Education Sectors

Pre-primary education
Pre-primary education embraces children between 3 and 5 years old. The number of children in pre-primary schools was 33,901 out of which 51% were boys and 49% girls. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (number of students enrolled per 100 population aged 4-5) works out to 97% with an average of 13 pupils per teacher. The number of pre-primary schools in March 2011 was 1,018, that is 985 in the Island of Mauritius and 33 in Rodrigues. 75% of these schools were privately run institutions, 18% operating on government primary school premises administered by the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority and the remaining 7% were administered by either Roman Catholic or Hindu Education Authorities or Municipal/Village Councils.

Primary education
As at March 2011, there were 305 primary schools with 116,068 pupils (51% boys, 49% girls). Total staff comprised 8,266 persons with 4,227 General Purpose Teachers and 1,350 Oriental Language teachers. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (number of students enrolled per 100 population aged 6-11) is 100% and the pupil/teacher ratio 27. Children are enrolled in primary school from the age of five and enter Standard I and move automatically up to Standard VI. The system is highly competitive and a two-year preparation starts since Standard V up to Standard VI for the end of primary school examinations, the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE). The CPE is a national examination carried out by the Mauritius Examination Syndicate which devises the syllabus; prepares and prints the examinations papers and does the correction. Five subjects are compulsory and taken into account for the ranking process; English, French, Mathematics, Science, History and Geography, Oriental languages are optional. Children who fail the CPE may have one re-sit. Those who do not pass the CPE at either attempt are not eligible to join the secondary system and may enter the Technical and vocational education. After the CPE exams children are admitted to regional secondary colleges according their zones, those with the best result are admitted in National Colleges. Pass rate for CPE examination increased from 68.1% in 2009 to 68.5% in 2010.

Since 2002 the government has implemented educational programmes in some of the primary schools of the country in order to improve CPE exams results in the low achieving schools. The initiative is now known as Zones d'Education Prioritaires (Z.E.P) and in order to reach its objective, it seeks to involve the whole school community: school staff, parents, NGOs, business and community-based associations.

Secondary education
The CPE determines admission to a secondary college. The child enters college in Form I and progresses through to Form VI, requiring seven years of schooling. From Form I to II internal examination is carried out by the schools. The domains of learning for students from Form I to Form III include: Languages (English, French, Hindi and Other Languages), Mathematics, Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), Technology (ICT, Design and Technology, Home Economics, Design, Clothing and Textiles), Health (Home Economics - Food and Nutrition and Human Development and Physical Education), Social sciences (History, Geography, Sociology) and Arts (Visual Arts, Music and Drama & Dance) and Cross curricular Domains of Learning. In the past there were no major nationally devised curriculum since each school has to plan its work according to the level of the students. In 2012, the National Assessment At Form III was introduced for students in Form III, this examination is carried out by the Mauritius Examination Syndicate.

When students reach Form IV, they have to choose at least six major subjects for their Cambridge School Certificate (SC) which is the GCE 'O' Level examinations. This examination is carried out in Form V.
This is followed by a two-year upper secondary education (Lower VI and Upper VI) ending with the Cambridge Higher School Certificate (HSC) that is the GCE 'A' Level. Students have to specialise in 3 main subjects and 2 subsidiary ones for the A Level examination. HSC Students have the option to compete and those with the best results win scholarship for their tertiary education. The O-Level and A-Level examinations are carried out by the University of Cambridge through University of Cambridge International Examinations, which devises the syllabus; prepares and prints the examinations papers and does the correction, in conjunction with the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate.

At March 2011, there were 180 schools providing secondary education in the academic stream. The secondary school enrolment was 115,289 (48% boys, 52% girls) and the number of teachers was 7,873. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (number of students enrolled per 100 population aged 12-19) works out to 70% and the pupil/teacher ratio 15. For the Cambridge School Certificate (SC), the pass rate improved slightly from 77.6% in 2009 to 77.8% in 2010. For the Cambridge Higher School Certificate (HSC), it decreased from 78.8% in 2009 to 78.3% in 2010.

Tertiary education
Tertiary education which started in 1924 with the College of Agriculture has since developed into a diversified system, composed of public, private, regional and overseas institutions catering for a wide range of courses and programmes. The provision of tertiary education extends beyond the local tertiary education institutions given that a significant number of Mauritian students either go overseas or resort exclusively to the open learning mode for pursuing their studies. Tertiary level enrolment went up by 6.9%, from 41,484 in 2009 to 44,334 in 2010.

Tertiary institutions in Mauritius includes colleges, universities, Institutes of Technology/Polytechnic and other technical institutions. The country's two main public universities are the University of Mauritius and University of Technology. Universities, as in most countries worldwide, have three stages: Bachelor's (undergraduate), Master's (graduate), and Doctoral degrees. Undergraduate stage lasts for at least four years and graduate stage lasts for five years after completion of secondary education or one year after obtaining a bachelor's degree. The third stage of higher education results in obtaining a Ph.D. Degree. Private institutions and overseas institutions/bodies deliver tertiary-level programmes mostly in niche areas like Information Technology, Law, Management, Accountancy and Finance. A number of the institutions are overseas with their provisions made available through the distance education mode.

Technical and vocational education
The Government has undertaken to ensure provision of educational facilities to students till they the reach the maturity age of 16 to enter the world of work. In this context the pre-vocational sector caters for around 4,000 students ejected at the end of the primary cycle, in view of their inability to meet the established benchmark for promotion to the mainstream in the secondary sector. Since its conception in the late 90s, the Prevocational Education has been providing a second chance to pupils who have failed the CPE or who are above 13. The children previously completed a 3-year program in secondary schools in line with the National Trade Certificate Foundation Course, but this has now been supplanted by a four-year technical and vocational education and training programme. Such programmes are offered by the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development. Pre-vocational education was dispensed in 126 schools in March 2011 with an enrolment of 7,270 students (64% boys, 36% girls) and 634 teaching staff. The pupil/teacher ratio was 11.

In addition to providing pre-vocational and vocational education and training options for early school leavers, institutions of technical and vocational education also provide further education and training for greater employability and career skills enhancement as well as practical training in a number of fields.