Mauritian Laureate System

So finally the Government has decided to tackle the laureate system. Many I am sure have been waiting for this to happen, even if not quite in that way.

The major change consists of increasing the number of scholarships from 30 to 300. However, the scholarships, will be for undergraduate studies at the University of Mauritius. Moreover, those scholarships will be distributed on a region-wise basis. These are the three main changes affecting the system.

What I think on the matter: The increase from 30 to 300 scholarships is a good one. However, the 30 ones should have remained for studies abroad and the additional ones be granted for studies locally, at an institution of the person’s choice. Why only the University of Mauritius? We have the DCDM and other institutions. I suppose instead of making everything free for them at UoM, a certain sum of money could be given to these students. And don’t forget the facility problem we have at UoM. Well, maintaining the 30 scholarships for studies abroad might cost too much in the end. Can’t they reduce 30 to 10? 10 scholarships for studies abroad and 290 for studies locally?

Furthermore, you can’t force 300 laureates to study here. UoM, I am sure will not offer all the courses these students would choose to undertake. Full MBBS (Medicine)? Aeronautical Engineering?

And distributing those scholarships on a regional basis? Why? HSC exams are undertaken on a national level! Everyone sits for the same papers, so everyone should get an equal chance at those scholarships. I understand maybe the Government wants to give the less fortunate people of certain areas of the country a chance but really it, does not suit a laureate system.

Also, like my little brother pointed out to me, ‘VI 3’ students, that is, those sitting for the HSC exams for the second time must not be allowed to compete. It is not fair for the others sitting for the first time! For obvious reasons!

Anyway, no major decisions have been made yet. There was only a brainstorming session so far. I trust the Minister of Education is listening to all parties and a more proper change will then take place. Because really a change is indeed needed. I, for one, appreciate the Government’s initiative for change.

34 thoughts on “Mauritian Laureate System

  1. “However, the 30 ones should have remained for studies abroad and the additional ones be granted for studies locally, at an institution of the person’s choice.”

    This is typical of people who graduated at UoM and who never survived abroad! Nothing is free in this world and laureates cost tax payers money. The reason behind abolishing the 30 scholarships for studies abroad is to redistribute the money to more students. Mauritius does not have enough resources to simply add more scholarships. Bizin areter ek sa mentalite ki govt kapav nek debourser. It’s simply not possible! However, people who never went abroad to survive on their own seem to remain locked in a dreamland where they think every fantasy is possible.

    Sorry for being blunt and derogatory, I needed to tell this after seen such candid (near-stupid) suggestion.

  2. @Bruno Oh my! 🙂

    Anyway, I think the Government should launch colleges in Mauritius. Accredited colleges offering a wide range of courses which are not currently supplied in UoM, DCDM and the other Technology Institute whatever-its-name-is. Scholarships are good but you cannot restrain the choice given to the lucky grantees. And also, to provide more facilities in obtaining jobs – local or abroad – after the end of the scholarship programme or graduation.

    I don’t know how far or what extent the government’s funds can be stretched to but it’ll be a good start.

  3. @ Bruno: you have a right to express yourself. 🙂 However I don’t understand what you mean by ‘This is typical of people who graduated at UoM and who never survived abroad!’ (?) All through the past years, students have been competing for these scholarships, to go study abroad, especially because the courses they wanted to follow were not available here. Removing that completely, in my opinion, is a mistake. I did suggest that the 30 scholarships be reduced to 10, so as to decrease the cost to the Government. And besides, c pa n kestion de mentaliT ki Gouvernement nek dbourC. Those being awarded the scholarships have parents who are paying taxes and getting that scholarship is no easy feat. They get the scholarships because they deserve it, they have worked hard for it. Scholarships from the Governement is an investment as well. Those awarded scholarships have the duty to come back and contribute to the progress of the country. I know some of them do not come back, but let’s not concentrate on the few, but on the many.
    ‘However, people who never went abroad to survive on their own seem to remain locked in a dreamland where they think every fantasy is possible.’–> i think you are completely unaware of the realities of studying at UoM. You think just because when we get home the food is cooked for us, our clothes washed that it is EASY to be at UoM? that the sacrifices and the hours spent studying is less compared to those abroad? Really Bruno, stop throwing cliches like that around.

    @ Wez: Yeah, I’m all for not restricting to courses being offered only at UoM. Launching colleges is a good idea and there are already some. Last I heard was the Oxford school of Law, don’t know if I’m getting the name right but it concerned law. And there is also a school of engineering.

    • Harish says:

      “I know some of them do not come back, but let’s not concentrate on the few, but on the many.” Actually from the latest statistics from the Ministry it is more than 60% to 65% that don’t come back among the laureates. So we should be concentrating on the many who don’t come back and who are costing all Mauritians a fortune.

      Also sorry, but if they are given an scholarship by the government, it is for them to study something that Mauritius is in need of, which is why the UoM does not offer every courses in the world. If the laureate wants to study something that Mauritius does not need in the near future, then they should not be awarded these scholarship as Mauritius is investing in them.

      You say they have the duty to come back. Don’t make laugh, how many people have been saying that but the fact is that, for majority of them, money and personal ambitions weight more than duty to the motherland in their thoughts. They have no obligations to us, yet we have financing by millions their education.

      Also, why are you saying that they ‘deserve it’? Sorry but it is us that are giving them the scholarship, not that we are obliged especially that it is costing us a huge sum that could have been invested in universities in Mauritius for it to be much better that the state it is today. They pay and take the Cambridge exams and the only thing that they deserve is their As, Bs or whatever their results.

      • Yes, spot on Harish!

        I received an individual comment on my blog from the guy who wrote the following article:

        He is pushing for a lobby against a state scholarships format where 60% of laureates happily use tax payers money for their own benefit, without coming back to serve the country. I think he is right. We should start writing to MPs and voice out our opinion.

      • bertrand says:

        Sorry to troll but only 3 percent of your tax money is spent for education and out of it only about one fifth is used to finance scholarships. This is far from a fortune! What about the fully financed transport facilities offered to people above 60. So, society benefits more from retired old age people than creative youngsters with exceptional cognitive abilities!? I don’t like to judge anyone but stop being a hypocrite.

  4. @Aniisah
    I graduated my BSc from UoM and my MSc from a UK uni. I know both worlds and I know what I am talking about. i was even state sponsored through the State of Mauritius Postgrad Scholarships Schemes to do the MSc and I returned to Mauritius after my MSc.

    I am in a good position to say that UoM graduates who never survived abroad are sissies and locked in dreamland. When I was abroad, I realised nothing is free and you have to survive on your won. I was well aware that it was tax-payers money who was funding me and I returned back to Mauritius as a patriot. This is why I judge these 60% of laureates so harshly and am 100% for abolishing the laureate system. My parents are tax-payers and cannot keep on funding the government for an egoist few who do not return to Mauritius. The stats are there: 60% don’t return. The laureate system should be abolished and I for once agree with the Labour government on this issue.

    • The dodo says:

      Mr Bruno,
      I don’t know how it will help the readers about ur educational path. No one cares if u’ve been to UOM n the UK. And may u didn’t have the chance to stay back there in the UK that’s why u had to come back here.
      Even i finish all my studies n i want to come back to mauritius but unfortunately there’s no one who can hire my knowledege as the field am in there no demand and not in craze in mauritius where as overseas am required to work for big compagnies,
      So what are my choices? Come back to Mauritius n do stuff that am not related to or continue in my field n get more advantage?
      Mr Bruno or u cam back coz a Political Party showed u a dreamland n could b an influent member?
      ANd it’s not because u’ve been to the Uk n Hold a MSC that u can treat people as stupid. U should respect others point of view. U r no better than other
      1 sel lepe 1 sel Nation

      • Dodo, I don’t usually reply cowards who hide behind pseudonyms, but you have made personal attacks against my own person.

        “So what are my choices? Come back to Mauritius n do stuff that am not related to or continue in my field n get more advantage?”
        In the first instance, you should never have been awarded a scholarship to study a subject which is not relevant for Mauritius! My point is, yes reward the best students, but scholarships should only be given to the best students who opt for studies in demand by the Mauritian economy.

        “Mr Bruno or u cam back coz a Political Party showed u a dreamland n could b an influent member?”
        Dan lalit militan, pena recompens. Mo sel but en tan ki militan c servi mo pei, pa rod tiket ou gagn prestig ou ni lot avantag personel. Ban ki rod bout, c cote travaillist ki ou bizin guetter.

  5. To start off, Bruno, you don’t need to be rude when giving your opinion. Aniisah doesn’t kill babies as a hobby 😛 She even suggested that not everything should be given free to those who go to UOM. The additional scholarships do not need to add a lot to the whole expenditure. A small amount of money can go a long way towards encouraging people to pursue tertiary education. Of course, they won’t be given the money as an undeserved gift. You have to work for it. Btw you say the laureate system should be abolished and then talk about UOM students who haven’t been abroad being in dreamland, but if there were no scholarships, very very very few people could actually afford to go abroad and get the experience you are so proud of.

    30 scholarships for studies abroad may sound a lot, but if there is one thing which can be done to alleviate the spending, it’s too reduce the individual laureate awards. Currently, I think the first ranked science side gets close to Rs10million which covers 5 yrs of medical studies. This is insane. The money could reduced to a certain extent so that more people can get access to that money. Of course, we should make sure competition doesn’t become useless by trying to be too fair when redistributing. At the end of the day, better students should get better funding. What I wanted to suggest is only 10 scholarships from around 5million to 1million, the rest get a certain sum which would alleviate the cost of studying in Mauritius at any tertiary institution. We could complain all day about these costs, but these are nothing compared to the billions being wasted on idiotic policies. Here, atleast you are investing in someone’s education, even if 60% do not return, atleast 4 will along with the rest who study in Mauritius. And my parents pay taxes too and I would like the opportunity to win a scholarship. Do you think taxes would go down if scholarships were scrapped?

    Finally, I absolutely despise this wave of regionalisation. Mauritius is tiny FFS!!! What will this actually achieve? Ok maybe give students in rural areas (like myself) more of a chance and be fairer in general. But then, you will start having kids taking advantage of this. I could be living in Rose Hill and I could be bloody intelligent but because of the competition in urban areas, I might think of declaring my residence at being in Pamplemousses and then get the scholarship there! So, rural areas are still losing! There is no need for regions in Mauritius, UK has regions because it’s massive, US is massive, Mauritius is tiny! Let’s not go back to Obeegadoo’s idiotic obsession with regionalisation.

  6. @Bruno: I have graduated from UoM too and I don’t dream all day long. I am sure that I can survive on my own. Even if I am still under my parents’ roof, there are many things that I am responsible for now. You grow up eventually.

    Of course, there is an adaptation period when you leave your homeland, but it does not make you a better survivor pour autant. You cannot even compare. These are just the way people think but things change and things change differently for each individual. Pas generaliser!

  7. You don’t seem to understand: we cannot just give away scholarships because people deserve it. This is tax payers’ money and scholarships should be given ONLY IF THERE IS RETURN ON INVESTMENT. The laureate system is giving away some Rs 120 millions annually (which is 60% of Rs 200 millions). With that sum of money given to the UoM, the national university would have been of a much higher standard.

    We can’t keep on with this mentality of giving away free money to people. Ki li finn travay? Has the laureate created jobs for people in Mauritius when he learned his physics or economics by heart? Has this laureate created wealth in Mauritius? Non, no decent country distributes free give-aways, and I am happy with the Labour party this time. They have my full support on the laureate issue here.

    Actually, this is the reason why I am MMM now, because of Obeegadoo’s reform, and if Dr Bunwaree abolishes the laureate system, he will be even better than Obeegadoo. Sorry, dark conservative forces will never be able to stop progress. You tried once with Gokhool. It didn’t work and Mauritius will head towards the path of reason, like it or not!

    Have a nice day! 😀

    • Return on investment? The govt isnt a business entity, true it has to keep an eye on expenditures. I agree a lot of money is given out and maybe needs to be curtailed a bit, but there should still be scholarships. It’s not really giving away free money. It is called rewarding the most performing students. It is a great incentive. I mean if we start looking at what you call ‘free money’, then maybe education should not be free, let everyone pay, after all, my parents pay taxes and I don’t want some idiot taking it too easy and not studying properly at school. Why does UOM charge admin fees only? Let them charge the full fee for uni. I mean after all, my tax money is going there too, I don’t want anyone to pay less than they should. Why do govt employees get lower interest rate loans? To hell with them! For me, any money that goes towards bettering the lives of people is great, as long as it’s not a budget bursting figure. I say a figure of around 100million is a good way to incentivise the youth to put more efforts in studies and secure a stable future. If you don’t put money in, students become disinterested, less people will go to uni, true the brightest and the richest will still go and that guy in Fond-du-sac who was trying his best to get ranked so that he can have some financial help to go to UOM will have to spend his life working as a labourer.

      The point isn’t amount of ‘free’ money, it’s what happens to the ones ranked after the laureates, Brain drain is always going to happen, but the promise of scholarships makes it such that those who compete for them but miss out on them are still good enough to take the country forward. The problem right now is that it’s too much of a lottery, with the first ranked getting 10million and the 8th science side getting fuck all. If it was better distributed, the incentive would be higher and students would put in more efforts.

      Uni education and funding of it is not the main issue though, it’s college education which sucks in Mauritius. People reach uni without any kind of communication skills or overall personal development. If our secondary and primary schools were better, we wouldn’t give a damn about where 6 laureates went because there will be 2000 capable students behind them who can cut it.

      I will again look at it from another point of view, my parents pay taxes and I would love to be able to compete for a scholarship. I don’t want our taxes to end up in some minister’s pockets as his undeserved salary. I would rather it made someone’s life.

      And finally, Obeegadoo is actually a very intelligent man, he came to one of our awards ceremonies once and he talks very well. But his reforms were too drastic and his regionalisation idea will always make me laugh. But Gokhool was an even bigger idiot, he basically reversed everything, effectively messing up the lives of those who spent one year in Obeegadoo’s system. Education is not something that should be manipulated so often and changed frequently and abruptly. The future of kids are at stake after all!

  8. Panda says:

    @ Nii : Nice post!

    @ Bruno: I disagree completely with you. Surviving in the outside world as we may call it is just dependent on personality and maturity. I have been to UoM and 2 other universities abroad and what I can recollect is that my experience in UoM was a stepping stone to the maturity and sense of judgement I have acquired. Tertiary education is an even greater opportunity for self-grow and I may assume that you have learnt just academics at UoM and did not grow as a person, which is why maybe you qualified the freedom of speech that suggestion is as “near-stupid”

    As for the laureate system, the Nii’s suggestion of keeping 30 laureate for abroad is a good idea as it caters for degrees that cannot be taught in Mauritius an also increase the level of competition among all the students which I fully support. This is the source of active Meritocracy. However the major setback is that they may not return back to the country (maybe because they are sissies in another dreamland Mr.Bruno?) and hence tighten the bond of national scholarship contract.

    Good Article Nii
    More respect for democracy Mr. Bruno
    Less generalisation of UoM students Mr.Bruno.

      • Panda says:

        Mr. Bruno,
        It seems to me that you are very much inclined into freely disgracing people, isn’t it?

        A simple query about my identity and it would have been given as I do not see any where the command to use either real or fake name. I think that even going to UK and having big degrees, you still have blocked your self-growth and dare to mention UoM graduates as sissies.

        Seen that you have publicly exposed that you are MMM, is that what this school of thought has taught you? Tagging people as “coward”,”near-stupid” and the list may be inexhaustible…

        The 40 years of your party s coming and by the likes of you, it seems to be reaching its menopause . . . point to ponder Mister

    • Now I know who you are, I am not surprised by the level of your comment. “The 40 years of your party s coming and by the likes of you, it seems to be reaching its menopause”.

      You are so-like your leader, with the following mentality:

      Le problème, avec Ramgoolam, c’est que la forme ne suffit pas à cacher la vacuité du fond. Dernièrement il a utilisé son excellente technique pour dire une bêtise incommensurable : « il faut du courage pour se suicider. »

      racyn, le septembre 25th, 2009 à 12:39 Dit:

      L’incitation au suicide, c’était lors d’une fête à Belle-Rive, vendredi dernier. Ramgoolam s’emportait contre ceux qui “déforment l’histoire” et les “judas.” Quelqu’un dans la salle, je crois que c’est JBD, lui a fait remarquer que Judas s’était pendu après avoir trahi. A quoi Ramgoolam a répondu que tout le monde ne peut pas aller jusque là. “Il faut du courage pour se pendre!”

  9. @ Panda: I like this part when you say ‘ Tertiary education is an even greater opportunity for self-grow…’ This is one of the aim behind tertiary education anyway. 🙂

    @ Bruno: You don’t sound like you understand that it is not about giving free money to people. Investing in someone’s education is not useless. It pays eventually.

    @ Yashi: I so agree with your input, especially about the wave of regionalisation that you mention. 🙂

    @ the dodo: ‘1 sel lepe 1 sel Nation’ 😉 Cheers!

      • Well it will, if the work environment in Mauritius was good enough to attract laureates to work in them or there were deterrents to working abroad. The Govt has also included a laughable bond on the scholarships, which can easily broken. If this was increased to something more daunting, then everyone will be forced to come back. Say, a laureate would have to pay back half of his scholarship back if he doesn’t come back and work for atleast 10 years. The problem again is not with the money, it’s how Mauritius can benefit overall by offering such incentives.

  10. i’m completely for the abolition of laureate system in its actual form.

    Bruno for once is right, I do not always agree with him 🙂 but there should be some change.

    1. Give more scholarships even if it is to study locally
    2. Those that go abroad should be specialising in a field that will bring something to the country. Do not tell me you are overqualfiied. Then you should not doing these studies. What’s the use of investing in you if the country do not benefit?
    3. Another question is where you will put these students? There are not enough universities in Mauritius
    Even if you build university where will you get qualified lecturers? Bane lecturer faire chaise musical entre UOM, UTM ek CTI a Maurice

    @ Yashi… The government is not a business but it should be run as one. If not there will not be any efficiency.

    And Yashi I do not know about your finance mais leducation tertiare n’est pas donnee a Maurice..never mind abroad.

    Secondary and tertiary education is linked. What’s the use of building 100’s of college if these people won’t have any chance of continuing their studies?

  11. @Joshua (are you Zozua from twitter? lol)

    I agree about the govt being efficient, but ours is a welfare state so there are expenditures which are there to benefit the population at large. As long as they don’t increase our budget deficit to a large extent, I think they are good, especially if they are being put in the future of kids.

    “And Yashi I do not know about your finance mais leducation tertiare n’est pas donnee a Maurice..never mind abroad.”

    I totally agree, I don’t know if I gave the impression that I don’t…

    “Secondary and tertiary education is linked. What’s the use of building 100’s of college if these people won’t have any chance of continuing their studies?”

    Don’t know if this is a reply to one of my long essays! But I don’t think we need more colleges, we just need more quality, better facilities and more investment into the process of deciding what is taught to a child. This will inevitably lead to a better average. Then if one or two laureates decide not to come back, we still have capable students around. The brain drain will be less painful. By the way, giving more local scholarships, which I have suggesting from the beginning (which Miss Aniisah is also suggesting) can only help more students get tertiary education. If the demand is higher, more and more institutions will start emerging. UOM will only be one player in a diverse sector.

  12. Interesting discussion which I launched a few months back in my blog with over 100 comments.

    Difficult to summarize everything here, but I am definitely against this system, especially when the laureates go away with out money without turning back to help our country.
    And you know how much they have to pay back if ever? peanuts, as compared to the amount given to them!

    Anyone interested can follow the discussion here.

  13. The dodo says:

    Mr dodo,
    As i said earlier that one should respect, it’s not being a coward that m using The dodo, it’s the coz i like that nickname.
    How comme you are here to help our country without respecting people of this country.

    Can plz balance this equation for me plz coz may be i’ve not been to uni that’s y i can’t balance this equation

    1 sel lepep 1 sel nation

    • I apologize for being blunt, but I can’t conceive why people think that Government can have limitless resources to fund antipatriots who use tax-payers money to help developed countries. Nothing to do with going to uni or not.

      “How comme you are here to help our country without respecting people of this country.” I did not insult the whole population, I insulted antipatriots who give away money and resources freely to developed countries.

      Actually, it is this mentality who makes me think that I might have made a mistake in coming back to Mauritius in the first place.

      • Antipatriots? I understand the brain drain, which can easily be rectified by a simple measure: pay off half or maybe all of the scholarship if you want to stay overseas to work. But this ‘antipatriot’ thing is not fair. Does this mean those working in Mauritius are patriots?? People look after their own interests at the end of the day, whether they are in Mauritius or abroad. It’s one of the Govt’s shortcomings that they fail to retain laureates to work in the country. Please don’t just label these laureates as antipatriots, a lot of them want to get the best experience they can have by staying abroad. Patriotism is a wholly different thing. It’s not a switch whereby this person is automatically patriot and the other one is not. Brain drain doesn’t happen because people are not patriots, it happens because pastures are greener abroad. I for one do not blame those people to choose better careers for themselves, I blame the Govt for failing to retain them.

        lol sorry I get a bit carried away by this because I have loads of laureate friends and I don’t think any of them mean any ill to their country. It’s just that they can’t expect to develop as much as they would like to in Mauritius. If there is a loophole which makes it possible for them to work abroad, then so be it. As I have said, they earned their scholarship legally and based on meritocracy. The Govt should clean up their act, not the laureates. Otherwise every person leaving the country would be labelled as not being patriot, given they used the infrastructures of the country while growing up only to scamper off abroad for studies and ultimately work. We all know that is simply not true.

  14. Ayushi says:

    Hi.i think that if eventually scholarships will be given only for studying at the UOM, students wishing to study abroad could be given some help in terms of low interests loan etc..i mean that the actual loan scheme for students could be improved.What do u think?thx…

    • We don’t know for sure yet if scholarships will eventually be handed out the new way proposed.

      But yeah, giving low interest loans is kind of a good idea…but attached to that will be many rules and conditions…

  15. NicoQB says:

    Interesting debate.

    I should also like to underline a point:

    Students who have got the best results are not always the most deserving. To a certain level (I’m not generalising though) most laureates benefit from a certain environment which allow them to succeed: an educated, affluent background, the possibility to channel all their efforts towards the goal that is academic success.

    I for one am positive that someone living in precarious conditions, whose family struggles to meet ends meet and yet manages 5As or not even that but simply good grades, will be as deserving if not more than those others.

    @ Yashi: Sorry but quoting you: If there is a loophole [in our system] allowing for a select bunch to benefit instead of the majority, then it is a necessity to correct it.
    I have heard so many times people thinking that meritocracy reward the ones with the best results. I would argue that “absolute meritocracy” rewards those who strived hardest from where they were to what they achieved. d2y/dxsquared instead of dy/dx 😉

    All in all, I agree with Bruno’s obeservations , even though he seems to be a bit rude in expressing himself.

  16. NicoQB says:

    Another thing.

    ELITISM : Good for the individual (forming part of the elite)

    But for the masses, it usually has little to no effect.

    Whereas if the mass is made to be more educated, a more resourceful and capable lot for example by tackling those high numbers of failures at primary level, then the outcome, on the long term for society will be undeniably better.

    By the way this is not me thinking aloud, this is accepted common sense which is advocated by pédagogues.
    If elitism is to be, then it can always exist on a private level, but not using public funding.

    • CVivace says:

      To all,
      I hit this blog by accident and I am impressed and proud to see this level of frank and free exchange between young mauritians! Very sound arguments from all and yes, despite a few harsh words here and there I found you all refreshing.
      Keep it up!

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