This is a nice normal distribution curve and this is what we expect of the performance of a representative sample of students when having an exam: a few hopeless cases, lots of average students and a few very bright persons.
Here is what we have instead in Mauritius:
This is taken from pg. 24 of theÂ Draft Education & Human Resources Strategy Plan for 2008-2020 published yesterday by the Mauritian Ministry of Education. Here is a revealing quote:
“The above results from the academic deficit starting from the primary sector. An analysis of the distribution of pupilsâ€™ pass rates at the CPE level over the past six years indicates that the distribution of scores is â€œU-shapedâ€ instead of the expected normal bell-shaped distribution associated with the distribution of intelligence in the population. Indeed, the distribution of pupil achievement scores is very unusual. This is depicted in Figure 4 […]. Mauritius produces a significant number of primary school graduates with â€œAâ€ scores and a significant number with â€œFâ€ scores and a low number of pupils with the intermediate scores of â€œBâ€ to â€œEâ€.Â
Â The â€œU- shapedâ€ curve indicates that the system has developed into a two track-system and characterises an important inequity in learning pupil achievement.”
The Ministry of Education of the Republic of Mauritius is officially saying that our primary education system level has developed into a two track-system. I would say that the same thing is happening at secondary and tertiary levels.
The Minister is not saying that rich people are on the right and poor people on the left. Instead, he is saying that this U-shape curve is in total contradiction with the normal distribution of intelligence in the population. This means that CPE exam do not test the intelligence of young Mauritians. What does it test? God knows.
Personally, I’m disgusted. We are destroying the future of countless young people every year and wasting a lot of money on lots of scholarships for people who don’t come back to contribute (or have the decency to respect the terms of the bond they signed.)
Time for change I would say. Is this the Obama effect I was hoping for?
I don’t have time to read the report, but is Maths & History & Geography so hard? :(
Pupils are either very bright or very stupid? That’s worrying… :(
Reform is crucial, but will the MOE be brave enough to implement it (& hope for the next gov not to reject it?)
… this is what happens most of the time..the system… the system.. :p
reform, i don’t see things to start changing so soon…
though, i wouldn’t ever bet on marks to classify those people.
but putting results for each subject is a good enough analysis.
and i tend to agree with you about the rich/poor thing.. its noticeable, though it might also be because most rich parents have studied more which in turn helps their children at home with homework or explaining more.]
i never understood why people work bad in geography & history, used to like that [and also used to get good marks in it :p]. (unlike french which i didn’t like neither did ever understood).
anywayz back to the topic, i agree fully on this..
while the perfect situation would have been to treat all cases specially [which is in practical impossible], i believe, we shud have a system with “cour de ratrapage” and stuff like that..and also, more outings that shows the children where exactly, what they learn, is being put in practice.
but then, in most of the systems out there.. the ones above consider the ones below as figures and stats.. nothing more.
yes we should put emphasis on those who DON’T come back and DON’T respect the bond.
but i still would like the scholarship to be around.. am sure it can be useful to some poor fellow one day who will really be in need for one scholarship.
As a matter of fact, Selven, in some countries like in France where I studied, scholarships are only given to needy students i.e. targeting is done.
Mauritius being so much poorer than France should not be “plus royaliste que le roi.” This is common sense :-)
Anyway, the above graph shows that the selection we’re doing at CPE level is bad as it is not based on the level of intelligence of the child. This means that we’re potentially destroying a lot of our young Einsteins every year. A qui profite le crime?
“or have the decency to respect the terms of the bond they signed”
They can cancel the bond by paying Rs 500 000. This sum has not increased for years and remain fix. Mauritian taxpayers pay on average Rs 3 million plus interests for each laureate (Laureate with SSR scholarship can get up up to Rs 6 million). And this sum increases year by year due to increases in tuition fees and cost of living. Is it impossible for them to pay a sum of Rs 500 000? Remember, it is only at the end of their studies that they`ll have to pay that Rs 500 000. While studying abroad, they can work part-time to get this money. They also have the opportunity to work full-time during their 4 months of vacations of each year.And adding to that the fact that they are getting paid in foreign currencies and high wages (not mauritian salaries). Their parents can also give them some money if they need. At the end, this bond can easily be cancelled by these laureates IF they decide to pay this sum back. Most of the time, when they don`t come back, MOE does not know their whereabout to claim that Rs 500 000. Figure out yourself who is losing.
What about the ‘fout-pas-malisme’ of our current youth vis-a-vis our current education system, their school work,etc? Education is provided free of charge from primary schooling till tertiary schooling (and we’re substantially rewarded with free transport too). Get my point?
Most of our parents financed their secondary schooling in large parts to the sacrifices of our grandparents. And parents of today are assured and know well in advance, courtesy of our ultra socialist governments of some kind, that they won’t spare a single cent (except for school materials of course, the mobile phone and other so-called necessities…) for the education of their offspring.
Now just think of how much is invested by the government and how much is wasted? Only if one could understand the real ‘cost’ of education…
As for the scholarship thingy, I can assure you that I competed several years back and came very close to winning a scholarship myself (it’s just fate: either you get it or not). Sometimes I ask myself if it’s worth the cost by the government to finance their undergraduate studies? OK, if the ‘poor’ guy wins it, it’s fine but HSC scholarships have almost always been awarded to the well-off… I can’t blame them… they just happened to become laureates in a system which does not discriminate against them ;-)
The child if he continues to study and study has to eat, and all this at the expense of the parent, besides there are other cost such as you mentionned.. over the long run this is a huge sum of money .. :p am am sure the child feels guilty about that and the fact the he is not contributing anything … [specially if he is going for further studies]… atleast i feel like that :p. [feel like a leech].
The government needs to invest in children.. this is pretty normal (you have a business, you need to take risks), but then i do agree that do spend :p inefficiently.
I guess this is a matter of luck and also, less stress on the “well-off” child, since the later doesn’t have to worry about the fact the s/he’s leeching.
BUT, this in no way should mean that the “well-off” child doesn’t deserve the scholarship… it might sound unfair, but then, this is like a game, if the guy won it, then its fair he is awarded it.. though in no way this makes him/her any superior … coz after all… s/he’s only human :D
I stumbled on your blog regarding the Mauritian educational system. It is a sad state of affairs, however, I don’t think that all the blame should lie with the government.
I remember the days when I would get home and my parents would make sure that I understood what my teachers were trying to cram into my head. It was all done in a a very informal and playful manner. I was pretty lucky in the way my parents brought us up.
Now fast forward 20 years down the line. Ok I don’t live in Mauritius anymore, but this doesn’t mean that I have no interest in its educational system. After I finished my A levels I went on to teach at New-Eton college during my gap year.
I remember saying to my dad then that the educational system will collapse on itself. It was simple enough for me to realise that the elitist system we have only favours those lucky enough to have gone to our star schools. This includes yourself, your wife and myself. We are products of this elitist system. I became almost ashamed to be a product of this system.
My classmates could not understand when I kept going on about how it wasn’t the other kids that were stupid but our system. I had a teacher who once said to me:
“No one cares what results you get, no one knows who you are.” The fact was I knew who I was, but a statement like this can destroy a child.
In New-Eton, I realised that there were no thick children: we had to find a way to make things more interesting to them. To make things less tedious. I was teaching English Literature, and to my horror all they had on their curriculum was some sort of vocabulary exercise while reading Dickens.
Now Dickens is pretty bleak, and to turn it into a mere vocabulary exercise was absolute torture for these kids. I turned this around and made the experience more fun.
Education can be fun, and I think we need to create that sense of wonder within children regarding the ability to read. We have forgotten that reading and understanding things makes us independent.
I believe things haven’t changed much back home: Teachers tend to digest everything for us and we are fed the lines and try our best to learn by heart.
I never found this a satisfying way to move forward, hence my many run ins with a number of teachers. I was even told by a Maths teacher to stop wasting his time and stop coming to his class. I didn’t top, he did. His replacement was a gem of a teacher and made things fun and interesting, landing me an A.
I know that people like yourselves are trying to make a difference. I think we need to teach teachers how to take pride, not in the number of kids they manage to get A and A+ but rather the number of kids they manage to actually teach something to.
Education is a long term process not the was in Mauritius where people make you learn things by heart and regurgitate it at exams time. There is no pride in creating clones, but rather individuals. I had some excellent teachers too, who allowed me to realise that nothing was impossible.
However, I do believe that parents play a pivotal role. I have lots of little cousins back homewho are going through the system right now. Their results are on the wrong side of the graph you displayed. They are from relatively wealthy families and attend the star schools.
The reason they are failing is simple: their parents allow them to watch TV until 10-11 every night because it keeps them quiet, or even to do their home work while watching TV. I think that it’s a cop out on your responsibilities. Instead of the learning process being an discovery experience, they are already given the impression that it’s something that they HAVE TO do.
Reading books: We used to love reading stories and enjoyed every book. Children back home are now being beaten into reading books. And the shouting! The shouting is horrendous. I’ve also witnessed a bright little girl being made to attend private tuitions for her year AND a year ahead of her in primary school.
Where is the fun gone? No wonder she’s constantly tired and has no interest in educating herself but rather to learn by heart and repeat after whoever she has to repeat after…
It is a sad state of affairs when parents have turned the whole beauty of learning into a dreaded experience…
Teaching is an art, we have to make sure that our children learn that education will allow them to enrich themselves, not bore them to tears and despair.
No more ecoutez et repetez…
Reshmi, this is one of the most insightful comment ever on this weblog :-)
As a father of a 6 years old daughter and a 4 years old son, I can only agree with what you write. The role of the parents is fundamental. And it is true to say that parents now tend to be so tired and stressed after work that (i) they let kids watch TV too much (ii) they shout a lot and (iii) they don’t spend time explaining things to their kids a lot.
Interestingly, I’ve noticed a trend lately. Parents seem to be aware that they are not doing their parent job correctly. And they compensate by giving expensive gifts to their kids (mobile phones, etc.) Ten years ago, no parent would have given a Rs 10,000 device to their 15 years old child but this routinely happens now…
The only solution that I can think of is to work less. Unfortunately, this is simply not possible for a lot of us (why?) One of the joys of being a teacher (or, even, an entrepreneur) is that you can have more time to spend with your family. And, at the end of the day, this is the most important thing in life :-)
I couldn’t agree more. It is true that parents are now buying expensive gifts to make up for the lack of interaction. I think the worse case scenario is when the expensive gift is dangled as a prize for some form of achievement.
This is a long way from when I was a child. Christmas used to mean: school supplies, new shoes, new school bag, story books, and one or 2 toys that we would have been really excited about for the whole year.
I have a little boy who is only just 1. The challenges of parenthood are very much the same everywhere around the world. I am trying to gain as much experience in the IT field as possible so that I can eventually go back to my first love: teaching or rather lecturing in a tertiary institution. I think the childhood years are crucial and I am quite lucky even now that his creche is only a 5 minute walk away from my desk:)
I’m not convinced that parents are aware that they are doing a bad job though. There is a reward culture in Mauritius, you work for something and if you deserve it, you’ll get it. Now all around the world, with the sudden economic boom, this whole ethos was turned on its head: suddenly parents had much more than what they were used to: children got the stuff just because the parents could afford it. It was almost a symbol of the parent’s status or standing in society.
It will be interesting to see how things will go in the current economic climate. The story is the same all over the world. We had some good values 20 years ago. I’m starting to sound like one of my old uncles, who used to think everything was better in the old times:) But the truth is our economic boom changed our behaviour.
I am hoping that things won’t get too hard, but somehow, maybe it will help to strengthen the bonds between parents and their children, because no amount of money can buy back those precious years where we help in shaping their personalities, where we hand over values from our parents and give them a valid reason why they are important. I love the inquisitive nature in children, but if the trust is not built at an early age through interaction and proper education, then that’s where the troubles really start. Expensive gifts don’t buy you that trust.
It will be even worse than the state of our educational system, if children grew up with the value that money can buy you everything, that money is the new god.
I’ve always believed that we are all responsible for what happens to us. We chose democracy so that we could choose our leaders, we should take responsibility if the government we chose is failing us. The educational system in Mauritius has always favoured the few at the top of the social pyramid. Unfortunately, our educational system also favoured building clones. Very few of us broke the mould, and fewer still decided to make a difference.
I do admire what you are trying to achieve. It helps to see that there are still some people who care and want to make a difference. Mauritius is quickly becoming like the more westernised societies whereby people blame the government for what are their own failings.
As adults a lot of us have abdicated our responsibilities to our elects. This just won’t work, we cannot expect the state to provide the basic values and support system that form part of our duties. As Satre said:”Nous sommes tous responsables de tout”.
We have choices to make everyday, and as adults we have to assess the consequences of what we choose. There is no such thing as not having a choice. There may be situations where all solutions may appear bleak, but we always, always have a choice. What I ask myself is simply: “Can I live with the consequences?”
It’s easier blaming others than to say that we are the ones who are responsible for all that is happening around us. As you wrote, money is quickly becoming the new god. And I find this depressing.
But let’s be positive, things can change. On a small scale maybe, but this is a start. I think the Internet can be a formidable tool to make like-minded people meet and exchange views. Who knows what this can lead to…
there is a teacher in bps fatima goodlands college whose name is mr pravesh he always clap me in class he is very violent there is other child that has pass through that i cant do nothing just stay queit
Did you mean “slap” instead of “clap”? Well why do you stay quiet, why don’t you all go and report to the rector?
the education system is bad
What do you think about childrens who have the capacity to learn, but due to external factors, like battered mothers, and drunkards fathers, are held as outcasts?
Don’t they have the support of this hell-made race of this shit of education?
Kozer kozer kozer…me ki ou p fer pou sanze sa system la, fauder ki ou ene prof? ou dan system educatif/administration pou ou fer kitchoz? better act.
hey, ban jeunes, eski zot ine lire Ombudsperson for children Annual report 2010/2011? Alle lire avan zot vine la. System dan bez.
ki eter sa caca graph la? eski p anvi fer dimoune compran ou sois embete et confuse zot?
Read sylabuss avant. decide what is good and what is excess baggage first then, you come with your graphs and Santa Claus.
Avinash. i’m sorry but its the white truth. no graphs, no statistics. the problem is out there.
Non. premier graph ki eter sa? Ene bos?
Dexieme graph la kuma dire ine passe dan ene crise epilepsy. koz creole man. We need to understand. Thats all.
Thanks, Bake, for your numerous comments :-)
In essence, the Minister of Education acknowledges that the system used in primary schools in Mauritius is not a “normal” system. Half of kids are left out after six years of schooling. The major problem is that it is probable that, within them, are some of the greatest geniuses that the country has ever produced.
The role of education is to make people become productive adults. But it is also about allowing people to fulfil their potential. And our system is clearly not doing that says the Minister.
A solution is to have better teachers using updated syllabi and the more effective means (like tablets and the Web, for example) but, most importantly, the kids should be examined at a much later age. CPE at 11 is way too early as a lot of kids are still kids at that age…
Harish Nunkoo says
It confounds or even dumbfounds me that being such a small population and yet having authorities unable to manage our nation’s educational system!! I think about countries such as India and China, which despite having so many problems like poverty and overpopulation, are still able to do a fairly decent job when it comes to providing education to their citizens! Where have we gone wrong? Or have we intentionally maintained such a system? I teach abroad and I would really be proud to go back to my Mauritius to teach. However, the system in place has always put me off !! Teaching is already hard enough; now having a frustrating educational system will never help. I just hope some day our politicians could put their differences and vested interests aside and start putting our country and its greatly potential people FIRST !! I have just written this and already I am shaking my head with a wry smile. You readers would know what I mean! Good luck .
Avinash Meetoo says
Thanks for this insightful comment. Things need to change and only people can bring that change…