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AfricaMoney | August 22, 2017

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Mauritius set to become regional hub for higher education

Mauritius set to become regional hub for higher education

There are exciting times ahead for the tertiary education sector in Mauritius, as the Open University of Mauritius forays into Uganda. (Image: Open University of Mauritius)

Tertiary education in Mauritius stands on the cusp of exciting developments, encompassing a Ugandan foray for the Open University of Mauritius, as well as a quality assurance review by the higher education sector in the United Kingdom.

At the recent Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Regional Focal Points Meeting, Africa and the Mediterranean, Mauritius’ Tertiary Education Minister, Rajeshwar Jeetah, announced that the Open University of Mauritius will open a branch in Uganda to widen access to tertiary education on the African Continent.

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Regional Focal Points Meeting, Africa and the Mediterranean, took place on May 21, 2014, at the Henessy Park Hotel, Ebène where Mauritius Education Minister Vasant Bunwaree and the President and CEO of COL, Professor Asha S. Kanwar were present, among others.

At the meeting, Mauritius requested COL, the Commonwealth intergovernmental organisation, to assist in the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.

“The COL has been instrumental in the development of open and distance learning in Mauritius and in the setting up of the Open University,” Jeetah said.

Two postgraduate programmes – Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration and Commonwealth Executive Master of Public Administration – are run by COL and the Open University of Mauritius.

Minister Jeetah recalled the major developments in the field of open and distance learning that the island economy has witnessed since Mauritius hosted the COL central point meeting in 2012.

He noted that the country now has a full-fledged Open University, which has already started building its reputation as a prime open education provider, with more than 70% female enrolment.

“This development highlights the special importance given by Government to widening opportunities in education and making use of the latest technologies to bring education within the reach of the people, especially women and vulnerable groups,” he added.

Professor Kanwar highlighted the importance of Mauritius as a member of the Commonwealth and mentioned the long-term partnership that COL has with the Open University of Mauritius.

She noted that their collaboration covers supporting capacity building through workshops on effective online content development and teaching, open learning resources, learners’ support and developing research and skills in open and distance learning.

“We expect to see the Open University of Mauritius emerge as one of the centres of excellence in the Commonwealth,” she stated.

According to the Professor, the organisation had to pay attention to the priorities of education and training and the way they fit with COL’s mission and mandate from member states.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam met yesterday with Dr Stephen Jackson and Dr Irene Ainsworth from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education of the United Kingdom.

After the meeting, Dr Jackson who is the Director of Reviews within QAA, said that the UK team is in Mauritius to undertake an initial scoping of the tertiary sector and to submit proposals to the concerned authorities. He noted that the Prime Minister gave his support during the fruitful meeting.

It is to be noted that Dr Jackson is responsible for the management and delivery of review activity, which includes universities and other higher education providers, the review of higher education in further education colleges and the review of private higher education colleges.

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