In the context of above Session held at the United Nations Head Quarters from 15th-18th April 2019, DIS-MOI contributed to the debates by making submissions on four themes, namely education, training, life-long learning and capacity building, social protection and social security, autonomy and independence, long-term and palliative care. To-day, we are pleased to share our submission on the first theme.
The Mauritius Qualifications Authority Act of 2001 (MQA) and amended in 2005 gives the MQA the functions of evaluating and establishing equivalences between qualifications obtained in the primary, secondary or post-secondary sectors and those obtained in non-formal and informal settings, for example, through work-place learning. Those who have built their careers through apprenticeships without having undergone any academic or formal training are catered for by the MQA through the 'Recognition of Prior Learning'.
Some of the courses are adult literacy, furniture making, handicrafts and health care.
By Education Act N0 17 of 2005, the Open University of Mauritius has, as one of its objectives, to provide wider opportunities for higher education to the population and to promote life-long learning.
There is no age barrier to enter as a student at the University of Mauritius and at the University of Technology, Mauritius.
In the informal sector, namely the NGOs, there is no barrier to age to get admitted to a training course.
The mission of the Ministry of Social Security and National Solidarity includes the following:
(i) Empower persons with disabilities, elderly persons and local communities to enhance their quality of life
(ii) Promote capacity building of NGOs
The National Women’s Council by virtue of Act 2016 provides, inter alia, to women
(I) Adult literacy programme
(II) Dress making and related craft courses without age discrimination
There is no discrimination in the type and quality of education provided to older persons because they are offered the same programmes on demand.
The challenge is generally in the understanding of the Information and Communication Technology for those who have left schools before the advent of ICT in the country.
Literacy and numeracy programmes are offered by a host of NGOs in English and Kreol which are in-house, popular in general but not sanctioned by any academic authority to throw light on performance indicators.
(i) There is nothing in the legislation that discriminates against older persons getting enrolled on a training course of their choice.
(ii) No single institution imposes an age barrier on an applicant for a formal education programme, training, life-long learning, and capacity building.
(iii) In their request for applications, training institutions do not mention an age barrier.
Mechanisms for redress
(I) Any aggrieved person can report a case of discrimination at a police station for enquiry and a court case may follow after enquiry
(II) The person can report to the Equal Opportunity Commission to seek redress
(III) The person can inform the Office of the Ombudsperson for redress
(IV) In the case of an elderly woman regarding discrimination on account of gender, she can address her complaint to the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare
(V) The older person can address his/her problem to the Ministry of Social Security and National Solidarity
(VI) The older person can make a complaint on a Citizen Support Portal and at a regional office of the Citizens Advice Bureau
A non-written convention:
Mauritians have developed a ‘taste and a culture’ in speaking live and direct daily on private radio stations (3 in all) and write in or inform the written press on alleged discriminations to alert public opinion.
Strong stand for a Convention
Mauritius made a strong statement in the course of the 10th Session reaffirming our position in favour of a Convention for the Rights of Older Persons. The rights would include as a matter of fact the right to education.
By : Vijay Naraidoo
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