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

Secondary Reforms


SECONDARY REFORMS
YEAR 2010
EDUCATIONAL REFORMS – FORM III – NATIONAL EXAMINATIONS (23/03/10)
(No. B/40) 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 proposed education reform, he will state if national examinations will be introduced at Form III level and, if so, when.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, in the context of the ongoing educational reforms and as per the Education and Human Resources Strategy Plan 2008-2020, a recommendation has been made for the introduction of a formal assessment at Form III level. Initially, the proposal was for the assessment to take place at Form IV. However, further to consultations with
stakeholders, there was unanimity, I must say, in having this examination held at Form III. This has a two-fold purpose -
(i) it will help towards the evaluation of competencies acquired by students and
identification of areas of further learning more attuned to their aptitudes and
inclinations, and
(ii) sustain a culture of achievement and commitment towards learning right from an early age.
It is proposed to carry out, this year, a simulation of the National examinations at Form III level for core subjects in the curriculum being currently followed. This simulation exercise will help students and teachers to be familiar with the new mode of assessment. The students will sit for the examinations in their respective schools. A standardised syllabus for each core
subject will be considered, taking into consideration the different levels of schools. The papers will be set by the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate.
My Ministry has already started working on the technical modalities in collaboration with the MES, MIE and PSSA. Discussions would soon be held with the Federation of Unions of Managers of Private Secondary Schools to work on the operational aspects of this major reform.
Mr Speaker, Sir, we want this examination to be fully embedded in the system prior to it culminating in a National Certificate of Achievement, wherein the level attained in the core competencies will be stated and the achievement of the student will be recognised.
Mr Dayal: Mr Speaker, Sir, is the hon. Minister aware that his policy of educational reform, as proposed, does not carry unanimity of the educational stakeholders, including parents and teachers?
Dr. Bunwaree: I am not aware of this, Mr Speaker, Sir.
Mr Dayal: Is the hon. Minister satisfied that the reform he proposes to make will respond to our economic requirement for the decades to come?
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, this question is specifically on the examination of Form III. It is a very minute part of the reform.
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister can just ask the hon. Member to come with a substantive question because he needs notice thereof.
Dr. Bunwaree: Yes. This is what I was going to say.
Mr Dayal: Educational reform.
The Deputy Speaker: The question is specific, and the hon. Minister states that he needs notice thereof.
Mr Gunness: Mr Speaker, Sir, since the hon. Minister said that there will be a simulation in all schools this year - and I presume it will be at the end of the year - can I know if this simulation exercise will be the result which the schools will take into consideration for promotion exercise in Form IV or there will be another exam as is the case every year in every school?
Dr. Bunwaree: For this year, it will just replace the examination. We won’t have one examination for the school and this examination. So, this examination will be as if it was the school examination. But it’s only a simulation.

YEAR 2013

 

REFORMS

 

NINE-YEAR SCHOOLING – TRANSITION MECHANISM (17/12/13)

 

(No. B/957) Mrs L. Ribot (Third Member for Stanley & Rose Hill) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the Nine Year Schooling, he will give details of the mechanism put in place for the transition of the students from Year 6 to Year 7.

 

Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, in my reply to the PNQ of 16 November 2013 regarding the phasing out of the CPE examinations and the announcement made in the 2014 Budget Speech about the Nine-Year Schooling, I elaborated on the policy objectives underlying this reform measure and stressed that our aim is to build up a Nine-Year Schooling system which provides for the holistic development of our children and render their learning experience more enjoyable and enriching by providing them the opportunities to evolve, develop and learn as a homogeneous cohort during the nine-year basic education cycle.

 

Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, at a Press Conference I held on 18 November 2013 I again pointed out that the new system will have the following stages –

(i) Childhood care and education – 3 and 4 years

(ii) Basic schooling – 5 to 14 years, and

(iii) Post nine year schooling – 14 to 18 years

 

Presently, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, basic schooling comprises only six years, that is, at primary level.

 

At the end of the sixth year in the proposed new system, the pupils will still be assessed by way of an examination. It will not be a competitive examination as the CPE, but it will assess the general and range competencies acquired after six years of basic schooling which have been enjoyable and enriching for the child.

 

As I have explained, elsewhere, the new system will require a comprehensive school mapping exercise with well-defined and objective criteria, (e.g. proximity of school to the residence of the pupil, parental choice, etc). Transparency will be ensured for acceptability amongst stakeholders, mainly parents. A team is working on the school mapping exercise which involves examination of the geographical distribution of school, the school population in a particular locality, and a number of other related parameters.

 

A mechanism is being worked out, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, by the High Level Committee chaired by the Acting Senior Chief Executive of my Ministry, for the smooth transition of pupils at the end of Year 6 to Year 7. For this, options are being considered for formulation. The High-Level Committee is working in close collaboration with the team dealing with the mapping exercise.

 

The High Level Committee has met three times and is pursuing its work. Once the modus operandi has been formulated, other members including representatives of trade unions, NGOs and other organisations which can contribute, will be co-opted for finalisation. I also welcome, of course, all proposals including those from Members of this House.

 

Once all the implications have been studied and consultations held with all stakeholders, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, and the modus operandi agreed upon, the House will be informed accordingly.

 

Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to know from the hon. Minister where the Years 7 to 9 will take place in that reform plan. Will it be in the actual primary school, or will it be in the secondary colleges? The second part of my question is: will all secondary colleges admit Year 7 students?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: With regard to the first part of the question, I think I have already mentioned - if not here, elsewhere - that the nine-year basic schooling will include six years, as it is, in a primary schooling environment, and three years of secondary education in a secondary school. But it will be the continuation of what is happening in the primary, of course, with the opening of the curriculum base; almost all schools. This is the mapping exercise being carried out. At the end of this mapping exercise, we will be able to know. Even now, without the new system - as it is and as it has been in the past few years - private colleges are being looked into.

 

Some are being closed down, because they are not satisfying the criteria. So, all this will be looked into and be taken care of. My aim is not to allow schools doing well to close down.

 

Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I heard the hon. Minister say that almost all schools will admit students at secondary level. My question is: will the existing national colleges be enrolling/admitting students on a regional basis?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: Yes. I have already answered the comment that the hon. Member just raised. I said that, presently, there are some schools being closed down; mostly private schools.

 

Regarding the national colleges, I cannot enter into the details now. In fact, this is the work that is being done by the High-Level Committee. I will ask hon. Members to be patient. But we are going fairly quickly on that. I believe, before the end of the first term next year, everything would be sorted out.

 

Mrs Labelle: The hon. Minister has announced, on several occasions, that the nine-year schooling will be introduced in 2015. Can he confirm that the CPE cohort of 2014 will be the first cohort of the nine-year schooling; it will be the first group of students who will face this transition into nine-year schooling? I am talking about the 2014 CPE cohort. Next year is 2014.

 

So, those kids who will be taking the CPE Exams in October 2014 will the first group who will have to go into this transition of nine-year schooling.

 

Dr. Bunwaree: We will see how the discussions and consultations evolve, and at what speed they progress. What I have said in the House is that, in 2014, next year, we will have the CPE Exams which will be the last, if the hon. Members have understood me well. Now, how to start and where to start, in 2015, it will be the last. This is the answer I gave to the hon. Leader of the Opposition. If we can start earlier, we will start earlier.

 

Mr Uteem: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Minister has mentioned that there would be a new school; 14 to 18. May I know from the hon. Minister, in order to get admission to that post nine-year schooling, what would be the criteria used, and whether we will still have the old formula of star schools?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: We will certainly not have the formula of star schools. This is what we are trying to do away with. After the ninth year, there will be the equivalent of Form IV presently. So, there will be a new system. In fact, that is why I don’t want to go into the details, because the High-Powered Committee is working on that. But, in our mind, the choice of colleges will come at that age, not at the age of 11 years, as it is now.

 

Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, maybe I am going to repeat myself. The only concern of Mauritian parents nowadays is how their child will be admitted in a secondary school.

 

Any plan of reform is going to rest on that matter. My question is a very straightforward one.

 

Will, for example, Queen Elizabeth College and the Royal Colleges going to admit Year 7 students in 2015?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: I have told the House that we will have to wait for the outcome of this High-Level Committee, which is working on that. It is very clear. I also mentioned, I think, in one of the replies I gave to the hon. Leader of the Opposition in a PNQ, that our aim is that, at the end of the ninth year, when those students will have to go to what we can call High School or Upper Secondary, then, there will be the possibility for children to choose. But that choice will not take place at the age of 11 years.

Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I heard the hon. Minister saying that if ever they come up with the scheme or the proposal earlier, he will start off the new scheme earlier. Wouldn’t the hon. Minister think that we should be showing more consideration to the students starting the year next year, so that they may know which scheme they are going to adopt, and how they are going to be admitted in the next year? So, instead of saying that we can change the system in the year if we come up with the result earlier, I think we should have a more planned approach, and let students know well before what scheme will apply to them.

 

Dr. Bunwaree: This is why we have given the date of 2015. But if it has to come earlier and children are not prepared, of course, we are not going to do that. That explains the time limit we have given.

 

Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, parents and pupils are in the dark, because they do not know - particularly those who are taking the exams this year - how they are going to continue their studies after the present Year 6. The children will not stay in their actual schools. They will have to go somewhere else. Where will these kids go and how these kids will go are the

main concern of the parents. A committee is working. I don’t think I have heard the Minister say how the kids are going to do the seventh year and when. Will it be as from 2015, as being stated on several occasions? Up to now, we don’t know whether it will be as from 2015.

 

Dr. Bunwaree: It is clear. If I could reply to the hon. Member what is going to happen exactly, there would have been no need for a committee to work on that. The committee is working on that - and I have said in my reply – and they are studying the options; there are two or three options. We have already mentioned that it is not going to take place in primary schools, but that those three years will take place in secondary schools. So, we have to wait for this. I

have also mentioned just now, unless the hon. Member has not listened carefully to what I have said, that I am expecting, by the end of the first term, the committee would have done its work, and then we are going to open it to other stakeholders for discussion.

 

Mrs Ribot: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, must we understand from the hon. Minister that the announcement of the reform has been done well before any decision has been taken? Everything has been announced in public to parents and students and now we learn that we have to wait for the outcome of the High- Powered Committee to know what is going to happen to those students

who are already in Standard V and who are going to take the CPE exams next year, and we cannot get any answer to our question! I would like to know from the hon. Minister whether he believes that this is the proper procedure.

 

Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have had the opportunity to inform this House that it has been discussed and ventilated before the Budget at the level of the Assises de l’Education. It is most unfortunate that some people – I am not talking of hon. Members – what I hear here and there – who seem to be criticising are those people who, despite having been invited, have not come forward at the level of these Assises. There are only a few of them.

 

This has been discussed at the level of the Assises and it is after that, that we have taken the matter at the level of the Budget proposals. Now that Cabinet has looked into it and it has been decided, so we are working accordingly.

 

Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I heard the Minister say that it is better to push the competition to the 9th year rather than to have it at the 6th year. Can I ask the hon. Minister what assurance he can give to the House that the examination and the admission to 7th class would not be based on competition. Since in one zone – I am just taking one zone in Curepipe, for example - you have got the Royal College Curepipe, the St. Joseph College, the

Presidency College, the Mauritius College, the Curepipe College, the Imperial College, on which basis would a student in Standard V, today, know in which one of these colleges he will be admitted to, since it has been mentioned that there would be no competition at all?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would not like to be nasty but, I have never mentioned that the competition is going to be postponed. I never mentioned that! I said it is only when the child reaches the post 9th year that the child will be able to choose. But, there are so many ways of choosing. In fact, we have already mentioned and I think even the Budget has made the proposal of specialising schools. So, there are many things that are going to come forward afterwards. I will ask the hon. Members to be patient. I quite agree with them that we should not do things in such a way that we create some tension in the minds of parents or children. I am following that very closely. We have started explaining but, as soon as I get the information from this High Level Committee, of course, the ideas that come out there and the proposals that will be made will be ventilated fully.

 

Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Minister has mentioned that the matter has been discussed before being announced. May this House be made aware of what has been discussed and what has been the basic conclusion? It has been discussed and I think that after discussions some conclusions have been reached, particularly regarding how these kids will do their 7th year. So, may we be enlightened on some basic conclusion that the discussion has come

to?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: Yes. In fact, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, this also I have already said to this House and outside. It is the trend worldwide. In fact, it will certainly appear as one of the parameters that are going to be set down by the UN in its post 2015 EFA goals. This is going to come! It is for all countries in the world. All countries are following the same trend. I would like to correct one misconception or misunderstanding in that when we speak of nine-year schooling we are talking of the basic schooling. I don’t want to reply to those people who seem to be airing that it is for nine years only and the students are going to go to school and after that, fini, terminé! Ce n’est pas du tout cela. It is the basic schooling of six years primary which exists today that is going to be transformed into the nine-year basic schooling. After those nine years,

there will be so many avenues for these children.

 

In fact, there will be in our plan, polytechnics for those who are in the pre-voc system today. The pre-voc system is going to be done away with. So, there is a whole panoply of possibilities that is going to lie ahead of us. But, we cannot in the lapse of time that the hon. Members give me, in a few minutes here, be able to give them all the details. As and when ...

 

(Interruptions)

 

The House will be informed and the country also.

 

Dr. S. Boolell: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to ask the hon. Minister for the benefit of the parents, shall years 7, 8 and 9 be coeducational?

 

Dr. Buwaree: Definitely, yes! I have said that! It is the continuation of what is

happening in primary.

 

Mr Baloomoody: If I may ask the hon. Minister a simple question following what hon. Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun has said, may we know what will be the criteria to move the students from the primary schools to the secondary schools and how the students will be selected to each of the secondary school like, in the example given, at Curepipe? It is a simple question!

 

Dr. Bunwaree: There is not a question of selection, it is going to be an automatic continuation; but then, how we will do it, ...

 

(Interruptions)

 

...this is well, the modus operandi I mentioned and we have to wait. We have two or three options.

 

The Deputy Speaker: Last question, hon. Mrs Ribot!

 

Mrs Ribot: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir. I am going to repeat the same question.

 

The question is very simple: if I have six....

 

(Interruptions)

The Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. Member expect a different reply this time?

 

(Interruptions)

 

Mrs Ribot: Let us be optimistic! Okay!

(Interruptions)

 

If we have six colleges in a region, we are not going to call it admission, maybe. We are not going to call it selection, maybe. Let us call it transfer…

 

(Interruptions)

 

Continuation! What are the criteria that are going to define which child from a primary school is going to “continue” his studies in which of these six secondary schools in that region? I fear my question is very simple!

 

Dr. Bunwaree: In my reply I have said there is a question of proximity of school to the residence, there is parental choice...

 

(Interruptions)

 

There is the sixth standard examination. All these are going to be within the criteria.

 

(Interruptions)

 

The Deputy Speaker: Next question, hon. Ameer Meea!

 

(Interruptions)

 

Order, please!

 

 

YEAR 2014

 

 

NINE YEAR SCHOOLING - INTRODUCTION  (08/04/14)

 

(No. B/138) Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe and Midlands) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the proposed introduction of continuous Nine Year Schooling, he will state the –  (a) proposed calendar for the implementation thereof 

    (b) rate envisaged for the Certificate of Primary Education Examinations and

    (c) chosen mode of admission of the students to Year 7 and secondary schooling.

 

(Withdrawn)

 

 


SECONDARY SCHOOLS (PUBLIC) - COEDUCATION (08/04/14)

 

(No. B/123) Ms S. Anquetil (Fourth Member for Vacoas & Floréal) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to coeducation, he will state if consideration will be given for the introduction thereof in the public secondary schools and, if so, when and, if not, why not.

Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the hon. Member for this question. I am sure it is a question which interests everybody.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir, promotion of coeducation forms part of the educational reforms which are currently being undertaken at the level of my Ministry. Currently, pre-primary and primary schools, post-secondary institutions and universities are already on coeducational mode. It is essentially in the secondary sector that we have a mix of single sex and coeducation schools.

 

Among the secondary schools, many private secondary schools, including BEC schools and some State Secondary Schools are coeducational.

 

Of the 155 state and private-aided schools in the Republic of Mauritius, 107 of them are single-sex schools, and the remaining 48 are coeducational schools. Nearly 50% of the private-aided schools are coeducational schools. In Rodrigues, all the six colleges are mixed schools. This system, Mr Speaker, Sir, has proved its worth over the years. Most education systems worldwide have a mix of coeducation mode and single-sex schooling.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir, coeducation system of education assumes a critical importance, especially in the context of the proposal to implement the nine-year schooling, which provides for a smooth transition of a given cohort of primary school students to the secondary level, the more so that these students have developed in a co-ed environment for six years during primary schooling.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir, due consideration is being given to extending coeducation to all secondary institutions, especially in the context of the nine-year schooling system. However, private secondary schools, especially faith-based ones, would be given the option to continue to operate as a single-sex school, if they so wish, although we note - and it is interesting - that lately four confessional schools have adopted the coeducation mode.

 

It is understood, Mr Speaker, Sir, that the educational infrastructure and facilities will have to be adapted, and will be adapted to meet the requirement of the coeducation mode. This new orientation will be proposed, of course, in close collaboration with all stakeholders and the civil society.

 

Ms Anquetil: Being given that coeducation offers many advantages and prepares students for the professional world, la mixité au secondaire peut aussi diminuer la violence dans les écoles et permettre aussi peut-être aux filles de fréquenter des écoles plus rapprochées, est-ce que le ministre peut indiquer à la Chambre s’il serait en faveur d’introduire un projet pilote dans une de ces SSS?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: Sans aucun problème. In fact, I said that the Ministry is working and going in that direction. Je dois ajouter à ce que vient de dire l’honorable membre sur la proximité, parce que parfois quand il y a des écoles réservées aux garçons ou aux filles, soit les garçons ou les filles, dans certains cas, selon l’emplacement des écoles, doivent voyager loin pour aller à l’école. Tandis que si c’était mixte, il y aurait eu beaucoup plus de facilités. En plus d’autres avantages qu’elle a mentionnés, comme je viens de le dire tout à l’heure, à Rodrigues il y a six collèges, et les six collèges sont mixtes. Le fait impressionnant à Rodrigues est que la discordance entre le taux de réussite entre garçons et filles est pratiquement nulle. Ils sont presque à égalité, tandis qu’à Maurice il y a une différence de 8% à 10 % dans les résultats de réussite pour le School Certificate et le Higher School Certificate. Ce qui est frappant !

 

Donc, c’est un autre avantage probablement. On est en train de travailler. Il y a des études qui se font là-dessus, pour voir si dans la mixité il y a peut-être l’amélioration de ce niveau. On est tout à fait ouvert, et on est en train de travailler. J’ai l’impression qu’au niveau de la Chambre - parce que ce point a aussi été mentionné ici avant - tout le monde est un peu d’accord avec cela, et il n’est pas impossible qu’on vienne avec un projet pilote à la fin de l’année.

 

Ms Anquetil: M. le président, les débats sur la mixité scolaire restent encore aujourd’hui bien présents et dynamiques. Est- ce que le ministre pourrait indiquer à la Chambre pourquoi la mixité au secondaire n’était pas à l’agenda pendant les Assises sur l’éducation en octobre dernier ?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: Ce n’est pas qu’elle n’était pas à l’agenda, mais cela faisait partie du nine-year schooling. Le nine-year schooling était à l’agenda, et je l’ai dit ici déjà que c’est pratiquement obligatoire. Je crois qu’une question avait été posée par un membre de l’opposition, et j’avais répondu carrément que, dans le nine-year schooling, au cours des trois premières années du secondaire, years 7, 8 and 9, cela va être mixed schools.

 

Mr Obeegadoo: Mr Speaker, Sir, one cannot but welcome commitment to coeducation. But is the Minister aware that, up until year 2000, only the MGI and a couple of pre-vocational departments here and there had coeducation? Is he aware that it was the MSM-MMM, through the Mahatma Gandhi Secondary Schools in Flacq, Nouvelle France, Solferino, and the Rabindranath Tagore Institute in Ilot, and La Gaulette SSS, down West, that allowed for this MGI success story in coeducation to be disseminated?

 

So, will the Minister tell the House, therefore, if this House is to take him seriously, especially as hon. Ms Anquetil has said, it was not even mentioned at the Assises de l’éducation - if hon. Mrs Bappoo will allow the hon. Minister to listen - what exactly…

 

(Interruptions)

 

… he proposes to do, how and when?

 

Dr. Bunwaree: Well, I have to repeat that it was mentioned in the course of nine-year schooling. It is the basics of nine-year schooling. As I said, nine-year schooling est la continuité, le même groupe, la même cohorte qui monte.

Comme en sixième, ils sont garçons et filles ensemble, en Forme I, II, III, ils le seront aussi. C’est ce que les personnes ne comprennent pas. C’est dommage ! Mais c’est comme ça! It was part of the Assises, and it is part of the project of the Ministry.

 

There is a question on nine-year schooling. But, as I have said, I can already pre-empt, and I have to mention that we are on target on our programme. There is a high-level committee that is going to debate what has already been prepared as a report by the core group. As I had promised, that core group was supposed to give me their conclusions at the end of the first term, which they have already done. So, we are moving to the next step.

 

Mr Speaker: Next question hon. Mrs Ribot!

 

 

NINE YEAR CONTINUOUS BASIC EDUCATION PROJECT – IMPLEMENTATION (08/09/15)

 

 
(No. B/466) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Science Research whether, in regard to the proposed implementation of the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education Project, she will state how her Ministry is proposing to respond to the public concerns that -
(a) it will lead to the introduction of an additional competitive high stake examination at the end of Year 9, and
(b) the introduction of mixed schooling in existing single sex schools, to be renamed Academies, in Year 10, may result in serious management issues.
 

 

(Withdrawn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NINE YEAR CONTINUOUS BASIC EDUCATION PROJECT – IMPLEMENTATION (22/09/15)

 

 
(No. B/549) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the hon. Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Science Research whether, in regard to the proposed implementation of the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education Project, she will state how her Ministry is proposing to respond to the public concerns that -
 
(a) it will lead to the introduction of an additional competitive high stake examination at the end of Year 9, and
 
(b) the introduction of mixed schooling in existing single sex schools, to be renamed Academies, in Year 10, may result in serious management issues.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the Nine Year basic continuous schooling which is being introduced in the context of the reforms will bring in a transformation of our current educational structure and the accompanying measures are likely to usher in a systemic change. The new project aims at putting in place a system which eliminates cut-throat competition and undue stress. It will promote the holistic development of the child, inculcating in them the desired skills, knowledge and competencies to become 21st century citizens. Many education systems worldwide are adopting this trend. It is our duty as a caring Government to relieve our children and to give them back their childhood by creating the right conditions for their cognitive and integral development.
 
This is a holistic and integrated approach, Madam Speaker, which will involve a paradigm shift, a change in the mindset of people. The new assessment system will take on board not only the student’s performance level but also their talents, aptitudes and attainments.
 
First of all, I wish to inform the House that the assessment at the end of Year 9 is already in place since 2010 by way of the National Form III assessment/exams. The nine-year schooling project is proposing an assessment to come up with the award of the National Certificate of Education (NCE).
 
This assessment aims at -
• measuring the attainment of the students at the end of the nine years of basic education, and 
• promoting students to Grade 10 in their respective schools.
 
It will also be used for the purpose of admission of students opting for seats in Academies at Grade 10 level.
 
The NCE is thus not an additional examination given that it is already the practice for students of Form III to sit for the National Form III Assessment at their school at the end of the year. These examinations aim at assessing the learning outcomes of students and are also used for the purpose of promotion to Form IV and for the choice of subjects for Form IV and School Certificate. It will also help in the allocation of seats, as I said earlier, for students opting for Academies.
 
The current National Form III Assessment will therefore be replaced by the NCE in 2020 where there will be a national assessment in all subjects. The NCE will be organised by the MES which will also be responsible for the marking at the central level.
 
As already stated earlier, the NCE will not be a high stake examination. The reason is that students are already enrolled in a secondary school and will be able to pursue and complete their secondary education at the same school. The very fact that the students have already secured a seat in a Regional Secondary School, it will be a matter of choice for the student to decide whether he or she will opt for a seat in the Academies or not. The students will be mature enough to take a decision at this age.
 
I would like to draw the attention of the House that the NCE will also come up with innovative modes of assessment, namely the school based assessment where all students have the possibility of demonstrating and being assessed on talents other than the merely cognitive ones.
 
For the majority of them, the NCE will therefore serve the purpose of certification only. Furthermore, this reform wishes to bring in its wake a valorisation of the TVET with the state-of-the-art technology so that it becomes a pole of attraction for students. Hence, the NYS makes a case for different pathways and Academies are just one of those.
 
Madam Speaker, students remaining in their Regional Schools will have a further advantage of competing for both National and Regional Scholarships.
 
The latter are not offered to students in Academies. Thus, the examinations at the end of Grade 9 cannot be considered as a high-stake competitive one inasmuch as the student is already enrolled in a secondary school where he has undergone 3 years of schooling.
 
His seat is guaranteed to pursue the remaining years of the upper secondary schooling. Opting for the Academies thus becomes purely a matter of choice.
 
Madam Speaker, as regards part (b) of the question, I would like to remind the House that many of the Private Secondary Schools are mixed, and they have stood the test of time. We all know that co-education has been practised in many of our private secondary schools and the students have been performing well in all fields.
 
We have good examples to testify namely, the MGI Secondary School, the MGSS schools, St Andrews, among others, have a good track record of mixed schooling whether in terms of discipline, performance or adaptability as well as parents’ acceptability. There have been no serious management issues reported till date in these schools. Co-education is known to have a positive effect, enhancing not only performance, but also the development of sound interpersonal skills. That being said, mixed schooling is not a new phenomenon. Currently, pupils are already evolving in harmony in co-education environment in the pre-primary and primary subsectors. A similar condition prevails at the technical and vocational schools and at the Tertiary Education Sector, not to mention the private tuition classes which have been operating thus for years.
 
Madam Speaker, it is worthwhile noting that we are preparing the students for the world of work and for life. In this natural endeavour, if boys and girls are instructed in a co-education environment, it will facilitate transition and integration in their workplace and in their adult life.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Minister, time is nearly over. Do you have a long statement?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: I am ending, just a last sentence! Furthermore, co-education schools provide the opportunity to make gender mainstreaming a reality in our schools and provides for the same facilities for boys and girls following the same curriculum. The hon. Member may rest assured that regarding Academies, all necessary facilities will be made available in terms of infrastructure, special rooms, special facilities for either group and all regional schools are operating as single-sex institutions, as such we retain the gender specificity. Thank you.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Baloomoody!
 
Mr Baloomoody: I thank the hon. Minister for the answer, but, unfortunately, there is still some confusion outside with regard to the CPE because looking at the document which was circulated when we attended the Minister’s invitation, the criteria for admitting students to Grade 7 - so, we are talking about those who are leaving Standard VI. There are three criteria: parental choice, but the second one: overall grading at the Primary School Achievement Certificate which is now replacing the CPE examinations. So, it is clear that that examination will have an impact on the future of the child. So, he will still be competing one way or the other before going to Grade 7.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: To start with, Madam Speaker, let me say straightaway that the National Schools will not be admitting students at Grade 7 level. Students will be moving on to Grade 7 in all regional schools. So, first of all, competition is reduced at this level only.
 
Secondly, when we talk about the criteria for admission in Secondary Schools, it is clear that we are going to take overall grading which means that there will not be any A+ nor very acute sort of progression from one level to the other.
 
All students will be admitted into Grade 7 after Grade 6, no matter what their results are as far as the PSAC examination is concerned. All students will move on to Grade 7, but the admission will be done on a regional basis as it is done right now for regional schools depending on the students’ results, the proximity of the residence to the school opted for and the priority of the parents.
 
Mr Baloomoody: We have many local schools. So, how will one choose to which school this child will go if we are not going to take into account the overall grading at the Primary School Achievement Certificate?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: It is going to be the way it is done for regional schools right now, that is, according to the demand of the parents, the priority list, the proximity to the place and also the results of the students, but there will be no sort of ranking of students, no marks concerned; let’s say that if we say for ‘A’, if we are talking about A’s or whatever the grading system would be, it will be the same for all students having it. They will be able to enter the school depending on the proximity of their residence to the school.
 
Mr Baloomoody: Now, with regard to the academic schools…
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: The Academies!
 
Mr Baloomoody: The Academies, are we in one way or the other keeping, what we call, the Star Schools where we have all the best talented teachers?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: First of all, the attribution or rather the way teachers will move from one school to the other would be the same as it is today. So, there will be no special teachers for special schools. All the Academies will admit students only at Grade 10, which means that the students will have the choice of going to an Academy or not and the Academies will be schools of excellence in areas. C’est-à-dire, they will have schools with certain specialism, with certain specialist areas, schools for Science, schools for Arts, etc, but there will be no sort of star schools as such. Students will be admitted according to their performance at level of grade 10.
 
Mr Baloomoody: With regard to the exams…
 
Madam Speaker: Last question.
 
Mr Baloomoody: Sorry, Madam Speaker. It is of national interest this question. With regard to the Standard Form III Exam which will be run by the MES, up to now, according to my information from those who are in the sectors, the MES, itself, is not aware how to run this exam, what will be the syllabus, how it will be run?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: This is totally not true. The MES is working. We have got eight different implementation committees, the MES is working on that and the MES….
 
(Interruptions)
 
No, the MES has been working earlier. Now, we are talking about the nine year schooling with the NCE exam which will be held in 2020 and the MES is now working with other partners at the Ministry for the implementation of the NCE Exams in 2020.
 
Madam Speaker: Time is over! The Table has been advised that PQs B/550, B/551, B/553 and B/561 have been withdrawn.
 
Hon. Members, in the course of the Private Notice Question today, after hon. Rutnah had put a supplementary question, hon. Uteem rose on a point of order to the effect that hon. Rutnah had made a serious allegaiton of bribery against the hon. Leader of the Opposition. I asked hon. Rutnah as to whether he had uttered words of that nature and he stated that he had not made any such allegation from a standing position. I had undertaken to listen to the recording and come back to the House. I have to inform the House that I did listen to the
recording which reveals that hon. Rutnah had uttered the following words from a sitting position and I quote -
“Tone bribe dimoune”.
 
The above words amount to serious allegation against the hon. Leader of the Opposition. I, therefore, request hon. Rutnah to kindly withdraw these words.
 
Mr Rutnah: I withdraw.
 
Madam Speaker: I also have to inform the House that hon. Baloomoody has uttered the word ‘ batchara’.
 
(Interruptions)
 
Please!
 
(Interruptions)
 
Hon. Rutnah,please, don’t start again!
 
(Interruptions)
 
Please!
 
(Interruptions)
 
Hon. Rutnah, please! Don’t provoke!
 
(Interruptions)
 
Can I continue?
 
I also have to inform the House that hon. Baloomody has uttered the word ‘batchara’ and I also request him to kindly withdraw this word.
 
Mr Baloomoody: I withdraw.
 
Madam Speaker: I wish to draw the attention of hon. Members to the fact that any unparliamentary word, offensive words and allegations towards hon. Members, even from a sitting position, is not in order and does not add dignity to the decorum of the House. I, therefore, appeal to hon. Members to maintain the decorum of the House. Thank you.
 
Mr Gayan: On a point of order Madam. I just wish to seek your guidance, is the word ‘roquet’ parliamentary?
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Minister, I just said that we should refrain! Hon. Members should refrain from using unparliamentary words. It is not good for the dignity of the House and it is not good for the decorum of the House. So, I, once again, appeal to all of you to refrain from using those sorts of words.

 

 

 

AFRICAN CHARTER ON DEMOCRACY, ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE - SCHOOL CURRICULA (20/10/15)
 

 

(No. B/723) 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 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, she will state the specific and concrete proposals that will be made to lead our students to be fully aware of the substance thereof and of their role in the building process of a democratic society, following the Joint Experts Consultative Meeting held in Abuja, in Nigeria, between 28 and 30 September 2015, to engage the African Ministers of Education in the mainstreaming thereof in the school curricula.

 

 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I wish to highlight at the outset that the specific objectives of the Joint Experts Consultative Meeting which was held in Abuja (Nigeria) from 28 to 30 September 2015 in order to engage African Union Member States Ministries of Education in the inclusion and mainstreaming of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) in the school curricula, are to -
(i) popularise the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance among young citizens so that shared values reach the grass root level;
(ii) design activities in the school curriculum to promote the values of this Charter, and
(iii) to enable students to have an active voice in the promotion of democracy in their country.
 
This would imply the inclusion of these shared values enshrined in the Charter, into the existing modules or curricular activities at the school level. It would also mean engagement of Ministries of Education in the development of comprehensive training kits and programme on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance or teachers and students.
 
Madam Speaker, a New Curriculum Framework is being elaborated and which makes provision for the inclusion of cross curricular themes and the development of 21st century skills and competencies, which embraces core principles of a democratic society such as -
 
 Citizenship Education
 Intercultural Education
 Values
 Human Rights Education (which is being integrated in the Form I Social Studies syllabus as from January 2016, on a pilot basis), and
 Sustainable Development
Work is in progress at the level of the Ministry and at the MIE on the above issues.
 
However, I wish to point out that according to information obtained, the outcome document of the Joint Expert Consultative Meeting has yet to be tabled and for any decisions to be taken thereon to be binding, the recommendations as may be endorsed by the Specialised Technical Committee (STC) on Education, Science and Technology, need to be adopted at the AU Summit in January 2016.
 
Therefore, as explained above, the report of the STC has to go through the decision-making process of the AU and adopted by an AU Summit before its adoption.
 
Nonetheless, Madam Speaker, in spite of the above, I wish to reassure the House that we are leaving no stone unturned in our endeavor through the National Curriculum to instill in the youth those values that would contribute in the building a more democratic, peaceful, unified and prosperous society.
 
Mr Rughoobur: May I ask the hon. Minister to please ensure, because we are talking a lot about the reforms, whether it is the nine-year schooling or any reform that will be coming - we are looking forward to - that it should be aligned with the recommendations of the African Union? And will the hon. Minister, please, look into this issue and ensure that in her Ministry, the recommendations are taken on-board while the hon. Minister is speaking of reform in her Ministry?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: As mentioned earlier, Madam Speaker, this is being taken care of, in spite of the fact that the Charter has still not been ratified.
 

 

Madam Speaker: Hon. Jhugroo!

 

NINE-YEAR SCHOOLING - MIXED SCHOOLS - IMPLEMENTATION (10/11/15)
 
(No. B/832) 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 mixed schools component, inherent to the Nine-Year Schooling that will be implemented as from 2015, she will state the measures, if any, being taken to address the problems faced in relation to the introduction thereof in the recent past, as was the case in respect of the former Junior Secondary Schools.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I wish at the very outset to draw the attention of the House that the Nine-Year Schooling project is to be implemented as from 2017 and the introduction of the mixed schooling component in the academies is due for 2021.
 
There were initially in the 70s junior technical schools with Forms I to III classes and then, these were converted to junior secondary schools having classes running up to Form III with subsequent extension to Form V. The junior secondary schools admitted students on a co-ed basis. I am advised that there is no record of any problem arising in these institutions as a result of this co-ed set up. However, later, these schools were converted into State Secondary Schools running classes up to Form VI and they were single sex schools.
 
As far as the academies are concerned, they are due to operate as from 2021 and necessary infrastructural adjustments will be carried out and adequate resources provided to ensure the pupils evolve in an environment adapted for and conducive to learning.
 
It is to be noted that while academies would be co-ed institutions, other schools may continue to operate on a single sex basis as they do today with no imposition upon them. Parents wishing to admit their children in single sex schools would still be in a position to exercise this choice.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Osman Mahomed!
 
Mr Mahomed: Thank you. Later on Sir Rampersad Neerunjun in Ebène which was also a mixed school ceased to operate. Would the hon. Minister be able to shed some light on that one as well?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, things have changed since 1986 till today. We are almost 30 years after and I think the society has evolved and students will be able to manage without any problem in a co-ed set up. In my answer to the last Parliamentary Question No. B/549 on mixed schooling, I had informed the House of the many advantages of having schools operating on a co-ed basis. There are actually many private secondary schools such as the MGI and the MGSS operating in a coeducational setup and the performance of the students is really good. We have no problems as far as academic performance or discipline is concerned in these schools.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Uteem!
 
Mr Uteem: Thank you, Madam Speaker. May I know from the hon. Minister whether it will be compulsory for all the schools to have co-ed or there will be discretion to allow single sex schools and whether she has had consultations with religious organisations which run these schools and which have shown resistance to having mixed schooling?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: In fact, as I have just said, Madam Speaker, schools operating as single sex schools will continue to operate as such. We are only talking about academies. I have not had any consultation with religious bodies on that particular issue, but I have had consultations with all the stakeholders involved in the education sector and they are all very much for the setup that is being proposed. And, as I have just stated, there are schools which will remain single sex schools and which will continue to operate as such.
 

 

   NINE YEAR SCHOOLING REFORM PROJECT –

 

PREVOCATIONAL EDUCATION – TEACHERS (17/11/15)
 

 

(No. B/923) Mrs M. C. Monty (Third Member for Port Louis North & Montagne Longue) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to future changes in the education system and as far as the Nine Year Schooling is concerned, she will state the impact thereof on the teachers in the prevocational department of the private secondary schools.

 

 
Reply: The Nine Year Schooling reform programme provides for the phasing out of the Prevocational Education both in public and private secondary school subsectors.
 
However, provision will be made for learners requiring additional support to follow a 4-year cycle at Lower Secondary (Grades 7 to 9) and a special class with a reduced class size will be reserved in secondary school where students in the extended cycle will follow the same core curriculum as those in the regular three-cycle, but the pedagogy will be adapted to their specific needs.
 
Such flexibility in the curriculum at Lower Secondary will ensure that students of different abilities and aptitudes can learn at a differentiated pace and develop the essential competencies (basic education).
 

 

I wish to reassure the House that all teachers involved in the prevocational classes would be taken on board in the new reform programme and their services would be utilised for teaching and for provision of support in the adaptation of the curriculum, the production of learning materials for the students of the extended 4-year cycle, as well as for remediation. Appropriate training will be provided through the MIE, as may be required.

 

NINE-YEAR CONTINUOUS BASIC EDUCATION PROJECT (29/03/16)
 
(No. B/68) 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 undertaking of Government to introduce a single cycle of basic education of nine years’ duration culminating into a national examination at the end of the third year of secondary schooling, she will state the justification for maintaining a
selective examination at the end of the primary education cycle.
 
Reply: I wish, at the very outset, to highlight that the assessment under the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE) project (at the end of the 6th year of primary schooling) is an evaluation of the student learning outcomes leading to the Primary School Achievement Certificate (PSAC). Since, under the new system, all students will transit from Grade 6 to Grade 7, the question of selection as such does not arise. Admission will be done on a regional basis as per criteria set namely -
 
(i) parental choice;
(ii) proximity of residence, and
(iii) performance.
 
Allow me, to highlight that assessment is an integral part of any education system for the collection and evaluation of evidence of a student's learning and achievement. It is also important that assessment of and for learning be carried out at various stages of schooling with a view to taking timely corrective measures for the improvement of learning outcomes.
 
At the end of each year of schooling, pupils would be subject to an evaluation in Core and Non-Core subjects.
 
In the absence of such an assessment we will have no way of measuring whether the primary education offered is meeting its objectives. This will in fact enhance accountability for learning in our schools.
 
The reform provides for the introduction of the PSAC as from 2017 to gauge the progress and achievement of the children at the end of the first six years of basic education.
 
The PSAC will assess competencies acquired and other important skills such as
communication skills, ICT skills, etc., through school-based assessment. It is therefore not a competitive exam.
 
Hence, we are not maintaining a selective examination at the end of the primary education cycle but rather introducing a new form of assessment whereby learning outcomes gains, skills acquired and objectives of the curriculum at the end of 6 years of primary schooling are evaluated in an overall manner, both formative and summative.
 

 

 
NINE YEAR BASIC CONTINUOUS SCHOOLING PROGRAMME - CURRICULUM & SYLLABUS (12/04/16)
 
(No. B/179) Mr D. Ramful (Third Member for Mahebourg & Plaine Magnien) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the Nine Year Basic Continuous Schooling Programme, especially, regarding the first cohort of pupils who will be taking part in the Primary School Achievement Certificate Examinations in 2017, she will state if the curriculum and syllabus for each subject are ready and, if so -
(a) table copies thereof, and
(b) indicate -
(i) where matters stand as to the training of the educators therefor;
(ii) the number of educators being trained therefor;
(iii) the course contents of the training dispensed to the educators, and
(iv) the mode of assessment of the Primary School Achievement Certificate, indicating who will be assessing the pupils for the modular and the written assessments respectively.
 
Reply: My Ministry in collaboration with the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE) has come up, after extensive consultations with stakeholders in the sector, with a revised National Curriculum Framework (NCF) - the “Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE)”. The NCF was approved by Government on 06 November 2015 and officially launched on 15 December 2015.
 
The teaching and learning syllabuses have subsequently been prepared by the MIE and the textbooks have been made available to schools.
In the past, detailed syllabuses for the different subjects taken at Primary level were not prepared. What did exist was the assessment syllabus for the various subjects. This was captured in the Annual Programme elaborated by the MES which provides for the rules and regulations for the organisation and conduct of the end-of-cycle examinations.
 
Accordingly, the Annual Programme for Primary School Achievement Certificate (PSAC) that contains the assessment syllabuses for the various subjects to be offered in 2017 has been published and gazetted on 5 December 2015 by way of General Notice No. 2432 of 2015. This has been circulated to the schools and is also available on the Ministry’s website.
I am tabling a copy of the Annual Programme for the PSAC Assessment 2017 as well as the copies of the teaching and learning syllabus for each subject that will be taken by the first cohort of pupils in 2017. These syllabuses are also available on the MIE’s website for consultation.
 
As regards part (b) -
(i) the MIE has already initiated training programmes for Educators in the context of the implementation of the NYCBE. Training of Educators has, in fact, been ongoing for Grades 1-5 since November 2015.
(ii) 2,321 persons comprising Educators, Head Masters, Deputy Head Masters and Mentors have been trained. This includes 397 Educators of the current Grade 5 classes who have been trained keeping in view the specific needs of the first cohort of pupils sitting for the PSAC in 2017.
(iii) Training sessions involved familiarisation with new materials for all subjects, innovative pedagogies, integration of ICT in the Curriculum as well as assessment and evaluation. The contents of training dispensed to Educators also covered, inter alia -
- the main features of nine year schooling;
- the New National Curriculum Framework for Grades 1-6;
- Introduction to the textbooks and teaching materials for each grade, and
- Teaching strategies in and assessment for each grade.
(iv) The NYCBE reform provides for the introduction of the PSAC as from 2017 to gauge the progress and achievement of the children at the end of the first six years of basic education.
 
We are introducing a new form of assessment whereby a number of features will henceforth be evaluated in an overall manner at the end of 6 years of primary schooling -
• gains in learning outcomes,
• skills acquired, and
• the attainment of curricular objectives.
 
This form of evaluation is both formative and summative in nature.
The Mauritius Examinations Syndicate (MES) will be responsible for all written assessments and that includes History and Geography, and Science that will be assessed on a modular mode.
 
The assessment for the only non-core subject, that is, “Communication skills” will be carried out at the level of the school and will be moderated by the MES.
 
 
NINE YEAR BASIC CONTINUOUS SCHOOLING PROGRAMME - EXPERTS & CONSULTANTS – RECOMMENDATIONS (12/04/16)
 
 
NINE YEAR BASIC CONTINUOUS SCHOOLING PROGRAMME - CURRICULUM & SYLLABUS (12/04/16)
 
(No. B/179) Mr D. Ramful (Third Member for Mahebourg & Plaine Magnien) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the Nine Year Basic Continuous Schooling Programme, especially, regarding the first cohort of pupils who will be taking part in the Primary School Achievement Certificate Examinations in 2017, she will state if the curriculum and syllabus for each subject are ready and, if so -
(a) table copies thereof, and
(b) indicate -
(i) where matters stand as to the training of the educators therefor;
(ii) the number of educators being trained therefor;
(iii) the course contents of the training dispensed to the educators, and
(iv) the mode of assessment of the Primary School Achievement Certificate, indicating who will be assessing the pupils for the modular and the written assessments respectively.
 
Reply: My Ministry in collaboration with the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE) has come up, after extensive consultations with stakeholders in the sector, with a revised National Curriculum Framework (NCF) - the “Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE)”. The NCF was approved by Government on 06 November 2015 and officially launched on 15 December 2015.
 
The teaching and learning syllabuses have subsequently been prepared by the MIE and the textbooks have been made available to schools.
In the past, detailed syllabuses for the different subjects taken at Primary level were not prepared. What did exist was the assessment syllabus for the various subjects. This was captured in the Annual Programme elaborated by the MES which provides for the rules and regulations for the organisation and conduct of the end-of-cycle examinations.
 
Accordingly, the Annual Programme for Primary School Achievement Certificate (PSAC) that contains the assessment syllabuses for the various subjects to be offered in 2017 has been published and gazetted on 5 December 2015 by way of General Notice No. 2432 of 2015. This has been circulated to the schools and is also available on the Ministry’s website.
I am tabling a copy of the Annual Programme for the PSAC Assessment 2017 as well as the copies of the teaching and learning syllabus for each subject that will be taken by the first cohort of pupils in 2017. These syllabuses are also available on the MIE’s website for consultation.
 
As regards part (b) -
(i) the MIE has already initiated training programmes for Educators in the context of the implementation of the NYCBE. Training of Educators has, in fact, been ongoing for Grades 1-5 since November 2015.
(ii) 2,321 persons comprising Educators, Head Masters, Deputy Head Masters and Mentors have been trained. This includes 397 Educators of the current Grade 5 classes who have been trained keeping in view the specific needs of the first cohort of pupils sitting for the PSAC in 2017.
(iii) Training sessions involved familiarisation with new materials for all subjects, innovative pedagogies, integration of ICT in the Curriculum as well as assessment and evaluation. The contents of training dispensed to Educators also covered, inter alia -
- the main features of nine year schooling;
- the New National Curriculum Framework for Grades 1-6;
- Introduction to the textbooks and teaching materials for each grade, and
- Teaching strategies in and assessment for each grade.
(iv) The NYCBE reform provides for the introduction of the PSAC as from 2017 to gauge the progress and achievement of the children at the end of the first six years of basic education.
 
We are introducing a new form of assessment whereby a number of features will henceforth be evaluated in an overall manner at the end of 6 years of primary schooling -
• gains in learning outcomes,
• skills acquired, and
• the attainment of curricular objectives.
 
This form of evaluation is both formative and summative in nature.
The Mauritius Examinations Syndicate (MES) will be responsible for all written assessments and that includes History and Geography, and Science that will be assessed on a modular mode.
 
The assessment for the only non-core subject, that is, “Communication skills” will be carried out at the level of the school and will be moderated by the MES.
 
 
NINE YEAR BASIC CONTINUOUS SCHOOLING PROGRAMME - EXPERTS & CONSULTANTS – RECOMMENDATIONS (12/04/16)
 
(No. B/180) Mr D. Ramful (Third Member for Mahebourg & Plaine Magnien) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the education sector reform, especially, in regard the Nine Year Basic Continuous Schooling Programme, she will state if her Ministry has sought the assistance of foreign experts in the field in relation thereto and, if so, indicate the views and recommendations thereof.
 
Reply: The Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE) is a major component of the Mauritian education reform agenda and it has earned a lot of positive feedback from international quarters for its rationale, philosophy, design and implementation strategies.
 
8 Working Groups (WGs) have been set up at my Ministry to advance the design and implementation plans for the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education reform and the World Bank had been approached to support my Ministry in the initial and subsequent phases of this reform.
 
The Working Groups had met for a workshop in October 2015 and the World Bank was invited to participate therein. The objective was to have lessons from international experience built into the design of key areas of the reform program. The World Bank team, which comprised highly experienced international experts from Singapore, Korea and Ireland, thus participated in the workshop in an advisory capacity.
 
The experts, who came back again in March this year, assisted as well in the creation of linkages between the various areas inherent to the reform. This was to ensure a coherent overall reform program. They also assisted in the Costing and Financing as well as the Communication exercises.
 
Among the major recommendations made by the different Experts and Consultants were the following -
(i) Abolishing the CPE in its present form and replacing it by an assessment that would define the level of achievement attained by each learner - a criterion-based assessment, to be organised nationally;
(ii) The introduction of a system of continuous school-based assessment (SBA), especially for the non-core subjects ;
(iii) The discontinuation of the Pre-Vocational Education stream;
(iv) Increased autonomy to schools and Zones for improved learning outcomes;
(v) The review of MIE’s role and functions to reposition it to meet new and future challenges, and
(vi) The adoption and consolidation of learner-centered inclusive approaches and methodologies at the classroom level.
 
The World Bank has commended the soundness of the NYCBE reform which is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning.
I am pleased to inform the House that two of the teams of Experts commissioned by the European Union (EU) Delegation fully concurred with the reform strategies propounded.
 
Finally, allow me to inform the House that the Commonwealth Secretariat, at my Ministry’s behest, is providing the services of a Senior Education Adviser over a period of two years to guide the wider process of educational reform. We will also benefit from the services of another Expert who will focus on supporting the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education Curriculum Framework review.

NINE YEAR BASIC CONTINUOUS SCHOOLING PROGRAMME -
IMPLEMENTATION (19/04/16)
 
(No. B/261) Mr D. Ramful (Third Member for Mahebourg & Plaine Magnien) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the implementation of the Nine Year Basic Continuous Schooling Programme, she will state the -
(a) estimated number of students per zone that would be seeking admission to Grade 7 in the year 2018 and the estimated number of seats per zone that would be available, and
(b) stand of the private aided and unaided secondary schools, including that of the Bureau de l’Education Catholique in relation thereto.
 
Reply: With regard to part (a) of the question, I wish to highlight at the outset that the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE) reform project provides for seamless schooling for a period of nine years during which learners are expected to acquire appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, life skills and values, develop their talents and unleash their potential.
 
With regard to the first cohort of pupils that will be taking the Primary School
Achievement Certificate (PSAC) assessment in 2017, of which all pupils will be eligible for a seat in Grade 7 in January 2018, the estimated number of pupils, as per official statistics, and based on enrolment figures when this cohort of pupils was enrolled at Std IV level in 2015 (last year), is a total of 16,355 pupils for the 4 Zones.
 
On the other hand, based on data provided by the Zones and the PSSA, the supply of seats in secondary schools for admission to Form I (2016) totals 19,265 seats for the 4 Zones and this represents the estimated number of seats to be made available in Grade 7 (2018).
 
I am tabling the information on supply and demand of seats on a Zonal basis.
It is clear that the total number of seats that will be made available in the 135
Regional Secondary Schools (56 State and 79 Private aided), exceed the demand thereof by some 3,000 seats, and this in spite of the fact that all pupils of Grade 6 (first assessment at PSAC) in 2017 will transit to Grade 7 in January 2018.
 
In reply to part (b) of the question, as from May last year (2015), my Ministry had engaged in consultations with a wide cross-section of stakeholders of the Education sector on the policy orientations of this Reform Project and its eventual implementation.
 
There has been general consensus on the broad contours of the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education Project.
 
Several consultative sessions have been held under my Chair with the Bureau de l’Education Catholique (BEC) authorities, the Federation of Managers (FOM) and Rectors of secondary schools, and they have assured of their entire support to the Ministry in the implementation of this important project. The main points raised by them during the discussions have been clarified and taken on board.
 
I wish to highlight that the BEC had submitted its views on this reform project by way of a memorandum dated 30 September 2015 and had clearly stated that ‘the Catholic education sector welcomes the reform proposal of the Ministry’.
 
It is even mentioned in the memorandum that the BEC believes that the reform will better serve the children of the Republic and will allow for their integral development and equitable social and economic integration in society.
 
I wish to point out that my Ministry has a policy of constant dialogue, in a regular and structured manner, with our education stakeholders; and that this dialogue is being pursued further in the implementation process of the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education reform project.
 
 
NINE-YEAR BASIC SCHOOLING PROGRAMME – INTRODUCTION (03/05/16)
 
(No. B/388) 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 introduction of the Nine-Year Basic Schooling Programme, she will state the projected impact thereof on the private colleges and on the staff working thereat.
 
Reply: The Nine-Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE) reform aims at
bringing forward a new educational paradigm establishing a strong foundation for the present and future learning success of all students. We believe that it will have positive impacts on all stakeholders. It may in fact turn out to be a perfect model for a win-win scenario for all parties concerned. I must emphasise that this reform project has been commended by our international partners.
 
The NYCBE is a comprehensive and a systemic one which takes on board all state and private colleges, both aided and non-aided.I wish to highlight that these are privileged partners of the Ministry and they have generally expressed their support for its implementation.
 
Of course, the Managers of Private Secondary Schools have raised issues pertaining to intake of students and the future of their schools.
 
Referring to the intake of students, it is worth noting that all students after completing the six years of Primary Schooling will transit to Grade 7 and will be allocated a regional secondary school (state/private) based on the same criteria currently applicable for admission to Form I in Regional Schools.We shall thus be achieving a 100 per cent transition rate from Primary to Secondary.
 
It is also to be noted that a dozen of the existing National Colleges will be converted into Academies and there will be NO intake at Grade 7 in these institutions as from January 2018. It stands to logic therefore that these students will be directed to Regional Secondary Schools, further increasing the scope for enrolment in Private Secondary Schools.
 
Academies will be admitting students at Grade 10 as from 2021. This, in fact, opens the door wider for private colleges to increase their student intake at Grades 7, 8 and 9 progressively.
 
May I remind the House that the students will retain the right to follow their post basic education in the same Regional School where they would have been admitted at Grade 7.
 
May I also add that another interesting element of the reform is the provision of
special class with a reduced size in every Regional Secondary School where students in the extended 4-year cycle will follow the same core curriculum as those in the regular three-year cycle. This represents yet another opportunity for private colleges in terms of additional intake.
 
In fact, private colleges would not lose but stand to gain.
 
True it is that the current demographic trend may have an impact on student
population but this prevails independently of the NYCBE reforms. I repeat, this decline in school population is no way an offshoot of the NYCBE reforms as some would have it.
 
My Ministry is alive to this fact and is taking necessary measures to ensure that
Private Secondary Schools are not affected by this phenomenon.
 
Currently, school population has been officially capped at a maximum of 1,400 per secondary school. Hence, on grounds of equity, the reform calls for a capping on the total student population in any secondary school operating with a population beyond the ceiling set. Schools concerned have already been instructed to reduce their intake so as to be in conformity with this policy. This ceiling is called upon to be further lowered in time.
 
Further, my Ministry is coming with a policy for the gradual reduction of class size thereby lowering the pupil-teacher ratio to a reasonable level (say a ratio of 25:1), and hence providing better learning conditions and facilitating learners, especially those requiring remedial support.
 
As for the impact on staff, I wish to draw attention to the fact that one cornerstone of the NYCBE reform project concerns ‘Teacher Education Reform’ which will ensure the development of a highly skilled teaching force. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) will also help in their career progression.
 
In addition, the setting up of the Teachers’ Council will further the professionalization in this domain. I would like to stress that all Educators will benefit from these measures irrespective of them being from the public or private sector.
 
Further, I wish to stress that in my reply to PQ B/923, I had informed the House that the NYCBE reform provides for the elimination of the Prevocational Education both in public and private secondary schools.
 
I wish therefore to again reassure the House on this score: all teachers (whether
involved in the prevocational classes or otherwise) would be taken on board in the new reform programme and their services would be needed in schools for teaching and remediation programmes. The MIE is working on tailor-made training programme for these educators.


NINE-YEAR BASIC SCHOOLING PROGRAMME –
PRE-PRIMARY EDUCATION (24/05/16)
 
(No. B/464) 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 Nine Year Basic Schooling Programme, she will state if adequate measures have been taken for the integration of children aged between 3 and 5 years therein.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the reform agenda of my Ministry is a systemic one that, in fact, covers the entire spectrum ranging from the pre-primary, primary, secondary, TVET sectors as well as the tertiary sector.
 
The Nine Year Continuous Basic Education Reform is just one component of my Ministry’s overall reform agenda for education and training sector. It provides for a new education structure which covers the primary and lower secondary education subsectors, that is, Grades 1 to 9.
 
However, the educational reform does cover the pre-primary sector as well, as my Ministry is strongly convinced of the pivotal role played by this sector in building the foundation upon which future learning ultimately depends. The pre-primary education, thus, becomes the most essential educational starting point.
 
Madam Speaker, this is why my Ministry is currently engaged in bringing in a number of measures in the pre-primary sector with a view to rendering it more conducive to teaching and learning process.
In this regard a number of initiatives are currently being taken and these are -
(i) the review of the National Curriculum Framework for pre-primary which provides guidelines, learning outcomes and indicators for the teaching and learning process in this sector with a view to aligning it with a new curriculum
developed in the context of the NYCBE Reform;
(ii) the development of the Early Childhood Special Needs Framework for the pre-primary sector;
(iii) the professionalisation of the sector through capacity building and training including training of teachers working with children with special education needs;
(iv) setting up quality assurance mechanisms by providing training to the Supervisory Cadre;
(v) development of new norms and standards entailing a review of the current Early Childhood Care and Education Regulation in order to ensure qualitative improvement for the sector;
(vi) construction and opening of new pre-primary units to promote equity and access, and
(vii) the improvement of learning environment in both public and private preschool institutions.
 
Madam Speaker, I wish to further inform the House that in order to ensure a smooth transition and integration of the pre-primary schools’ children to the primary sector, a number of measures have been taken to determine the readiness of these pupils. One of them consists of the administration of the Developmental Learner Profile. The DLP is a tool which will allow the teacher to follow and the child along set targets.
 
Another new initiative in the Early Childhood Education Sector is the adoption of new approaches to pedagogy. The Early Childhood Care and Education Authority has embarked on a Preschool Curriculum Enrichment Programme in Science and ICT. Some 700 preprimary teachers have been trained in the use of ICT. The Digital Awakening Project has been implemented on a pilot basis. A teacher’s manual on the Early Years ICT Integration Programme has also been developed.
 
Madam Speaker, the major transformations in the pre-primary sector and with our willingness to share our good practices and model, Mauritius has been requested by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa to host the Inter-country Quality Note Early Childhood Development which is a mechanism for peer learning among African countries, the main objective of which is to serve as a forum for advocacy and monitoring early childhood development, as a priority in national development agendas. We are in the
process of finalising an ICQNECD Strategic Plan 2016-2018.
 
Madam Speaker, all these innovative measures for the pre-primary sector bear
testimony of the special attention my Ministry is giving to this sector with a view of equipping each child with knowledge, foundation of skills and attitude that will guarantee success to all their future learning. The more so these accompanying measures will definitely ensure the full integration of children aged 3 to 5 into the next phase of basic education in the context of the Nine Years of Continuous Basic Education Reforms.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Rughoobur!
 
Mr Rughoobur: I thank the hon. Minister for her reply. One of the sustainable development goals for education approved by the United Nations is, and I quote –
“By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.”
 
May I ask the hon. Minister - I know that there has been a list of measures that have been taken by her Ministry - at the level of intersectoral collaboration, in terms of NPF, Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Ombudsperson for Children, have there been any measures taken to ensure that the children are prepared to go for this transition?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, we are already working in close
collaboration with the Ministry for Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions to ensure that all children in Mauritius get access to such type of quality education.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Osman Mahomed!
 
Mr Mahomed: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have visited the website of the Ministry and I have found a French version brochure on Nine Year Basic Schooling and a PowerPoint presentation of 20 pages. Can the hon. Minister inform the House whether there is a full strategy document, an Action Plan whereby things are clearly defined in terms of time frame, costing because it is going to cost big time? Is there such a document?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, we have already passed the final document through Cabinet. I have sent the document for peer reviewing at the World Bank.
 
We have already received the response from them. They found the document extremely interesting and they are even thinking of using it as a model for the region. So, in fact, the document is ready. We are finalising it. The figures will be in there as far as the planning for the next few years are concerned. Yes, Madam Speaker.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Rughoobur!
 
Mr Rughoobur: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I understand that the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority has the responsibility to monitor the management of all this.
 
May I ask the hon. Minister to enlighten the House as to the adequacy of resources to supervise not only the access, but the quality of education in those pre-primary units?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I have just mentioned to the House that we are improving on quality. We are, in fact, ensuring that there is a proper quality assurance done and we are training supervisors for that particular purpose.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Mrs Selvon!
 
Mrs Selvon: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Could the hon. Minister tell the House what are the adequate measures being taken for the special needs children?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I would request the hon. Member to come with a substantive question, but I will still say that in my answer that I have just mentioned that we are taking on board special training for teachers who will be responsible for the training of students with special needs and this is already incorporated in the project.
 
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Rughoobur!
 
STATE OWNED & BEC COLLEGES – ACADEMIC COLLEGES – CONVERSION (28/06/16)
 
(No. B/658) 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 Nine Year Basic Schooling Programme, she will state the number of State Owned Colleges and Bureau d’Education Catholique Colleges respectively which will be converted into Academic Colleges.
 
(Withdrawn)

EDUCATIONAL REFORM - SENIOR EDUCATIONAL ADVISOR – RECRUITMENT (05/07/16)
 
(No. B/695) 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 proposed recruitment of a Senior Educational Advisor under the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat to support the System-Wide Educational Reform and the Development of a Regulatory Framework for Higher Education in Mauritius, including the Nine Year Continuous Basic Educational Reform Programme, she will state where matters stand.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, my Ministry submitted a project proposal for technical assistance to the Commonwealth Secretariat in October 2015 for assisting us in the implementation of the Educational Reform Project.
 
This request proposal for technical assistance was approved in January 2016 by the Commonwealth Secretariat. It involves the deputation of consultants which includes a Senior Educational Adviser as well as a Legislative Drafter for the purpose of supporting us in the drafting of the Higher Education Bill.
 
Madam Speaker, as regards the Senior Educational Adviser, the selection process has been initiated at the level of the Commonwealth Secretariat in consultation with my Ministry and we are in the process of making the selection of the candidate for the post. The selection exercise will be completed shortly.
 
Mr Mahomed: Thank you. We are on the eve, six months away from the beginning of the implementation of the Nine Year Schooling Programme. Are we going to be in time because we are talking about a major reform and the Adviser is not there, the Action Plan is not submitted? Are we going to be in time?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, let me inform the hon. Member that the person coming from the Commonwealth Secretariat is to assist us in the implementation of a project which is spread over a number of years and we are not at all late in the implementation process. The person coming would be assisting us and, furthermore, the Commonwealth Secretariat has been telling us that they would like to see the review in the curriculum that we have brought within our system and try to see how it can be used also as a model for other countries with similar background taking into consideration the fourth Sustainable Development Goal which is based on Education.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Osman Mahomed! Mr Mahomed: Some time ago, I had a chance to question the hon. Minister above an Action Plan for the Nine Year Schooling Programme and the reply was that it is going to be submitted soon. May I ask whether this has been already done?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member talked about the whole project which I said the document is ready and will be made public soon. As far as the 76 Action Plan is concerned, the Ministry has got eight implementation committees and they are working on the implementation in a phased manner. Now, we have logistics, we have the curriculum, we have got the assessment, all these different committees are working continuously. Now, there is no report as such that I will be submitting. This is a continuous work that is being done at the level of the Ministry.
 
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Osman Mahomed!
 
 
SCHOOLS – ACADEMIES – RESOURCE ALLOCATION (05/07/16)
 
 
(No. B/696) 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 schools which will be transformed into academies, under the Nine Year Continuous Basic Educational Reform Programme, she will state how parity in resource allocation will be maintained between the said academies and the existing regional colleges.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the Nine Years Continuous Basic Education Reform provides that each and every school, be it a regional one or an academy, has to be subject to the same consideration and treatment in terms of resources whether human, material or financial.
 
Madam Speaker, I wish to reassure the House that the same policy in respect of parity of resource allocation will therefore prevail for all schools. There will be no difference in terms of staff entitlement and, as per the current practice, teaching and non-teaching staff may be called upon to work in any secondary institution at a particular point in time.
 
Madam Speaker, the principle of equal consideration to all schools will be maintained in respect of grant to PTAs and other forms of support as may be the case in line with priorities set by my Ministry irrespective of whether they are in respect of regional schools or academies. Hence, both regional schools and academies would be on a level playing field for the appropriation of resources such that each and every student is provided equal treatment in terms of learning opportunities and prospects for their future development and career advancement.
 
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Sesungkur!
 
 
NATIONAL COLLEGES – ACADEMIES (05/07/16)
 
(No. B/706) 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 Nine Year Basic Continuous Schooling Programme, she will state the number of State Owned Colleges and Bureau d’Education Catholique Colleges respectively which will be converted into Academies.
 
Reply: Twelve National Colleges have been identified to become Academies, a number that we at the Ministry consider to be adequate. All other State-owned secondary schools will remain as Regional Secondary Schools for the purpose of admission to Grade 7.
 
As regards Colleges operating under the aegis of BEC, let me inform the House that, in the course of earlier consultations, the BEC and other private colleges were invited to express their interest in transforming one or two secondary schools into Academies.
 
BEC has indicated that it could possibly favourably consider doing that but in due time. Up to now, no proposal has as yet been received. Should they come forward with such a proposal, due consideration will be given by the Ministry.
 
NINE-YEAR BASIC SCHOOLING PROGRAMME - SECONDARY SCHOOL – ADMISSION (22/11/16)
 
(No. B/968) 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 Nine-Year Basic Schooling Programme, she will state if parents have expressed their apprehensions at the level of her Ministry in relation thereto, favouring the admission of their wards in Form I in confessional and private schools as opposed to public secondary schools.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the Nine-Year Continuous Basic
Education Project has been subject to extensive consultations on a wide cross section of stakeholders of the education sector. As of now, my Ministry has not received specifically any such apprehensions from parents with respect to favouring admission of their children in Form I, in confessional and private schools as opposed to public secondary schools.
 
Madam Speaker, as hon. Members would be aware, pupils after completion of the six years of primary schooling, having taken part in the assessment of the Primary School Achievement Certificate, will normally transit to Grade 7 under a regional mode of admission.
 
• The pupils will be allocated a Regional Secondary School, State or Private,
based on the same criteria currently applicable for admission to Form I in
Regional Schools taking into consideration the following criteria –
 
• parental choice;
 
• overall grading at the Primary School Achievement Certificate, and
 
• proximity of residence to the secondary school.
However, given the diversity of preferences, the choice to opt for admission to a Private Secondary School whether grant aided or fee school or alternatively to a State Secondary School, rests with parents, responsible parties, and has always been there even under the current mode of admission.
 
Parents can thus always exercise their choice and opt to seek admission accordingly.
 
From feedback obtained, there has been general consensus on the broad contours of the project.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Osman Mahomed!
 
Mr Mahomed: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Well, I ask the question against the backdrop that many of my constituents came to see me following several press articles namely ‘L'UPSEE brandit la menace d'une grève générale dans tous les collèges à la rentrée 2017.’ Now, I have listened to what those people are saying and in there is the hon. Minister aware that mention is made of a MIE report of 30 September 2016 wherein the PSSA was absent and also many points that are inherent of the nine-year schooling project, have not yet been finalised or there are still a lot of shortcomings? Have these issues been resolved in the meantime?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, I will ask the hon. Member not to go by Press articles. In fact, no problem would arrive at the level of the Private Secondary Schools with implementation of the reform. Firstly, with the National Schools not admitting students at the level of Grade VII, students will have to be re-distributed among the Regional Schools and these are the State Regional Schools as well as the Private Regional Schools. So, the question of number of students being admitted to the Regional Schools would not go down
with the idea that all students will transit from Grade VI to Grade VII, the number of students moving up in the secondary sector will even be greater. So, these apprehensions are not founded. And furthermore, I do not know of which particular meeting the hon. Member is talking about, but we have had consultations with the Federations of Managers, with the Unions and with the MIE. So, I think everything is ready and there is no need to have apprehensions or fear of this type. All schools - whether they are confessional or State or Private fee paying schools - are engaged in the reform and they will all have to go through the process.
 
Mr Baloomoody: The hon. Minister just mentioned that all schools are engaged in the process of the nine-year schooling. May I know whether the Confessional Schools will go up to the academies?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, all schools will run classes from Grade VII to Grade XIII, that is, what we call Form I to Form VI. Now, Confessional Schools, Private schools and Public schools will all run these classes. We have asked Private schools if they intend to have academies. Academies are colleges which would admit students only as from Form IV, that is, Grade 10. The Confessional schools have informed us that they are
engaged and they are following the process, they are following the reform and they have not yet decided to have academies. But then, their doors will be opened to all students as they are today, that is, they will be having 50% of the students coming from the Government list and 50% of their own admission.
 
Madam Speaker: Last question, hon. Osman Mahomed!
 
Mr Mahomed: I have no other question, but I would table the Press report I was referring to, to the hon. Minister’s attention. There is a video in there and all the details are given.
 
 
EDUCATION SECTOR –TRAINING PLAN (11/04/17)
 
(No. B/178) 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 proposed training to be given to teachers in the wake of the implementation of the Nine Year Basic Schooling Programme, she will state where matters stand.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, in the context of the Nine Year
Continuous Basic Education Programme, my Ministry has in collaboration with the Mauritius Institute of Education, the Mauritius Examination Syndicate, elaborated a training plan for the benefit of teaching and non-teaching staff of the education sector. Thus, over the period 2015 to date, a number of workshops and training programmes have been held for the staff of the primary sector, and these were attended by school Inspectors, Headmasters, Deputy
Headmasters, educators as well as ICT Support Officers. The main areas of training were –
(i) salient aspects of NYCBE reform;
(ii) the National Curriculum Framework;
(iii) the assessment and evaluation with respect of the PSAC, the Primary School Achievement Certificate, including school-based assessment for non-core subjects, ICT skills and communication skills;
(iv) Primary School Readiness Programme, and
(v) the Early Support Programme on which school inspectors, supervisors,
headmasters and Grade I educators were trained.
 
Overall, some 3,150 primary school educators, together with 143 ICT Support
Officers, have been trained on the various components of the NYCBE.
 
Madam Speaker, while not neglecting the cognitive development of learners, the NYCBE lays much emphasis on holistic development of the child with focus on their socioemotional, physical, creative and intuitive as well as aesthetic potentials. Remediation and holistic education are thus two important aspects of the reform in the primary sector. All support teachers are following a Teacher Certificate Course at the MIE.
Moreover, 340 educators, who have been recently recruited, are currently following a Teachers’ Diploma Programme at the MIE. These educators will be responsible for the teaching of non-core subjects, that is, Health and Physical Education, the Arts, Civic Education and Road Safety.
 
Madam Speaker, I wish to highlight that training programmes have also been
conducted in Rodrigues, and in addition, school inspectors are now undertaking cascading training to educators in their respective zones on the new curriculum, and teaching and learning materials, with a view to reaching out to a larger number of educators and schools.
 
Training is ongoing and a number of programmes have been scheduled during the Easter holidays this year.
 
With regard to the secondary sector, the new National Curriculum Framework for the lower secondary, Grades 7 to 9, was launched in February 2017 and a training programme covering areas such as the new Curriculum Framework Assessment and Evaluation and Remedial Education has accordingly been elaborated for the secondary school educators, rectors and deputy rectors. Training is expected to start in July 2017 for educators of both State and private aided secondary schools who have been identified to teach Grade 7 in 2018.
 
Madam Speaker, Continuous Professional Development Programme is one of the pillars of the reform and, as such, every effort will be made to ensure that teaching and nonteaching staff have the opportunity to avail from training in the relevant areas.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Rughoobur!
 
Mr Rughoobur: Thank you, Madam Speaker. The hon. Minister has been elaborating on the list of courses where there has been training. May I request the hon. Minister to enlighten the House, apart from curriculum assessment on which training is being imparted, about what the Ministry is doing through the MIE or any other institution to train the teachers
on the modern methods of teaching?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the MIE is, in fact, allowing teachers to get to know about new pedagogical methods being used elsewhere in the world. I am tabling a copy of all the training programmes being elaborated for the teachers.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Rughoobur!
 
Mr Rughoobur: Will the hon. Minister enlighten the House as to the methods of training and which institution is responsible? Is it through workshops or is it the MIE that is undertaking training on the procedures for assessment? Because we know that this assessment leading to Grade 9 is extremely important in the process.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: The training for assessment is carried out by the
Mauritius Examination Syndicate in collaboration with the MIE and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research.
 
Madam Speaker: Hon. Baloomoody!
 
Mr Baloomoody: Thank you, Madam Speaker. With regard to training of teachers for the implementation of the nine-year schooling, we note that we are going to have what is called ‘remedial teachers and support teachers’. May I know what will then happen to the actual prevocational teachers who are actually in post?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the prevocational teachers are, in fact, for the secondary sector. When we are talking about remedial and support teachers right now, we are referring to the primary sector. But as far as the prevocational teachers are concerned, I have, on a number of times, reassured them that they will be involved in the process, in the teaching of the extended stream in the secondary sector, they will be trained for further remediation programmes.
 
Ms Sewocksingh: Madam Speaker, may I ask the hon. Minister how have the
teachers been trained when there are inadequate or inexistence of infrastructure regarding the Nine-Year Schooling Project which makes provision for the major changes like, for example, tablets have been given to children of grade one, have they already been trained? Do they have specific programmes for that?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, let me inform the hon. Member that all training of teachers and educators is done at the level of the MIE. We are presently coming up with a new system known as the ‘Teacher’s Academy’ that will be attached to my Ministry, but, nevertheless, all teachers are receiving their training through the MIE. Tablets have not yet been distributed to students of the primary school, they will come later on.
 
Teachers are already been trained for that particular purpose.
 
Madam Speaker: Last question on this issue, hon. Ramano!
 
Mr Ramano: Madame la présidente, dans le holistic program du Nine-Year
Schooling qui inclut l’art, le théâtre et aussi le road safety, est-ce que je peux savoir de l’honorable ministre, le nombre d’enseignants attachés, à ce jour, dans les différentes écoles primaires?
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Nous avons déjà récruté, Madame la présidente, éducateurs à travers la PSC et ces éducateurs sont, à présent, en train de suivre des cours à la MIE.
 
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Rughoobur
GOVERNMENT PRIMARY & SECONDARY SCHOOLS - CLEAN-UP MAURITIUS AND EMBELLISHMENT PROGRAMME 2017-2018 (13/06/19)
 
(No. B/425) Mr E. Jhuboo (Third Member for Savanne & Black River) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the Government primary and secondary schools, she will state if consideration will be given for the implementation of targeted educational programmes at the level thereof regarding the cleaning campaigns.
 
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Madam Speaker, the New National Curriculum
Framework (NCP) for the Nine-Year Continuous Basic Education developed by the MIE in 2015 already provides for the inclusion of education programmes with emphasis on cleanliness where pupils of primary and secondary schools are taught about the importance of protecting the environment and the public property.
 
These competencies are addressed across the primary cycle, that is, Grade 1 to 6.
 
Moreover, basics about hygiene are already integrated across the curriculum.
 
At the lower secondary level, this is taken care of under the “Life Skills and Values Education”. Moreover, there are cross curricular competencies which are also addressed in other subject areas such as Languages and Science, amongst others. We are adopting a targeted approach to cleaning programmes touching on preventive actions at classrooms as well as school environment levels. Schools are working towards inculcating good habits in students to keep the environment clean, to protect it and to maintain high standards of hygiene.
 
As from this year, a number of primary and secondary schools have embarked on the Clean-up Mauritius and Embellishment Programme 2017-2018. Appropriate actions are being taken by schools to ensure that classes, yards and our murals are clean and ecofriendly.
 
These include –
• sorting out of waste;
• collection of plastic bottles for recycling purposes;
• setting up kitchen gardens, endemic gardens;
• re-use of used tyres;
• composting, etc.
 
Madam Speaker, in addition to the above, there are a number of initiatives and
projects being run in schools to enhance environmental awareness and cleanliness. The EcoSchool Indian Ocean Programme, operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education, is being implemented since 2015 in 28 primary schools and 47 secondary schools. Schools joining the programme followed a seven-step process and work on themes such as climate change, energy, waste, water, healthy living, biodiversity, soil and air, livelihoods, ocean and coast. Students are motivated to participate in the programme and gain an award including the ecological green flag award.
 
In the same breath, it has been further announced in the 2017-2018 Budget Speech that the campaign Cleaner Mauritius will be extended to all schools.
 
Each and every stakeholder of the school will have to take an active part in this initiative and work in collaboration with institutions concerned, including NGOs, local bodies, etc.
 
Madam Speaker, the commitment towards maintaining a clean, embellished and healthy environment is one taken at the highest level and should concern not only the schools but the nation at large and every citizen.
 
Madam Speaker: Next question, hon. Bhagwan!