University of Mauritius: Faculty of Agriculture proudly celebrates a 100 years
Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam recounted how the School of Agriculture, which subsequently evolved into what is now the Faculty of Agriculture, started in 1914 thanks to the far-sighted vision of some farmers who wanted to create an experimental farm. (Image: Cecilia Samoisi)
Mauritius has entered the annals of a handful of countries across the world that have provided training at a tertiary level in agriculture for as long as a century.
The University of Mauritius (UoM) proudly celebrated a 100 years of the Faculty of Agriculture yesterday, October 13, 2014, at the Paul Octave Wiehe Auditorium in Reduit, in the presence of Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam.
The event, which was celebrated in front of several prestigious guests, also served as an occasion to launch a booklet entitled ‘School of Agriculture: 100 years for the nation- 1914-2014,’ produced by numerous collaborators such as alumni students and lecturers from the Faculty of Agriculture.
Vice chairman of the UoM Council, Jean Claude Autrey, who delivered the opening speech, said that it is a source of great pride for Mauritius to be among the very few countries that have provided training at the tertiary level in agriculture continuously for a century.
“The School of Agriculture of 1914, and the institutions which were created over the years, have played a major role in the successful development of not only our agriculture, but also our country,” he said.
According to him, “the future is full of promise for the Faculty of Agriculture, which will enhance its reputation further in the coming years by catering to more and more foreign students, and networking with prominent overseas institutions for innovations in training and research.”
He concluded by saying that the Faculty of Agriculture and the University of Mauritius will play their role fully for sustainable agriculture on the island economy, which has laid out the ambition of becoming sustainable within the framework of the Maurice Ile Durable (MID) concept.
For his part, the pro-chancellor and chairman of the UoM Council, Soodursun Jugessur, drew focus on the sustainability of the island economy.
“Today the survival of our race, and especially of the generations to come, depends on actions we take in terms of education, research and promotion of innovative initiatives and practices in areas that matter for survival,” he stated.
“It is high time for us to move to what is known as Climate-Smart Agriculture and reduce our carbon footprints. The future is in our hands, so lets us think global and act local.” he added.
As the guest of honor, Navin Ramgoolam praised the prestigious institute that UoM has become since the father of the nation, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, struggled to make his long term vision for the island, a concrete reality.
He also recounted how the School of Agriculture started in 1914 thanks to the far-sighted vision of some farmers who wanted to create an experimental farm.
According to him, the University has played an efficient role in the development of Mauritius thus far, to enable the island to become a sustainable economy.
“Many countries have shown us that GDP growth is closely linked to tertiary education. Now, it is our responsibility to provide equal opportunity to all and make the country knowledge driven,” he noted.
In this quest to drive the economy forward, Ramgoolam said that we should be ready to move from the traditional ways of learning and be ready to implement a new program of studies to raise skill levels.
He emphasized that the university should be ready to inculcate in its students a passion for knowledge so as to motivate them to achieve bigger and better things, in line with the economic, social and technological needs of the country.
However, in order to attain this objective, the Prime Minister concluded that he is fully aware of the pressing need to develop the human capital of the country.
- By Cecilia Samoisi and Marie-Lorry Coret