SECONDARY PRIVATE COLLEGES
ST ESPRIT COLLEGE, RIVIERE NOIRE – ROAD SAFETY MEASURES (16/06/09)
(No. B/568) Mr A. Ganoo (First Member for Savanne & Black River) asked the Minister of Education, Culture & Human Resources whether, in regard to the Saint Esprit College, Rivière Noire, he will state if his Ministry has received a letter dated 08 September 2008 from the rector of the college and another one dated 06 April 2009 from the Traffic Management Road Safety Unit, complaining about the security of the students of the college in relation to the absence of certain facilities and infrastructural amenities in the vicinity thereof and, if so, indicate the remedial measures that will be taken.
The Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping (Mr Bachoo): Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, with your permission I shall reply to this question.
The Rector of Saint Esprit College, Rivière Noire, had addressed a letter on 08 September 2008 to my colleague, the then hon. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping. The second letter referred to, dated 06 April 2009, was not addressed by the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit to the Rector, but was rather written by the Rector and addressed to the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit.
The House would take note that, prior to the coming into operation of the said college, actions were initiated for the adoption of appropriate traffic measures, and you will further note that the Black River District Council, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Port Louis, the Ministry of Education, Culture & Human Resources worked towards finding solutions to the problem.
However, pending the clearance from the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit, the St Esprit College started operating from January 2008.
Given the pedestrian traffic generated by the school, the following road safety measures have been implemented by the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit -
(1) The placing of traffic signs indicating the movement of school children on both directions of the road;
(2) The setting up of a pedestrian crossing near the school;
(3) Repainting of existing road markings in the surrounding of the school, and
(4) Relocation of bus stops to avoid traffic conflict on the road due to the increased number of pedestrians.
Moreover, upon request, the Ministry of Housing & Lands has initiated action for compulsory acquisition of land on both sides of the road for the construction of bus lay-bys and footpaths. The relevant General Notice has already been gazetted. The Central Electricity Board which has installed several high tension electric poles within the boundary of the land to be acquired has been requested to remove same as these would impede on the implementation of the road safety measures to the extent of putting at risk lives of school children and other persons in that area. The Road Development Authority has been requested to monitor the situation closely.
I would like to assure the House that, once the land is obtained, the road safety measures will be implemented without any delay.
Mr Ganoo: Can I appeal to the hon. Minister to see to it that when the relocation of bus stops are carried out that bus shelters are constructed?
Mr Bachoo: Of course, that will be included in the project.
PROFESSOR BASDEO BISSOONDOYAL COLLEGE, CENTRAL FLACQ - INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES & ALLEGED MALADMINISTRATION (30/06/09)
(No. B/689) Mr G. Gunness (Third Member for Montagne Blanche & GRSE) asked the Minister of Education, Culture & Human Resources Whether, he is aware of the existence of industrial disputes and of allegations of maladministration at the Professor Basdeo Bissoondoyal College, Central Flacq, and, if so, will he state if he will now consider the advisability of setting up a fact finding committee to look thereinto.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, I am advised that complaints received regarding the Management of Professor Basdeo Bissoondoyal Colleges have been investigated into by the PSSA and are being dealt with at that level, in line with existing rules and regulations.
I am also informed that the Manager of Professor Basdeo Bissoondoyal Colleges has submitted complaints to the PSSA against eight members of his staff requesting that disciplinary proceedings be instituted against them.
Accordingly, Boards of Discipline, as provided under the PSSA Board of Discipline Regulations 1988, have been set up to hear the cases.
Disciplinary proceedings have been completed in the case of one of the eight teachers and he was inflicted two weeks’ suspension but the Management has not implemented the sanction determined by the Board of Discipline.
However, it has terminated his employment as from 01 July 2009. The PSSA has requested the Management of the college to review its decision and inform the Authority accordingly at latest by 30 June 2009, that is, today.
As regard the other seven officers who have been suspended from duty, PSSA is dealing with the disciplinary proceedings and in the light of the findings and of the outcome, action will be taken as appropriate. This matter has been raised in the course of discussions I had with the UPSEE Union and is being followed up closely.
Mr Gunness: I think there were four different occasions. Since 2007 cases of mismanagement are repeating themselves. Now we see the case where somebody has been suspended for 10 days, but the manager decides to terminate the employment of that gentleman.
Is that particular case not sufficient to set up a Fact Finding Committee so as employees, everybody who wants to go and talk can talk freely so that we clear the air?
Dr. Bunwaree: I don’t think this justifies the setting up of a Fact Finding Committee, because the Disciplinary Committee has showed already that this member of the staff has done something wrong and has been sanctioned. But, of course, the manager has been asked to give his explanation and to do the needful, because he has not gone according to the legislation.
Mr Bérenger: The hon. Minister is a gentleman and normally fair play. Will he agree with me that enough is enough? This has been going on for years. I think it is not exaggerated to talk of terrorism. The employees are terrorised, prevented from coming forward, victimized and we’ve just had the latest example. Will the Minister agree with me, a Fact Finding or any kind of committee or Commission of Inquiry, if it is not held in camera, and chaired by somebody in whom the employees can have confidence, for years this will go on? Will the hon. Minister look seriously into it?
Dr. Bunwaree: Yes, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir. I think the thing is to take action, because supervisors have been going to the schools. They have agreed that there are certain problems and this is what they have concluded. Now the time has come to take action and we are liaising with the State Law Office to see what is the best course of action to take.
Mr Gunness: Can I know from the Minister whether he is aware, for example, that in the master time-table which the college has to submit to the PSSA, the PSSA Inspectors have seen deficiencies where nearly hundred of fictitious periods were included in the master time-table which were submitted in March this year? Is the Minister aware of that particular fact?
Dr. Bunwaree: I must say very frankly, I am not aware of that. I will look into it. But I met UPSEE two or three days ago and this was not raised in the course of the meeting.
Mr Gunness: Is the Minister again aware that these seven office attendants who have been suspended, are the same employees who were asked to work on Saturdays up to 5 p.m.? I put questions previously to Minister Gokhool and he said that instructions were given to the manager to abide by the PRB regulations. Is he aware that because these employees refused to work up to 5 p.m. they have been suspended?
Dr. Bunwaree: As the hon. Member says they are the same persons, then, the Disciplinary Committees are ongoing.
Mr Varma: Could the hon. Minister inform the House whether there has been any request from the employees for the setting up of a Fact Finding Committee?
Dr. Bunwaree: No, Sir.
Mr Gunness: The Minister is saying no. Can I know from the Minister whether UPSEE in the recent past on several occasions has not requested for the setting up of a proper Fact Finding Committee?
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I met UPSEE two or three days ago and this was not mentioned.
Mr Gunness: Can I know from the Minister whether he is aware and if he can give me the number of educators who have been refused vacation leave, travel grant, passage benefit, and car loans? Even the PSSA approached the manager to approve these car loans for the teachers who are entitled to, but the manager refused systematically. Is he aware of that?
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have given instructions that, in any case, when the management is not able to justify the problems that are cropping up, then PSSA has to take action and go accordingly.
Mr Gunness: Can we know concretely - not at the level of the PSSA because for the PSSA we know; for the supervisors, we know what happens when they go there - at the Ministry's level, what the Minister is proposing to clear the air so that, at least, these people can work in a decent condition and not as if with a butcher.
Dr. Bunwaree: I won't go along the lines of the word mentioned by the hon. Member. As I have said, there is a problem there. In fact, the supervisors of the PSSA have reported that there is some truth in what is being said. But, of course, there are so many other things that are said for which there is no evidence. We are looking into the matter. What the Ministry is doing, is trying to see in which way we can solve the problem, because this is a college where the manager has been for a long time and he's got his way of doing things. But, of course, we have to inform him - we have already been informing him - that he has to go according to regulations, and the PSSA is there to look into that. The Ministry is going to see to it what is the best course of action, with the help of the State Law Office, as I mentioned.
RODRIGUES – MAURITIAN EDUCATORS – REPRESENTATIONS (30/06/09)
(No. B/701) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Third Member for La Caverne & Phoenix) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether in regard to the fringe benefits earned by the Mauritian educators working in Rodrigues, he will state if he has received representations from the Union of Private Secondary Education Employees in relation thereto.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have received representations not only from UPSEE in Mauritius but also from the Secondary School Teachers’ Association of Rodrigues regarding REDCO’s decision to rationalise the conditions of employment of Mauritian educators working in Rodrigues.
I had discussions with representatives of UPSEE on Friday last the 26 June 2009 on this issue and I intend to take up the matter with different parties in Rodrigues in the course of my official visit there which starts as from tomorrow.
The ultimate objective is to find a solution to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I ask the hon. Minister where matters stand with regard to the reverting back of the REDCO to the Ministry of Education as proposed by the former Minister of Education?
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think there is a question of interpretation of what has been decided by the Executive Council of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly. In fact, the latest is that the matter has been referred to the Commission of Education but, as I said, I am going there tomorrow and I am sure that we will be able to find a solution.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: May I ask the hon. Minister what exactly is the issue, what is la pomme de discorde entre le RRA and the teachers?
Dr. Bunwaree: The crux of the matter is that the decision that has been taken seems to affect those educators who have moved to permanent establishment and who have elected domicile in Rodrigues. This is where the problem of interpretation lies. Now, this has to be sorted out because it seems that the Assembly has taken decision for those who have elected domicile in Rodrigues and we are going to look into this matter. We have to define it first and then see who are those people who are going to qualify or not.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: May I take it from the Minister then that Mauritian educators working in Rodrigues who are on a permanent basis and who have not elected domicile in Rodrigues will continue to benefit from the same fringe benefits that they were earning earlier?
Dr. Bunwaree: On certain conditions, because there are many conditions attached. For them it is another category because they can continue on certain conditions, but we are going to thrash out the whole matter tomorrow.
RODRIGUES – MAURITIAN EDUCATORS (24/07/09)
Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Third Member for La Caverne & Phoenix): Mr Speaker, Sir, may I, with your permission, raise an issue which concerns the Minister of Education, and which relates to Mauritian educators working in Rodrigues.
Mr Speaker, Sir, I have been asked by my colleague educators in Rodrigues to raise the issue in Parliament as there are some 70 Mauritian educators working in Rodrigues. They have gone into two categories, those working on contract and those who are on the Establishment and who, in fact, are working after their retirement, etc.
Mr speaker, Sir, since 1989, there were decisions taken by the then Government to ensure that these teachers who are on contract earned disturbance allowances, rental allowances and air tickets for themselves and their families, along with gratuity of above 25% of their monthly salary if they are on contract. Others who are on the Establishment were not earning the gratuity, but were earning the rental allowances and others benefits that I have just mentioned.
However, Mr Speaker, Sir, these fringe benefits are now being questioned by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, and they are stating that these teachers will have to either be taken on the Establishment or be required to return back to Mauritius if they do not accept to be taken upon the Establishment. On the other hand, they are also asking the teachers who are on the Establishment to consider themselves as having elected domicile in Rodrigues.
Mr Speaker, Sir, let me stress upon two points, namely that these career teachers, who have been working for over 20 years in certain cases, have been dedicating themselves for the children of Rodrigues and have spent a long part of their lifetime working there. However, we must also bear in mind that they have forgone lots of opportunities to come and take employment in Mauritius.
It would, therefore, seem to be unfair to request them now to either choose to remain on the Establishment or to come back to Mauritius. If ever they remain on the Establishment, we have also to bear in mind that remaining on the Establishment does not mean that they have elected domicile in Rodrigues. I can well work till my retirement in Rodrigues, but then at the end of my service, I may opt to come back to Mauritius.
We cannot ask a Mauritian to relinquish his right to stay in Mauritius because he is working in Rodrigues. Mr Speaker, Sir, I would therefore, make an urgent appeal to the Minister to look into the matter and ensure that these people are not unfairly dealt with. I do agree that if Rodrigues Regional Assembly wants to take over the matter, they may now come up with new conditions for new recruits.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, Sir.
The Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources (Dr. V. Bunwaree): Mr Speaker, Sir, the point has been raised in the House quite a few times. I have mentioned also that I have met all stakeholders in Rodrigues during my recent visit, about two weeks ago. I am of the opinion that there can be a solution after having listened to all stakeholders and today Cabinet
has taken a decision to appoint a mediator to bring parties together and find a suitable solution to the matter.
Mr S. Soodhun (Fourth Member for La Caverne & Phoenix): Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to raise a very pertinent issue. I am speaking on behalf of the thousands of drivers who are victims of the bad administration of the Traffic Unit of the Police department.
Mr Speaker, Sir, as you may be aware, in the morning it is quite reasonable due to the supervision and I have to pay tribute to one Corporal Reddy and many Police officers around because of all the arrivals of the VVIPs in the city. Problems are more acute also because mostly all the workers and business people go home at this particular time, that is, at 1600 hours and, no doubt, they are in a hurry to reach home.
Mr Speaker, Sir, in order to avoid such disgusting situations, it would be advisable to review the whole function system of the Police Traffic department. Actually the Police officers stop monitoring these following points at about 17.45 hours - in Roches Bois roundabout, Place d’Armes roundabout, St. Jean roundabout, Pont Fer roundabout. It would be most convenient, Sir, if they could continue up to 1900 hours.
Mr Speaker, Sir, also there is a problem of traffic lights. Keeping traffic lights on while traffic is being regulated by Police officers is a source of confusion to the drivers. It should have been better that the traffic lights be left flashing amber so as to attract the attention of the drivers and road users and warn them that, at the material time, traffic is being regulated physically. So,
let me give you an example. Yesterday, at John Kennedy Street between the State Bank building and Rogers House – I was personally there - for half a day there was traffic congestion. Let me tell you what happened. I was just behind and the Top FM radio was there and everybody. There was a guy, who with his lighter, just wanted to put fire in the CNT bus. I went there because my car was just behind. I just asked the guy not to do that.
You are laughing! It would be better that I leave this guy to burn his bus and all that. This is what you want, so you will have it. As a patriot, I don’t like it because I know what will happen. I phoned and informed ACP Taujoo immediately and the guy was prevented from doing so. What I am telling is that today there is a big problem. If we want to avoid this chaotic situation, I make an appeal to the Prime Minister to see to it that we can easily travel through the city especially from 16.00 hours to 19.00 hours.
That is all Mr Speaker, Sir.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities (Dr. R. Beebeejaun): I take good note of what has been said and I will transmit it to the hon. Prime Minister.
Mr R. Bhagwan (First Member for Beau Bassin & Petite Rivière): I have two points.
The first one concerns the Minister of Public Infrastructure. Some time back, on the opening of the Club Méditerranée hotel, a new taxi set up was advertised for that hotel. Ultimately the case went to Court. I have been informed that there has been a judgment and I appeal to the hon. Minister to, at least, ask the NTA to process these applications because the situation at the Club Méditerranée hotel, as far as the taxi operation is concerned, is in a very bad state and can create a lot of social problems. I rely on the Minister.
My second intervention is addressed to the hon. Minister of Health and je me fais le porte-parole des jeunes qui ont suivi le BSc Honours in physiotherapy. I received these young people, about 16 or 20 of them. The courses started in 2002 from what I gathered due to a scarcity of physiotherapists in hospitals. I, myself, follow treatment at the hospital regularly and we all know the good job which is being performed by the staff there, but they are understaffed.
There are queues; lots of people are waiting, mostly old people especially at Souillac hospital, at Jeetoo Hospital and also at Princess Margaret hospital. These young persons who have been following courses at the University of Mauritius were allowed to follow – they call it – their clinical placement at the hospital and finally, after having received their diplomas, there is no job for them. From what I have been witnessing, these young people are frustrated. They neither have jobs in the private sector nor in the Government hospitals where they are told that there is no fund, there is no job created for them whilst they have been following part time courses. They are very efficient I can say. I am appealing to the hon. Minister. When I was Minister, I am aware that there is a scheme which was set up by the then Minister of Finance, hon. Bunwaree, for unemployed graduates. I am appealing to the hon. Minister to, at least, see whether under that scheme these young, who are very good in the field of physiotherapy, can be employed pending they find employment in other sectors, - even some are planning to go abroad - they can be fixed in hospitals to, at least, help the physiotherapists who are working under pressure. Some physiotherapists are even on overseas leave, on leave without pay. My plea to the hon. Minister is to see with the relevant Ministry, with the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Tourism or even with the Minister of Labour and Employment if this scheme could be used to help these young people. With the development of the hotel sector, there are many of these spas which are not done by professionals. From what I have been made to understand, in other tourist resorts outside Mauritius, even in India, they are bound to employ a professional physiotherapist. We all know that these hotels have permits to employ people even from India; from Thailand; if they can be asked to employ these Mauritian physiotherapists. I appeal to the Minister not only to see that there is no vacancy. There are schemes and I ask the Minister where there is a will, there is a way. We have to help these young persons who come from poor families and who have even taken loans to follow these courses.
The Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping (Mr A. Bachoo): Mr Speaker, Sir, I have taken note of the request that the hon. Member has made. I would like to inform him that procedures have already started for the granting of licences and most probably within a month or so, the work will be done.
The Minister of Health and Quality of Life (Dr. R. Jeetah): Mr Speaker, Sir, I am glad to hear that the hon. Member is fully appreciating the services offered by hospitals. I have taken good note. In fact, I must say, Mr Speaker, Sir, I have met with the association of these young university graduates who come out. I have had a discussion with the personnel officer of my Ministry and we are looking into the matter. There would be some posts available, but I would not be in a situation to guarantee a job to everybody. We are doing what we can since we have a large number of patients in the hospitals. I would like to remind the hon. Member that we receive 22,000 patients every single day in Mauritius. We are looking into the matter and we will do the needful.
Mr S. Dayal (Second Member for Quartier Militaire and Moka): Mr Speaker, Sir, there is a serious situation occurring at the District Council of Moka/Flacq which is resulting into waste of public funds and constitutes a danger to the public. In fact, I raised this problem on many occasions. There is a total lack of maintenance of infrastructure under the control of Moka District Council. I am not, of course, going to speak on the whole area, but I am going to limit myself to what is happening in my Constituency.
Let me quote a few examples to give an idea of the total lack of maintenance of infrastructure which costs Government millions of rupees. To start with, the handrail at Bonne Veine, Quartier Militaire, which had been put for the security of pedestrians, is in a state of decay and the handrails put next to a drain and canal have become a danger to the public in general.
DARWIN COLLEGE – STUDENT – SUICIDE (03/08/10)
(No. 1B/385) Mrs A. Perraud (Fourth Member for Port Louis North & Montagne Longue) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether he is aware if any student of the Darwin College is reported to have recently committed suicide and, if so, will he state if his Ministry proposes to conduct an investigation thereinto.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, I am informed by the PSSA that a student of Darwin College did, in fact, attempt to commit suicide on 01 July 2010.
The PSSA which has carried out an investigation into the matter has reported that the Manager of the college has met the mother of the student on 01 July 2010. The latter informed that her daughter had attempted to commit suicide as a result of being bullied by two of her classmates. The Manager immediately carried out an internal inquiry which however revealed that no bullying seems to have been committed on the student by her classmates. According to the Manager, the two students who had been incriminated were called in the presence of the mother and they denied the accusation.
It was also reported that, prior to this incident, the responsible party of the student had never registered any complaint of her daughter being bullied at school and this, since her admission in Form I in January 2007.
Subsequently, the student was absent for a few days from school until she came to take part in the second term examinations as from 08 July 2010 and during that period, she did not show any sign of stress or anxiety.
Nonetheless, the Manager of the college has been requested to closely monitor the situation and keep an eye on that student. He has also been advised to resort to the services of an Educational Psychologist to follow up on the case and to report developments to my Ministry and also ensure that the school maintains an environment which is conducive to learning for all students.
We have also been informed by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life that, during her stay at hospital, that student had been seen by a Medical Specialist, a Psychiatry Consultant, a Medical Social Worker at Flacq Hospital and was also referred to a Psychologist.
Subsequently, she is being followed up in the Outpatient Department of the Flacq Hospital.
PÈRE LAVAL COLLEGE - SAINTE CROIX – FLOODING (05/04/11)
(No. A/53) Mrs L. Ribot (Third Member for Stanley & Rose Hill) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the flooding of the yard of the Père Laval College, at Sainte Croix, during the recent heavy rainfalls, he will state the remedial measures his Ministry proposes to take in relation thereto, if any.
Reply: Following numerous cases of flooding in several schools over the past few years, my Ministry carried out a survey and identified some 20 schools including College Père Laval, which were prone to frequent flooding. This list of schools has been referred to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport & Shipping, which has the responsibility for dealing with such problems, for necessary remedial action.
In regard to the College Père Laval, I am informed that the District Contractor of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport & Shipping will be shortly undertaking digging of trial pits for percolation tests with a view to assessing the absorption capacity of the soil. This will enable the latter Ministry to work out the appropriate remedial action for a proper drainage system to be put in place to prevent flooding.
I wish also to point out that the problem is also due to the fact that the school is situated on a lower level than the surrounding grounds. This would involve works at the level of the school as well as in the surrounding areas with the participation of various stakeholders.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS (PRIVATE) – STUDENTS –
TRAVELLING PASS (19/06/12)
(No. B/346) Mrs A. Navarre-Marie (First Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the private secondary schools, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Private Secondary Schools Authority, information as to the number of students thereof who have not yet been issued with a student traveling pass, since January 2012 to date, indicating the reasons therefor.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS (PRIVATE) - STUDENT TRAVELLING PASS (26/06/12)
(No. B/404) Mrs A. Navarre-Marie (First Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the private secondary schools, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Private Secondary Schools Authority, information as to the number of students thereof who have not yet been issued with a student travelling pass, since January 2012 to date, indicating the reasons therefor.
Reply: Student Identity Cards (commonly known as Student Travelling Passes) are issued to students by the National Transport Authority on a yearly basis and are valid from the month of May of the current year to April of the following year.
I am informed that the majority of our students (that is, 65,473 students) from the Private Secondary Schools have been issued with their Students Identity Cards.
Students who have not been issued their Identity Cards are presumably due to -
(a) non-compliance by schools of the set criteria by the NTA (absence of photo, non payment of fee or late submission); or
(b) due to students either living in the vicinity of the Schools or those using their own means of transport (e.g. contract bus or school van), or
(c) late admissions.
I have requested the PSSA to look into the matter and take appropriate action, to ensure that the students are provided with their ID Cards within the least possible delay.
HAMILTON COLLEGE – ALLEGED PAEDOPHILIA CASE (04/06/13)
(No. B/421) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues whether, in regard to the recent arrest of one Mr A. A., following an alleged case of paedophilia at the Hamilton College, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Commissioner of Police, information as to where matters stand as to the inquiry carried out thereinto, indicating –
(a) if Mr A. A.3, had previously been involved in a sexual offence and, if so, indicate where matters stand as to the inquiry carried out thereinto, and
(b) if the victims are being harassed and, if so, the measures being taken, if any, for the prevention thereof.
MEDCO TRINITY - PSSA – INQUIRY (04/06/13)
(No. B/427) Mrs L. Ribot (Third Member for Stanley & Rose Hill) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the allegation against Mr L. L., of the Medco Trinity for making his students work on school days in his family’s private cleaning business, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Private Secondary Schools Authority, information as to if an inquiry has been carried out thereinto and, if so, indicate the outcome thereof.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, I thank you for allowing me to answer this question now and the hon. Member as well for allowing me to reply to a question at this time.
Mr Speaker, Sir, I am informed by the Private Secondary Schools Authority (PSSA) that representations were made by some students of MEDCO Trinity Secondary School in February and March 2013, to the effect that they were being requested to work, on school days, for a cleaning Company “Klin Tank”, in which Mr. L. L, then Rector of the School, held an interest.
Following meetings held with the students concerned and their parents, MEDCO carried out a preliminary investigation into the allegations of the students at the level of the school and with the Companies Division with regards to the shareholding of “Klin Tank” company.
Explanations were also sought from Mr L. L. on the allegations made.
Following the internal enquiry and unsatisfactory explanations of Mr L. L., the latter was suspended with immediate effect on 12 April 2013.
The PSSA was requested on 18 April 2013 by the Manager of MEDCO Trinity
Secondary School to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Mr L.L. A Memorandum of facts on the complaints was submitted.
In the meantime, another Rector is covering the duties of Mr. L.L. at MEDCO Trinity Secondary School.
Mr Speaker, Sir, I am informed that the PSSA is in the process of setting up a Board of Discipline, in accordance with Regulation 10 of the PSSA (Board of Discipline) Regulations 1988, as amended by GN No. 7 of 1998, to look into the complaints made against Mr L.L. To this effect, the particulars of the charges, as required by the PSSA Regulations, have been drafted and submitted to the Attorney-General’s Office on 2 May 2013. I am further informed that once the particulars of charges would have been vetted by the Attorney General’s Office, my Ministry would make arrangements for the establishment of the Board of Discipline.
This case is being followed up very closely.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Education whether the Ministry of Child Development and the Ministry of Labour have been informed of that abuse on the part of the Rector?
Dr. Bunwaree: I have personally had a word with my colleague, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment and the management of the school has been requested by my Ministry to send the request to the Ministry of Labour because, in fact, it is a question involving child labour.
Mr Obeegadoo: Will the hon. Minister inform the House whether these children are aged below 18 and whether he has received a report from the Ombudsperson for children in that regard?
Dr. Bunwaree: I believe they should be below 18. But I am speaking from what I have heard, because I have not got all the details with me. In any case, I don't have, in the file, any communication from the Ombudsperson. But everything that has to be done will be done, and the way it has been dealt with has been satisfactory up to now.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to ask the hon. Minister when, for the first time, was the Ministry of Education made aware of that incident?
Dr. Bunwaree: Well, in the second half of the month of March.
Mr Speaker: Yes, hon. Obeegadoo!
Mr Obeegadoo: The Minister does not seem to have the ages of the students involved, but to the extent that the disciplinary procedures at the PSSA may last a very long time and that this case may disclose recourse to child labour, has this matter been reported to the Police and if not, why not?
Dr. Bunwaree: Well, the Board of discipline is being set up. We have to wait also because we are un Etat de droit, donc il faut laisser les institutions travailler. But the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment is going to take care of that aspect concerning child labour, and if it has to be sent to the Police in one way or the other it would be done.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether these are not two separate issues - on the one side, we have the abuse of power of the Rector and on the other side, we have child labour - and whether we are not wasting time, waiting for the Board of discipline to be set up? Why not refer the case immediately to the Police?
Dr. Bunwaree: I think it has to be examined by the Ministry of Labour first, which is the Ministry responsible to look into the question of child labour because there are allegations. I, personally, I have gone through part of the file because all the details have not reached me on time. In fact, I have seen certain difficulties here and there, but I must say that according to the information I have, the outcome of the enquiry, the Disciplinary Committee is being set up and further actions will be determined. But, we are doing our best we can to have the Disciplinary Committee set up as quickly as possible, and the question of child labour being looked into by the Ministry of my colleague.
Mr Speaker: Last question!
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, this incident is in breach with the Child Protection Act because child labour is illegal in Mauritius. Can I know from the hon. Minister why we have to wait for the disciplinary Board before sending the matter to the Police?
Dr. Bunwaree: The question is that there are allegations and we feel that there are some truths in it, but it has to be looked into in more details.
We can't blame without enquiry. I am, personally, of the opinion that this Rector has failed in his duties. I am of this opinion. We have to respect the institutions as well.
Mr Speaker: Hon Baloomoody!
Mr Baloomoody: I must say I am very surprised by the way this enquiry is being conducted. The more so that the Minister come and tell us that there is an allegation, according to him, of child labour, but he does not know the age of the student. This would have been the first thing we should have asked. And if he is a child, we should refer the matter to the Police.
There is a criminal offence; we should refer the matter to the Police.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, this is being looked into by the institutions.
The enquiry has taken place. The Rector has been suspended. The case has been referred. I cannot offhand go to the Board of discipline, for example. We have to go, we have to draft the terms of reference, we have to send it to the State Law Office. All this has been done and the matter of child labour
is being looked into at another level. Everything will have to be done according to the outcome of the démarches that we are doing.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Speaker, Sir, the hon. Minister has just stated there is an alleged case of criminal offence which is child labour. Is it not for the Police to enquire into an alleged case of criminal offence?
Dr. Bunwaree: It has to be done, it will be done but then I need to have the advice of other institutions and I am not going to be the one to go to the Police.
There is a board there; they have been informed of everything and they will have to take their responsibilities. Insofar as they have acted, they have gone according to the regulations; they are gone according to the facts that they have obtained. They have set up their enquiry. They have already sent it to where they ought to have sent it. Now the Police will have to look into it at some point in time. If it is confirmed, whatever report I’ll get from the Ministry once we get it we will send it to the Board of MEDCO.
Mr Speaker: Hon. Roopun!
Mr Roopun: In the light of the remarks made by hon. Members from the Opposition, does not the hon. Minister think that he should, as the Minister responsible for this department, take measures and direct whoever is in charge of that institution that the matter should be reported to the Police. Whatever is being done is usurping the role of the Police as an institution to carry out enquiries whenever there is any alleged breach of the law.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, when I got the details of this case, I, myself, found it queer that certain things were not done. This is very recent. I did what I believe had to be done including les démarches à faire pour la police. I have been advised that it will come but before we have to do certain other things. I am going according to advice.
Dr. S. Boolell: Mr Speaker, Sir, may I ask the hon. Minister whether the advice of the State Law Office which offers legal advice to his Ministry has been sought on this matter?
Dr. Bunwaree: I said that the matter has been sent to the State Law Office to look into all the facts that have been raised, but this is more towards the board of discipline. The enquiry is still on by the Board. They are still looking into the matter.
Mrs Ribot: Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether he is aware that Mr L. L. asked those students who came to work for him to lie and not to tell anything to their parents; the very proof that he knows that what he was doing was quite illegal.
Dr. Bunwaree: I have said in the reply that the management of the MEDCO school has received the children together with their parents and they have spoken very freely and, it is on the basis of what they have said that the MEDCO Board has taken the decisions which I have mentioned
Mr Jhugroo: Can the hon. Minister inform the House who took the decision not to refer this case to the Police?
Dr. Bunwaree: There is not a decision taken not to refer. I think the hon. Member is wrong all around. There is no decision taken not to refer the case to the Police, but, according to institutions we have to get more information from the institution concerned which is the Ministry responsible for child labour.
Mr Speaker: Last question!
Mr Obeegadoo: May I, on behalf of the Members of this side of the House, make an appeal to the Minister.
Mr Speaker: Your question!
Mr Obeegadoo: Will the hon. Minister agree to our appeal, therefore - because we are an Etat de droit; because we have learned that this is a very serious matter of an allegation of a criminal offence of child labour and since he does not even have the ages of the children – to look into this issue; ascertain the age of the children and to the extent that there is a serious allegation of child labour to refer this matter for inquiry to the Police immediately irrespective of
administrative procedures for a disciplinary hearing.
Dr. Bunwaree: I have no quarrel with that. I have no quarrel at all with that. What the hon. Member must understand - I have said I don’t have the exact age of the children but I have said that they are children. It is a question of alleged child labour. I have mentioned it myself in the reply. So, don’t come and do as if I do not know that they are children. I said, I have had a word with the Minister responsible. We have given the directives to the school to report the case - I hope it is done – to the Ministry of Labour and Industrial Relations as, according to me; it is an alleged case involving child labour. Now for the Police, of course, it will be done but I have to respect certain information that I have been given. This will be done en temps et lieu et le plus vite possible.
Mr Ganoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, it would seem that the authorities have failed on several counts in this case. Clearly in this matter, these children have been exposed to harm by having been forced to work! Can I ask the hon. Minister then if he does not agree that this is a case where section 11 of the Child Protection applies again when children have been “exposed to harm”; especially when school staff come to know about what occurred, they should have reported the matter to the PS of the Ministry of Child Protection immediately to conduct an enquiry.
Dr. Bunwaree: I have come to know this now. In fact, this is a fact. The Ministry has sent circulars already since last year – January or February - to inform all school teachers, all members of staff and so on to this section of the law, but until now there are some difficulties I have noticed. We have to press on the staff to follow the regulations as they are. I will come and inform the House very soon of the efforts that the Ministry is doing to sensitise teachers because in this case les professeurs sont responsables de ces enfants. Ils doivent savoir et agir en function de la loi. Il me semble que certains professeurs ont effectivement certaines faiblesses et n’arrivent pas à maîtriser cela et à faire ce qu’il faut en temps et lieu. Le ministère fait le maximum pour que cela puisse être généralisé et que les professeurs puissent prendre leur
responsabilité et agir en connaissance.
Mr Speaker: Now, I think this matter has been sufficiently aired. The Table has been advised that PQ B/454 has been withdrawn. So, this is a proper time to break. We suspend for one and a half.
At 1.00 p.m., the sitting was suspended.
On resuming at 2.35 p.m. with Mr Speaker in the Chair.
HAMILTON COLLEGE – ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE (04/06/13)
(No. B/450) Mrs A. Navarre-Marie (First Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the alleged case of sexual abuse on a minor in which a teacher of the Hamilton College, in Mahebourg, is allegedly involved, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Private Secondary Schools Authority, information as to if an inquiry has been carried out thereinto and, if so, the outcome thereof.
Reply: I am informed by the Private Secondary Schools Authority (PSSA) that the Manager of Hamilton College (Girls), Mahebourg has, on 25 May 2013, reported an alleged case of sexual abuse on three minor students, involving Mr A.A., Music teacher, in a bungalow at Blue Bay.
The PSSA carried out an enquiry on the matter.
On 24 May 2013, the Child Development Unit office of Rose-Belle was contacted by Hamilton College regarding a case of indecent act. On the same day, a site visit was conducted by the CDU officers accompanied by the Brigade Pour la Protection des Mineurs and met the Rector and the Manager of the School. The three minors and their responsible parties were convened at the CDU office of Rose-Belle on 25 May 2013. They were interviewed by the
Woman Police Constable in post in the presence of the CDU officer. They were also seen by the Psychologist of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare.
On 28 May 2013, the PSSA made a request to my Ministry to extend psychological support to the students concerned, through the National Educational Counselling Service.
Educational Psychologists thus called on the School on 30 May and also contacted the parents.
Follow up and monitoring will be done by the Educational Social Worker posted to the Zone.
I am further informed that the Police have arrested Mr. A. A on 26 May 2013. On 27 May 2013, a provisional Charge of “causing a child to be sexually abused’ was lodged against him before Grand Port District Court. He has been remanded to police cell.
I wish to inform the House that Mr. A. A had resigned on 20 May 2013 for personal reasons.
My Ministry and the Child Development Unit are providing full psychological support to all the three students as well as to their parents.
The case, being investigated by the Police and the CDU, both my Ministry and the PSSA are monitoring the situation very closely and have requested to be kept informed of the outcome thereof.
HAMILTON COLLEGE – ALLEGED PAEDOPHILIA (18/06/13)
(No. B/493) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues whether, in regard to the recent arrest of one Mr A. A., following an alleged case of paedophilia at the Hamilton College, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Commissioner of Police, information as to where matters stand as to the inquiry carried out thereinto, indicating -
(a) if Mr A. A., had previously been involved in any sexual offence and, if so,
indicate where matters stand as to the inquiry carried out thereinto, and
(b) if the victims are being harassed and, if so, the measures being taken, if any, for their protection.
The Prime Minister: Mr Speaker, Sir, following a statement made on 25 May 2013 at the Blue Bay Police Station by a student aged 11 years, accompanied by her mother and a representative of the Child Development Unit, Police started an inquiry which led to the arrest of Mr. A. A. on the next day, that is, 26 May 2013.
On 27 May 2013, a provisional charge of ‘causing a child to be sexually abused’ was lodged against Mr A. A. before Grand Port District Court and he has been remanded to Police cell. On 10 June 2013, he appeared before the Court and he was remanded to jail until 14 June 2013. On 12 June he appeared in Court following a bail motion which was denied. He appeared in Court again on 14 June 2013 and has been remanded to Police cell up to 20 June 2013.
In regard to part (a) of the question, I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that Mr A. A was involved in two cases of ‘Breach of Information and Communication Technologies Act’ reported in January 2008. Police had started inquiries in both cases. In one case, the Director of Public Prosecutions has advised no further action. Following the withdrawal of the complaint, a warning had been administered to the accused. In the second case, Mr A. A. is
being prosecuted for “using Telecommunication Service to cause annoyance to another person.”
The case has been lodged before the Intermediate Court.
In regard to part (b) of the question, I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that no complaint of harassment has been received from the victims as at to date.
Mr Baloomoody: Can I ask the hon. Prime Minister whether with regard to the two cases of using wireless or telephone, they were linked with obscene phone calls of sexual nature?
The Prime Minister: I have not enquired into what the details of the phone calls were, but the Police are enquiring into that. The first case, as I said, the DPP has reported no further action except a warning and the second case is gone to Court.
Mr Uteem: Mr Speaker, Sir, in the light of these very serious allegations, does the hon. Prime Minister consider it not appropriate that there be a code of conduct for all schools before they recruit any teachers, to do a screening, and ensure that all the teachers recruited do not have any cases of a sexual nature against them?
The Prime Minister: I think the hon. Member is right; that is what should be done.
Mrs Navarre-Marie: Mr Speaker, Sir, in view of the fact that there is nowadays an increasing number of sexual abuses against minors, will the hon. Prime Minister state whether he proposes to set up a registry, a register of persons who had ever been charged of sexual abuse pending a comprehensive Sexual Offences Act?
The Prime Minister: We are thinking of not exactly whether they have been charged, but whether they have been found of being guilty. I think it would be more appropriate, Mr Speaker, Sir, because we have had in past cases where there have been these allegations which were not proven afterwards. So, it would be better, I think, if they have been proven, then to put them on the list.
Dr. S. Boolell: Mr Speaker, Sir, considering the number of sexual assaults on children, would the hon. Prime Minister not be of the view that there should be a time limit for investigations from the Police on these matters and implement a fast track for the cases to be heard in a Court of law because far too often, Mr Speaker, Sir, we have noticed young kids appearing in Court four or five years after the event?
The Prime Minister: It is unfortunate. We have tried to say it, as for the administration of justice, that has been relayed many times to the people concerned, to the Judicial Department, but also to the Police; we have told them. That is why there is a restructuring of the Police going on at the moment.
Mr Speaker: I have to remind hon. Members in asking supplementary questions, they should avoid asking for an expression of opinion.
Mr Ganoo: The hon. Prime Minister has mentioned that in one case a warning was administered to the suspect, Mr A. A. Now, is the hon. Prime Minister aware that, in fact, warnings are administered to accused persons or to suspects on the condition that they should admit their guilt and this is when the DPP decides to administer the warning. In this case, as rightly pointed out by my hon. friends, can the hon. Prime Minister see to it that our law is amended in line with what obtains in the UK so that a thorough screening is done, so that there is due diligence with regard to everybody who applies to work in a school, in a kindergarten, in a place where there are children so that the risks of paedophilia or sexual abuses against kids are addressed? This is the law in the UK! An employee, before he is recruited in a place where children are to be found, a thorough screening must be done on that person. Not only his
previous convictions must be looked into because people may not have previous convictions, but it does not mean that they have never committed any sexual crime as in this case. So, can the hon. Prime Minister liaise with the Attorney General’s Office so that our law is amended as quickly as possible to address this problem?
The Prime Minister: I thank the hon. Leader of the Opposition. In fact, this is
something that we are taking up. But I must tell him that even in the UK, in spite of the screening you get cases of people who were not screened properly.
It happens everywhere. But we have to minimise the risk.
Mr Jhugroo: Can the hon. Prime Minister inform the House whether this person was involved in previous cases of sexual offence?
The Prime Minister: There is no such information here, Mr Speaker, Sir. The
information is that he has been involved in two cases, that I mentioned, which is Breach of Information and Communication Technologies Act. Maybe in the details there might be, but it is not there in my file.
Mrs Hanoomanjee: Can the hon. Prime Minister say whether in cases of paedophilia what measures are being taken so that the victims do not confront the perpetrator directly?
The Prime Minister: This is not directly in the question, but we have started taking steps. There is video recording and all this. I know hon. Baloomoody has mentioned that in some cases, it is not done in all cases, but we will accelerate the procedure.
Mr Speaker: One last question, hon. Dr. Sorefan!
Dr. Sorefan: Mr Speaker, Sir, may I know from the hon. Prime Minister whether this Mr A. A. is the son of the Chairperson of LGSC?
Mr Speaker: No, this is not a proper question! Next question, hon. Bhagwan!
MATTER RAISED (31/03/15)
Mr G. Lesjongard (Second Member for Savanne and Black River): Thank you, Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to raise a specific matter at adjournment time. A specific matter which reads as follows and addressed to the hon. Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research – “The plight of the students following a bachelor degree course in political science at the Lycée Labourdonnais in collaboration with ‘Sciences Po d’Aix en Provence’” This is a very sad and unfortunate matter. Madam Speaker, the Lycée Labourdonnais, since January 2014, has been conducting a degree course leading to a bachelor degree in political science in collaboration with Sciences Po d’Aix en Provence. For came to Mauritius
and made a speech during the launching of that course. I will quote what he said during the launching of that course - the launching of that degree course in 2014, Mr Michel Dumas,chargé des relations Internationales à Sciences Pod’Aix en Provence/Océan Indien-Caraïbes came to Mauritius and made a speech during the launching of that course. I will quote what he said during the launching of that course-«Sciences Po Maurice est maintenant une véritable entité juridique. Elle a été enregistrée et j'en ai pris la direction»
Thus, the three-year degree course is validated after obtention of 180Euro Credit Transfer System and, therefore, the degree is awarded by the Department of Political Studies at the Institute of Political Studies of the University d’Aix en Provence. I would also, Madam Speaker, draw the attention of the House of the existing partnership between the University d’Aix en Provence and the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
It was also stated at the time that a Masters course will be offered in due course. The educational requirements for such a course is the baccalauréat, the HSC and the GCE Advanced level. Admissions were considered after study and approval of a dossier submitted to the Commission. MrDumas also stated the following in his speech –«Cette formation supérieure est une réelle opportunité pour les élèvesmauriciens des lycées français et des écoles internationales pour offrir une formationaux cadres professionnels et cadres supérieures.»
On that day, le Proviseur du Lycée Labourdonnaisalso took the floor and stated the following– «Nous voulonsqu’une information sérieuse soit passée alors que les étudiants mauriciens se présentent actuellement aux examens de fin d’étudessecondaires afin qu’ils puissent se positionner en vue des études tertiaires.
Après soixante ans d’expérience en matière d’éducation primaire et secondaire nous élargissons notre offre de formation. Nous allons au-delà dubaccalauréat et nous offrons une filière d’enseignement supérieur. Ce n’est pas un diplôme du LycéeLabourdonnais mais un diplôme estampilléIEP d’Aix en Provence etune carte d’Aix en Provence assortie de tous les avantages de ceux ayant un statutd’étudiant d’Aix en Provence.
Ainsi que pour les bacheliers de l’océan Indien. Elle va leur permettredepoursuivre leurs études dans une grande école, reconnue internationalement tout enrestant pour la majoritéd’entre eux dans leur pays. En délocalisant un établissementd’enseignement supérieur à Maurice, au LycéeLabourdonnais, établissement conventionné avec l’Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger l’excellence du système éducatif français à l’étranger s’en trouve renforcée. »
Et il ajouta ce jour là- « Nous ne sommes pas là pour faire du business uniquement.
Nous sommes là pour durer dans le temps. Nous voulons participer au développement de l’enseignement à Maurice avec des diplômes français. Nous disposons désormais d’un dispositif à travers la MCCI Business School »
Madame la présidente, déjà une année de cela il y avait des rumeurs qui circulaient sur la possibilité d’arrêter ce cours. Mais les élèves furent rassurés par le proviseur du Lycée Labourdonnais. Les élèves terminèrent donc leur deuxième année et poursuivirent un stage de formation de trois mois. Le 17 mars 2015, les élèves furent convoqués par le proviseur du Lycée. Le 24 mars, les parents et les élèves de la deuxième année ont rencontré le proviseur.
Hier, ils ont eu une session de video conférence avec le directeur de Sciences Po d’Aix en Provence, M. Franck Biglione qui a été nommé à ce poste après le départ de M. Dumas en décembre 2014. Voilà le contenu de cette discussion.
« Le Bachelor Science Politique, objet de la convention signée entre le Lycée Labourdonnais et IEP d’Aix en Provenance n’a pas d’existence légale car il n’a jamais été validé par le conseil d’administration de Science Po d’Aix en Provence. Ce qui implique l’attestation de scolarité de première année du Bachelor d’étude politique stipulant la validation de 60 CTS délivrés aux étudiants sur entête officiel de Sciences Po et signés par le Directeur et présentant le tampon de l’IEP n’a aucune valeur. Les élèves de deuxième année ne se verront décerner aucun crédit alors qu’initialement ils en devaient obtenir 60 pendant la première année. Pour intégrer maintenant un autre cursus universitaire, nos jeunes étudiants doivent justifier de l’obtention de ces crédits. »
Maintenant ils demandent à ces élèves d’aller se fair inscrire ailleurs. Mais, malheureusement, les inscriptions post-bac France sont terminées. Cette piste est, donc, à exclure pour la réorientation de ces enfants. L’IEP d’Aix-en-Provence propose de remplacer le Bachelor en sciences politiques par une Licence d’administration publique.
Cette Licence propose des débouchés professionnels visant les concours administratifs. Cette Licence est un diplôme français. Malheureusement, des étudiants de nationalité mauricienne ne pourront en aucun cas utiliser cette Licence en dehors du territoire français. Il fraudrait souligner que le coût de cette Licence réalisée en France est compris entre 350 et 500 euros par an, ce qui ne correspond pas avec les 4,000 à 5,000 euros par an versés au Lycée La Bourdonnais depuis deux ans. Si tel est le cas, le gouvernement mauricien devra aussi certainement valider cette formation, ce qui risque de prendre énormement de temps puisqu’il n’est pas encore au courant de cette information. Ce qui est plus difficile à accepter pour ces étudiants, c’est que maintenant l’IEP d’Aix-en-Provence leur demande de se faire enregistrer sous un autre statut. Ces étudiants ne veulent pas se faire enregistrer sous ce statut, parce qu’en France ce sont les seniors qui se font enregistrer sous ce statut-là. Conclusion, Madame la présidente, le Bachelor d’études politiques vendu à ces enfants mauriciens a été annoncé en grande pompe dans la presse locale, que ce soit par l’ambassadeur de France à Maurice, que ce soit par le proviseur du Lycée La Bourdonnais, que ce soit par le représentant de l’Université d’Aix-en-Provence.
Madame le présidente, des communications ont été envoyées par ces parents à Madame Lagarde, présidente du conseil d’administration de Sciences Po et présidente du FMI, et aussi à Madame Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, actuelle ministre de l’Education nationale française. Ce qu’il faudrait savoir c’est que ces parents estiment que c’est une escroquerie. Ils se sont fait avoir depuis deux ans, et leurs enfants malheureusement, maintenant, ne savent plus quoi faire, aussi bien que les parents.
I have raised this issue because we are talking of Mauritius as a knowledge-hub. I think, yesterday, the hon. Minister was with representatives from universities from France. I think we should look into this issue seriously and try to find a very rapid solution.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
The Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research (Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun): Madam Speaker, this matter has been reported to my Ministry, and I have requested the Tertiary Education Commission to conduct an exercise and to initiate appropriate action.
I am informed by the TEC that the situation is as follows - this has already been stated by the hon. Member of the Opposition, but I will still mention a few points.
The Bachelier d’études en sciences politiques was a programme awarded by the Institut d’études politiques of the Université d’Aix-en-Provence, Grandes Ecoles, in France. The programme is run and managed in Mauritius by the Lycée La Bourdonnais, which is registered with the Tertiary Education Commission as a post-secondary education provider.
The programme of Bachelor d’études en sciences politiques is awarded by the IEP. There are currently 15 students enrolled on the programme, of which seven are in the second year and eight in the first year. On 19 February 2015, the proviseur of Lycée La Bourdonnais, Mr Marc Haradji, was informed by IEP of Aix-en-Provence that the Bachelor d’études en sciences politiques would no longer be offered or awarded by IEP of the University of Aix-en-Provence.
Instead of the Bachelor d’études en sciences politiques, the IEP has offered to allow students to complete a programme leading to a Licence d’administration publique. This was suggested from the IEP in a correspondence to Mr Haradji, the proviseur of Lycée La Bourdonnais in a letter dated 19 February 2015.
Madam Speaker, my Ministry views this situation with concern given that there has been a departure from the ethical commitment taken by an institution vis-à-vis its students population.
Furthermore, the institution did not deem it fit even to secure the approval of TEC for this change in proposition for the new programme entitled “Licence d’administration publique”. It is also unfortunate that the Lycée La Bourdonnais has conveyed the information of the programmatic change to the parents and students only orally and that this decision for a change in course structure and contents has been taken without prior consultations with the parents, the students and even the Tertiary Education Commission.
Following representations made by parents, the Lycée La Bourdonnais organised a video conference yesterday, as stated by the hon. Member, with the course providers so as to elucidate matters and respond to the queries of parties concerned. Further to discussions I have had with the French Ambassador yesterday, I am given to understand that the matter has been taken up with l’Université d’Aix-en-Provence which has, however, indicated that it is not in a position to continue the Bachelor d’édudes en sciences politiques programme for technical reasons. It is maintaining its proposal to allow students after completion of the first two years to follow Licence d’administration publique to be delivered by Aix-Marseille. The proposal to reimburse the students concerned as well as compensate them for moral prejudice caused is also being considered. My Ministry is following this matter very closely and has directed the Tertiary Education Commission to engage with the Lycée La Bourdonnais in the exploration of all other options with the view of coming up with satisfactory provisions for the aggrieved parents and students. We are also asking TEC to be more vigilant before issuing permits to foreign institutions willing to collaborate with Mauritian institutions in the provision of higher education.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
At 8.07 p.m. the Assembly was, on its rising, adjourned to Wednesday 01 April 2015 at 11.30 a.m.
PRIMARY & SECONDARY SCHOOLS (PRIVATE) (19/07/16)
(No. B/777) Mr O. 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 private paying new primary and secondary schools, she will, for the benefit of the House, obtain information as to the number thereof registered zone-wise since 2015 to date, in each case.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, registration of private fee-paying primary schools is carried out by my Ministry whereas the private fee-paying secondary schools are registered by the Private Secondary Schools Authority.
There are a total of 70 private fee-paying schools that are registered as follows –
• 46 private fee-paying primary schools, out which only one new school was registered in 2016, and
• 24 private fee-paying secondary schools, out of which 2 were registered in 2015 and 2 newly registered in 2016.
I am tabling the list of registered schools zone-wise.
Mr Mahomed: Madam Speaker, may we know the cost of registration for primary and secondary schools and are there any yearly or monthly charges for them to be run in the country?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: In fact, I don’t think there are any charges or costs for registration. At least, I am not aware of this. I will check and let the hon. Member know later on, but I don’t really think that there are charges.
Madam Speaker: Next question!
BLACK RIVER – ST ESPRIT COLLEGE - ACCESS ROAD (16/05/17)
Mr A. Ganoo (First Member for Savanne & Black River): Je voudrais soulever une question qui concerne le ministre des Infrastructures publiques, l’honorable Bodha. C’est une question concernant la sécurité des élèves, des professeurs, des parents et le public en général à Rivière Noire.
A Rivière Noire, la route principale qui avoisine le collège du Saint Esprit à Rivière Noire, cette route a été refaite l’année dernière. Les travaux ont duré plusieurs mois et il existe un accès du collège de Saint Esprit qui débouche sur la route principale de Rivière Noire. Donc, les voitures, les élèves, les parents, qui ont à traverser la route royale de Rivière Noire, sont exposés à un grave danger, en sortant de cet accès qui dessert le collège du Saint Esprit, donc, un grave danger.
Je fais un appel pressant à l’honorable ministre des Infrastructures publiques de se pencher sur ce dossier afin de trouver une solution. Je suis sûr que la PTA ou les parents ont déjà fait des représentations. Donc, s’ils ne l’ont pas fait jusqu’ici, je suis sûr que mon collègue, l’honorable Ezra Jhuboo et moi-même, nous avons été avertis de ce problème et nous faisons, donc, un appel pressant auprès du ministre afin de voir ce problème.
The Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport (Mr N. Bodha): Madame la présidente, je prends note et je vais demander à la TMRSU de faire une visite sur le site, peut-être avec mes deux collègues, et trouver une solution le plus vite possible.
VICTORIA COLLEGE – CLOSURE (27/03/18)
(No. B/55) 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 Victoria College, in Rose Hill, she will state if, following the closure thereof the (a) parents of the redeployed students will be reimbursed for the additional costs of buying new books and (b) Manager and owner thereof will be compensated.
Reply: With regard to part (a) of the question, I am informed that the Board of the PSEA has, on 06 February 2018, approved that the responsible parties of students of Victoria College would be reimbursed any additional expenditure they might have to incur on transfer of their wards, particularly in so far as new uniforms, badges, books, PTA fees, NTA cards and other miscellaneous costs are concerned; and accordingly, needful is being done.
As far as part (b) of the question is concerned, compensation is normally payable to grant aided private secondary schools which have been subject to stoppage of grants due to their school population having fallen below the threshold figure.
However I have been informed by the PSEA that the registration of Victoria College has been cancelled in accordance with sections 10 and 11 of the Education Act, on the grounds that the school premises are structurally unsuitable and constitute a danger to students and staff.
I further wish to inform the House that the Manager has, on 27 February 2018, lodged an appeal against the decision of the PSEA to cancel the registration of the College. An Appeals Tribunal has consequently been set up by the Ministry in accordance with section 25 of the Education Act.