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Friday, 04 January 2013 14:59

The changes for 2013

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2013 will be a year full of innovations and changes in the education sector. Across all levels, from pre-primary to tertiary, the thrust will be on the holistic development of the child and greater accessibility to education. More pedagogical activities for toddlers, a lighter curriculum for CPE, new programmes at secondary level, additional scholarships, launch of the Open University are in the pipeline.
Changes in education have been announced for years but it seems that 2013 will witness the materialisation of several years of study, research and strategic plans. Be it for the pre-primary, primary, secondary or even tertiary sector, changes are imminent. The admission to pre-primary, primary and secondary is due on January 11 while studies resume on January 14 at all levels.

Pre-primary sector
There are presently 180 public pre-primary schools and some 850 private. In the public sector, some 3,000 educators work with children aged three to five. According to Amrita Kistamah of the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority, a manual of activities will be introduced this year for educators to guide the activities and pedagogical methods to be used with the children. “Parents have to bear in mind that the trend is towards more pedagogical activities and less literacy and numeracy. Research has proved that children should be allowed to develop according to their own pace and forcing them will do them no good,” she says.

Moreover, in the Budget Speech 2013, it was announced that Rs 20,000 will be given to existing childcare centres so as to improve the infrastructure. This, in a bid to provide better services to children as early as possible.

Primary sector
The primary cycle will be divided into three stages: Stage I (STD I); Stage II (STDs II, III & IV); and Stage III (STDs V & VI). Besides, Kreol Morisien and Bhojpuri as optional languages will be extended to STD II.

This year, the Bridging the Gap project will be extended to the whole year of STD I, compared to last year where it was applied only during the first term of STD I. Bridging the Gap, as the name suggests, is a transition period for children leaving pre-primary for primary. Books will be put aside and pupils will learn through observation, songs, poems, and games amongst others.

Remedial Education will be extended to all classes and pupils who will fail in STD III will not move to STd IV. Automatic promotion to STD IV has been abolished and pupils will have to repeat the year. It is believed will reduce the failure rate at CPE. Moreover, students who have failed their CPE exams at their first attempt will be given the opportunity to join the Pre-Vocational stream with the possibility of sitting again for the CPE examinations. Enhancement Programme, Summer School Programme and Winter School Programme will be on-going.

A new subject will be introduced in the school curriculum in 2013 at primary level. The aim is to initiate pupils to road safety issues and road signs and to make them more responsible on our roads. A workshop was held during the week to train the educators who will be teaching the subject as from this year.

Secondary sector
The number of scholarships given to the best students at Higher School Certificate (HSC) will be increased from 30 to 60. The Additional Scholarship Scheme which provided 12 scholarships has passed on to 42, including 16 scholarships under the Academic Merit & Social Criteria.  

Also, students will be able to opt for the General Certificate of Advanced Level (GCE “A” Level) instead of taking the Higher School Certificate (HSC). They will be thus examined in only two principal subjects. The Ministry of Education and the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate (MES) are currently looking at this aspect.
The National Assessment in Form III will be held again this year in all colleges on seven subjects namely Mathematics, English, French, Computer Studies, Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

The Ministry of Education has established collaboration with Lady Amber Research Vessel in favour of students of secondary schools so that they will be provided with real time date through Argo. In this context, in January 2013, some 80 secondary schools will be engaged in this programme with the vessel. Participating schools will be able to use data like readings of water temperature, movement of current, density and weather to enrich the present curriculum in Marine Biology, Science, Mathematics and other related subjects like Geography and Agriculture. These data will be useful in the study of climate change and climate prediction.

Tertiary sector
The Open University will finally kick off in February 2013. The Open University is the third Government-funded tertiary institution after the University of Mauritius and University of Technology, Mauritius.The aim of the institution is to democratize education and to give everyone the chance for a post-secondary education without attending classes.

The Open University will replace the Mauritius College of the Air (MCA) which is already offering distance learning courses. However, contrary to the MCA, the Open University will be independent. The institution will be able to offer its own degrees and will work as a university as a whole. Also, it will be able to develop its own programme courses.
Premita Leelachand

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