of the relevant documents for example, salary/pension slip, pension cards, civil status documents, etc.
Those who are not eligible are informed accordingly.
For the period September 2011 to date, 5916 applications were received by my Ministry, out of which 5566 were found eligible and 350 applications were turned down. There are no outstanding applications at the level of my Ministry.
It is to be noted that the exercise is ongoing throughout the year as there are always late applications from beneficiaries.
As regards parts (a) and (b) of the question, and also the matter relating to availability of school books, these issues do not really fall within the mandate of my Ministry. They relate to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources.
MATTER RAISED (9.27 p.m.)
Mrs A. Navarre-Marie (First Member for GRNW & Port Louis West): M. le président, merci de me permettre de soulever, aujourd’hui, la question ayant trait au Book Loan Scheme destiné aux étudiants dont les parents doivent répondre à certains critères très spécifiques.
Dans une réponse, à une question parlementaire la semaine dernière, la question B/296, adressée à la ministre de la sécurité sociale dans ce sens, la ministre avait répondu que son ministère reçoit les demandes à partir de septembre. M. le président, je ne mets nullement en doute la réponse de la ministre. C’est la réponse qu’elle a obtenue de ses officiers, mais je lui fais suffisamment confiance pour qu’elle tire ses propres conclusions.
Comment les parents peuvent-ils entamer des démarches dès le mois de septembre, alors que tout le monde sait que logiquement les parents attendent d’obtenir les résultats de fin d’année, pour ce qui est des étudiants de la Forme 1 à la Forme V et en février ou Mars pour les étudiants ayant pris part aux examens de SC et HSC.
Quelle est la procédure, M. le président, pour l’obtention de ces livres, de ces manuels scolaires? Ayant obtenu les résultats des examens et la liste des manuels scolaires, les parents font une demande auprès de la sécurité sociale. Là, selon mes informations, il y a au moins trios types d’enquêtes qui se font.
Les enquêtes terminées, un formulaire est remis à la personne éligible, lequel formulaire est ensuite remis à l’institution que fréquente l’étudiant. Le formulaire n’est jamais remis le même jour, comme mentionnée par la réponse de la ministre à ma question de la semaine dernière. Le formulaire de la sécurité sociale est donc remis à l’institution scolaire et c’est à l’institution d’acheter les manuels scolaires qui sont remboursables par la PSSA.
Quels sont les problèmes, M. le président ? Le premier problème est du côté de la sécurité sociale.
La sécurité sociale prend beaucoup de temps, soit parce que les enquêtes ne sont pas completes en un jour ou alors ceux qui font une demande pour le Book Loan Scheme ne soumettent pas tous les documents appropriés. Si bien que lorsque les bénéficiaires, ayant passé à travers les enquêtes de la sécurité sociale et l’établissement scolaire, se retrouvent sans manuels scolaires quand ils arrivent finalement chez le libraire, le stock de livres ayant été épuisé.
M. le président, nous sommes, aujourd’hui, vers la fin du deuxième trimestre, et des étudiants de la Form I n’ont jusqu’ici pas reçu tous leurs manuels scolaires. Certains manuels de science ne sont plus disponibles chez les libraires. Plus sérieusement, des étudiants de la Form V n’ont pas encore obtenu leurs manuels d’anglais et de français; deux core subjects. Même s’il n’y avait qu’un seul étudiant qui n’ait pas obtenu ces manuels, c’est un exclu de trop que la société est en train de produire.
Qu’est-ce que je propose, M. le président ? Je propose donc qu’un fast track soit institute à la PSSA, que les critères d’éligibilité et la liste de documents nécessaires pour décider de l’éligibilité d’un étudiant au BLS soient remis à tous les parents au moment de l’enregistrement de l’enfant à être admis en Form I, et également à tous les parents au moment où ils viennent prendre connaissance des résultats d’examens de fin d’année de leurs enfants.
Troisièmement, que les mêmes manuels scolaires soient utilisés par tous les étudiants. Personnellement, je trouve que c’est important, M. le président, vu que les étudiants prennent part aux mêmes examens, SC et HSC, et bientôt les étudiants de la Form III seront examinés au même niveau au plan national.
Il est donc normal que tous les étudiants aient les mêmes manuels, ce qui permettrait au ministère de passer une commande de manuels bien à l’avance, avec moins de risques qu’il y ait rupture de stock.
M. le président, lorsqu’un étudiant n’a pas son manuel scolaire, contrairement à ses autres camarades, il fait face à une humiliation. Il se sent diminué vis-à-vis de ses autres camarades. Ces derniers savent qu’ils n’ont pas de livres parce que Sécurité sociale penkor donner. Vous réalisez toute l’humiliation que cela comporte, M. le président. Je dois dire que certaines personnes qui se disent ‘prof’ ne sont pas pour arranger les choses. Certains profs humilient ces enfants davantage en leur intimant de rester à la maison tant qu’ils n’ont pas eu
leurs livres. Ces enfants sont évidemment les plus vulnérables de la société et nous, les mauriciens, en général, de par nos origines, croyons fermement que le seul moyen de mobilité social reste et demeure l’éducation. Exclure ces enfants du système scolaire ou les stigmatiser est la pire des choses. L’idéal serait que tous les étudiants obtiennent leurs livres à la rentrée des classes, soit au début de l’année scolaire. Je lance, donc, un appel pressant au ministre concerné,
au gouvernement en général pour qu’une solution soit trouvée au plus vite pour ne pas pénaliser nos enfants.
Merci, j’en ai terminé.
(9.34 p.m)
The Minister of Education and Human Resources (Dr. V. Bunwaree): M. le président, je voudrais d’abord remercier l’honorable membre pour avoir soulevé ce problème et montré son intérêt à la cause des enfants. Mais, en l’écoutant, on pourrait avoir l’impression que c’est un problème dramatique. Je vais surement prendre contact auprès d’elle pour essayer de repérer un peu ces cas qu’elle mentionne.
Mon collègue, l’honorable ministre de la sécurité sociale, a déjà donné des explications il y a quelque temps à la l’Assemblée. D’après les chiffres qu’on m’a transmis, à l’heure où l’on parle, il n’y a que six étudiants sur l’ensemble. Maintenant, est-ce que les chiffres sont corrects ou non, je vais m’enquérir.
Mais en écoutant l’honorable membre, on a l’impression qu’il y a un
drame quelque part. Je ne suis pas convaincu, parce que nous avons changé le système à partir de cette année.
Le Book Loan Scheme existe depuis 25 ans. Nous avons changé le système cette année.
Nous avons donné la responsabilité - for the needy students - aux associations des parents d’élèves de racheter les bouquins pour chaque école, à l’école même, et puis de nous envoyer la fiche pour le remboursement.
On a aussi opéré un deuxième changement majeur, c’est que l’école a le droit de choisir ses bouquins pour les enfants. Bien sûr, il y a des guidelines qui sont donnés par le ministère. On ne peut pas prendre n’importe quel livre. Mais il n’y a pas un livre prescrit pour tous les enfants sur l’ensemble du territoire.
Ceci étant dit, il se peut qu’il y ait des problèmes, parce qu’effectivement I am informed that a total of six students have still not obtained the totality of their books - ils ont certains livres, mais pas la totalité - owing to unavailability of books on the market. Mais ces enfants ont fait leur requête en retard. Alors, cela a posé des problèmes, car au moment où la requête est arrivée, où cela a été traitée par la Sécurité sociale, il n’y avait pas de livres sur le marché.
Despite that, I must tell the House that, in order not to penalise these students, a few remedial measures are taken. The schools are photocopying the relevant chapters of the missing books asa temporarily measure. Books available in libraries of the schools are lent to the students.
Books in good condition are borrowed from older students in the previous year. De cette façon, on arrive, quand même, à faire que les enfants continuent les classes d’une façon plus ou moins acceptable, en attendant de leur donner des livres.
Les livres étaient, avant l’année dernière, prêtés aux enfants pour être récupérés à la fin de l’année. En début d’année, des livres de seconde main, ayant été récupérés l’année d’avant, étaient distribués. On a complètement changé ce système. Les livres restent pour les enfants. On donne les livres en début d’année, et ces livres ne sont pas repris. L’enfant garde ces livres jusqu’à la fin de sa carrière à l’école. Donc, c’est quand même des choses extrêmement valuables qu’on a faites. Bien sûr, s’il y a un ou deux cas, on est là pour voir. Comme je l’ai expliqué, ces quelques cas ne sont pas de la responsabilité du système, mais d’ailleurs. Même si cela vient d’ailleurs, je suis tout à fait disposé à voir comment on peut faire pour que cela n’existe pas du
Je vous remercie.
At 9.41 p.m. the Assembly was, on its rising, adjourned to Tuesday 03 July 2012 at 11.30 a.m.
(No. B/155) Mr S. Rughoobur (Second Member for Grand’Baie & Poudre d’Or) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the primary and secondary schools, she will state the procedures followed before the –
(a) textbooks are recommended as curriculum materials therefor, and
(b) change in the edition of the said textbooks occur.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that textbooks for both primary and lower secondary sectors are developed in line with the National Curriculum Framework. A new Curriculum Framework for grades 1 to 6, developed by the MIE, has been officially launched in December last year.
The textbooks for the primary sector are developed by the Mauritius Institute of Education by a panel consisting of MIE Academic staff, Educators and the Primary Inspectorate. The textbooks undergo a process of validation carried out by a pool of Educators including Union representatives, followed by vetting by Inspectors of the Primary Inspectorate Division and final proofreading by the MIE.
All the pre-press works, including illustrations and layout, are effected at the level of the MIE and the MGI for Asian languages, while the printing and distribution of textbooks are usually undertaken by my Ministry.
As regards the secondary sector, textbooks are selected by the respective secondary schools based on the National Curriculum Framework 2009 and in accordance with a Circular on prescription of textbooks, issued at regular intervals, for the guidance of schools. I am tabling a copy of this circular.
Requests for new textbooks that a school wishes to recommend for use are approved by a High Level Advisory Committee at the Ministry. This approval is based on the recommendations of the subject vetting panels. Schools normally finalise a list of prescribed textbooks and communicate same to the Bookshop Owners Union around the month of July.
As regards the upper secondary sector, a list of prescribed and recommended textbooks is provided by the Cambridge International Examinations and a selection is made by the Textbook Committees at the level of respective schools.
Madam Speaker, with regard to part (b) of the question, in the secondary sector, the abovementioned circular on prescription of textbooks is issued to schools and stresses the unnecessary replacement of a textbook by its latest edition in order not to have parents incur undue expenses.
As far as the primary school textbooks are concerned, they are revised in line with the new National Curriculum Framework whenever applicable.
Madam Speaker: Hon. Rughoobur!
Mr Rughoobur: Thank you, Madam Speaker. The hon. Minister has herself been in the education sector. There have been over the years - she will agree - complaints regarding the quality of the textbooks. May I request the hon. Minister to look into the possibility of, as was the case with the NCCRD earlier, developing curriculum, looking at the whole issue of textbooks? May I request her to, please, see to it that not only the MIE, but also an appropriate institution like the NCCRD with people with experience in the primary as well as secondary sectors to sit and look into this whole issue of complaints that we have had during the recent years and also to look into this whole issue of curriculum as well at primary and secondary levels?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the NCCRD was previously manned by people coming from the MIE and the Educators. It’s true that now the curriculum development is done by the MIE with the help of Educators and officers of the Inspectorate Division. We can always improve on that. The National Curriculum Framework has already been launched last year, in December, for Standards I to VI. The work is being done presently with the help of the Educators of the secondary sector and the MIE. We can always look into means of improving on the set up.
Madam Speaker: Hon. Ramful!
Mr Ramful: There have been complaints recently about delays in obtaining the textbooks, especially at the primary level. May I ask the hon. Minister to look into the matter so that this does not repeat for next year?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, last year, with the new curriculum framework, there was a lot of stress on the people doing the printing, but we are looking into the matter and we are trying to make sure that there is no further delay in the priority of the textbooks.
Madam Speaker: Hon. Rughoobur!
Mr Rughoobur: Coming to part (b) of my question, Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister rightly pointed out the undue expenses incurred by parents. I have already tabled copy of two books of physics today. In that same one year, they have got the original and another edition. A new edition was published only because there were two specimen papers included in it. So, we can imagine the cost to the parents. So, I would request the hon. Minister to look into this whole issue of new edition because it appears that there is a sort of a mafia around.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I was made aware of this situation and the Ministry sends circular letters every year to the schools asking the Rectors to make sure that such practices do not recur. But, as far as the textbooks are concerned, we will have to make sure that the school libraries have the latest editions, in case there are one or two pages extra, students can get copies of these done at the level of the school itself.
Madam Speaker: Last question, hon. Mrs Selvon!
Mrs Selvon: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Will the hon. Minister state if and when the National History will be properly and fully taught in all educational institutions?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the question put by the hon. Member is not related to the question, but I will still say that in the new Curriculum Development that is being developed for grades VII to IX, we are laying emphasis on the issue of History to be included in the curriculum.
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Rughoobur!
(No. B/474) Mr S. Fowdar (Third Member for Grand’ Baie & Poudre d’Or) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the students, she will state if career guidance is being provided thereto by her Ministry, indicating if a service has been set up therefor and, if so, indicate the –
(a) role played by the Human Resource Development Council thereat, if any, and
(b) if the said service will fully apprise the students of the secondary and tertiary levels of future jobs prospects and guide them in their choice of fields of studies.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish, at the outset, to inform the House that the portfolio of Career Guidance Service, whose mission is to provide guidance and counselling to students and the public at large, has just been transferred back to my Ministry on 16 May 2016. I must, however, highlight that the Career Guidance Service also fell under the purview of my Ministry earlier, that is, from 1993 till 22 June 2015, date on which it was shifted to the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, Employment and
Training for a period of nearly one year.
Now that the portfolio of Career Guidance Service is again with my Ministry, a new orientation is being defined. The Career Guidance Service will be restructured in order to provide students’ continuous support and advice with regard not only to their choice of subjects at school level but also, most importantly, to their future career and personal development.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to part (a) of the question, I wish to inform the House that the Human Resource Development Council has been asked to conduct skill studies in 10 different sectors of the economy in line with the Government Vision 2030. The Council will have to provide useful information on skill requirements which will be widely disseminated by the Career Guidance Services to education and training providers and to
secondary and tertiary education students.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to highlight that the HRDC has launched the Career Development Stairway website for the ICT/BPO sector and this provides information on job profiles and career progression potentials for students at schools, universities, jobseekers as well as employers. The HRDC will also be called upon to support the Career Cube Project and work in collaboration with my Ministry and the Career Guidance Service with a view to
triggering the thinking process of students about career management by exposing them to career talks and themes such as managing careers, developing employability skills, interviewing skills, etc.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to part (b) of the question, I wish to further inform the House that the Career Guidance Service will be delivering talks on the choice of subjects to students of Form III, Form V and Upper VI in order to empower them to make timely and informed choices regarding further studies, training for lifelong employability and also personal fulfilment.
With a view to keeping abreast with the latest developments in the educational
landscape locally and internationally, career and educational fairs will be organised for students to have the opportunity to gather information related to postsecondary studies as well as vocational and technical studies. Information on employment opportunities and sectors that will be recruiting will be made available to them.
The Career Guidance Service will work in partnership with the HRDC to create the skills interface platforms between the universities and industry in order to gauge the skills gap and enhance employability. This will help students in their choice of the field of study and career.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. Fowdar!
Mr Fowdar: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir. I do understand that the subject matter Career Guidance has just been transferred to the Ministry of Education. It should have been with the Ministry of Education right at the beginning. In the meantime, can the hon. Minister - in view of the present labour mismatch - consider whether she would advise the tertiary level to review the curriculum so that the new curriculum meets the labour market in
the future?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Tertiary Education
Commission also produces a list of Indicative Priority Fields of Study that, as its name suggests, provides a list of areas of focus for undergraduate and postgraduate education.
However, at the University of Mauritius, we also have a committee which has been set up where consultations are held with the industry and the private sector in the designing of the curriculum and courses.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. Uteem!
Mr Uteem: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir. May we know from the hon.
Minister how many staff there are in this Career Guidance Department at her Ministry and how regularly do they carry out these school courses?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Career Guidance Services at the Ministry is manned by 7 employees. However, we need to review it. I have just said, we are restructuring the unit so as to make it more adequate for the provision of the service. As far as the education fairs talks are concerned, obviously, we are preparing to have it regularly at schools. We also often send our officers to the different schools on request.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. Baloomoody!
Mr Baloomoody: One of the main criticisms of the Auditors in the Performance Audit Report of 2015, they said –
“The problem is of employment and employability of jobseekers (...) and there is an absence of a holistic approach”.
We have so many institutions, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Employment, the ITC and the Human Resources Development Council and all these are working independently. I have just heard the hon. Minister mentioned several institutions as well. So, is Government prepared to have a holistic approach as there is only one unit who can advise, especially youngsters who want to go for further studies, can get information?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, in my answer I have just
mentioned that there is a collaboration that has been established between my Ministry, the HRDC and the institutions providing training so that, in a consulted manner, we may decide on the way forward.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. Ramful!
Mr Ramful: The Career Development Stairway which provides online information on job opportunities etc, I believe is restricted to the ICT/BPO sector only. Now, does the hon. Minister propose to extend it to other sectors?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Certainly, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir. We have just
mentioned that the HRDC has come up with a career step up and this will be applied to other sectors as well.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. Fowdar, a last supplementary!
Mr Fowdar: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, can I ask the hon. Minister whether she is disadvising those who are going to study for medicine these days because you have got a surplus of doctors actually in the market?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are not doing that. In fact, we are just ensuring that the quality of education dispensed is raised.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. Fowdar, next question!