Mauritius - Educational System—overview
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The Education Act of 1993 requires children between the ages of 5 and 12 to attend six years of primary school; enrollment is 98 percent, and roughly 50 percent of all students are female. The official language of instruction at all levels is English.
Nearly 78 percent of four-year-old children also attend preprimary schools. Students must pass a national examination, conducted by the Mauritius Examination Syndicate (MES), to receive a Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) and gain admission to secondary school. All students at the secondary school level—enrollment is 60 percent of children aged 12 to 19 years, 51 percent of whom are girls—attend three years of general courses (lower level). An additional two years of courses (upper level) prepare secondary students to earn one of two diplomas: the Cambridge School Certificate or the Cambridge Higher School Certificate. The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, along with the MES, oversees the final examinations for secondary students. Only 15 to 20 percent of all students earn a Higher School Certificate, while less than 2 percent of all students actually enroll at an institution of higher learning.
Private schools are commonplace in Mauritius mainly because the Education Act allows any business or individual in the country to create a primary or secondary school. The Private Secondary Schools Authority oversees government funding to private institutions. Private postsecondary institutions must be approved by the Industrial and Vocational Training Board and are subject to audit by the National Accreditation and Equivalence Council.
State-owned secondary schools are all equipped with a minimum of ten computers; private schools seek out grant funding for instructional technology. Similarly, science classrooms in state schools are furnished with laboratory implements, while private institutions receive loans to fund the purchase of similar equipment. Textbooks are free to all primary school students. Secondary school students must pay for their texts, which are standardized at the lower level and selected by school-based curriculum committees for upper level courses.