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During her speech on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, at the National Assembly, Deputy Prime Minister Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun welcomed the allocations and measures taken in the 2024-25 Budget with regard to the Ministry of Education for which she is responsible.

“They do not find the courage to come and listen to our arguments…” These are the words used by Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun to criticize the absence of opposition members as she began her intervention in the debates budgetary. She continued her speech by pointing out that this is the fifth Budget of this government and that there is consistency in what is done, at all levels.

“Despite the hazards of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maurice was able to get back on his feet and meet the challenge. Everyone is included in the Budget through the measures taken and the social programs,” argued the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education.

Up to Rs 60,000 tax deduction

A tax deduction of up to Rs 60,000 applies to parents whose children attend fee-paying private institutions. “Our government does not believe in a single school. We believe in the diversity of the offer at the level of educational institutions and this has always been the case. The choice of educational institution is up to the parents,” said Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, before adding: “We will continue to offer a range of opportunities so that each child can realize their potential. »

An envelope of Rs 21 billion is planned for the education system, according to budgetary allocations. “From pre-primary to tertiary, this Budget provides the means to eliminate all barriers. It is in a spirit of fairness that this government has introduced free pre-primary education. This measure reduces the gap between children from different backgrounds. It gives access to all our children, without exception, to a better education,” explained the minister. This measure will benefit 84% of children.

Private colleges

As for the funding granted to private colleges, it has been doubled. It increased from Rs 415 million in 2014 to Rs 889 million in 2024. “The funds have never decreased. The authorities are demanding more transparency and accountability from these schools in the use of Grants,” added Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun.

During her speech, she also reviewed the allocations these colleges benefit from. She clarified that it is not the intention of the authorities to interfere in the management of schools. However, she warned that the funds obtained must be used for the projects for which they were intended. “The PSEA (Private Secondary Education Authority; Editor’s note) will work according to the conditions of its mandate and in compliance with the principles of ‘good governance’,” she assured.

Extended Program

Regarding the Extended Program, Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun recalled the philosophy of Nine-Year Continuous Basic Education, which consists of providing all children with an inclusive education. She explained that an assessment has been carried out with the students concerned and that corrective measures are being taken.

The Mauritius Examinations Syndicate has introduced a new form of assessment for these students. They will also be entitled to School Based Assessment. At the end of the exams and depending on their results, they will be able to either continue their school career in the “mainstream”, thus moving to Grade 10, or go to one of the centers of the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development. If they do not pass, they will have the opportunity to follow the “Bright Up Program”.

Free exam fees for repeaters

The minister asks young people to make the necessary effort to succeed. Addressing the situation of students who have obtained less than five Credits in their first attempt and who wish to take part in the School Certificate (SC) exams, the opportunity will be given to them. She explained that the government gives a second chance to those who want to succeed. It is the State which will cover the costs of the exams for repeaters of the SC and those of the Higher School Certificate.

Allowances

Parents with children up to three years old will receive an allowance of Rs 2,500. “This is enormous support to ensure a good start from early childhood,” pointed out Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun. She added that the “School Allowance” of Rs 2,000, intended for children aged three to 10, will also provide additional support to parents.

Grants to scholarship holders

The amount allocated for scholarships is increased by 50%. Holders of the HSC Professional Scholarship will thus benefit from a full scholarship.

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