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					                 ADDRESS BY HON D. GOKHOOL, MINISTER OF EDUCATION
                                     & HUMAN RESOURCES



                            Launching Ceremony of the Cite Florida
                                       Pre-Primary School




                            Tuesday 26 February 2008 at 13 00 hrs


                                 Cite Florida, Baie du Tombeau




Hon. Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam Prime Minister


Hon. Satish Faugoo – Minister of Health and Quality of Life


Hon. Devanand Reetoo PPS


Mrs S. K Kistamah Officer in Charge of PSTF


Distinguished guest


Ladies and gentlemen,


Good afternoon


It is indeed a great pleasure more me today, to be with you for the official launching Cite Florida
Pre-Primary, in the presence of Hon. Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam Prime Minister and other
colleague ministers and members of parliament and also for giving me the opportunity to make an
address




The opening of this pre-school centre is line the Government Programme 2005/2010 item 152 that
made provision for the implementation of a phased programme for providing primary schools with a
pre-primary section



You may recall that since taking office, as Minister of Education and Human Resources under the
leadership of Hon. Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam Prime Minister, I indicated to the nation my strong

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commitment and the belief of the present Government that Quality Education and Quality Human
Resources is the key to our survival and development in this global world.


We are determined to work in this direction and we are convinced that whole nation is today fully
aware of the important of this key human transformational process.




We have total faith in all the education family as well as all the parents that we will definitely
succeed in the coming years in providing to our children World Class Quality Education




To enable our children to face the economic, social and ecological challenges of the new world
economic order, we are bringing in fundamental reforms in education with a view of providing a
World Class Quality Education, and this represents a true testimony of our commitment




Many quality initiatives such as the Bridging the Gap Initiatives, the excellence Award, the Innoved
Project, curriculum renewal are today bringing positive outcomes in terms of quality and progress




This government recognises that there is a pressing need today, in the field of Education, to
develop a culture of teaching and learning that aims at excellence. This is indispensable.




To survive as nation, particularly in the current new world political and economic context, Mauritius
cannot afford to have a second class education.




I have been repeating it many times; this government is aiming at nothing less than a World Class
Quality Education.



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We need it today, from the Pre-Primary to the Tertiary, professionals who have the knowledge,
competence and dedication to foster teaching and learning along new pedagogical trends.




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What is this Government’s concern?



We have a clear and achievable National Vision of Education for our children and this vision of
education is guided by the principles of equity, justice and social inclusion.




Education should promote the democratization of the Mauritian Society where every single child
has a rightful place for personal growth and overall development.


Education is the vehicle par excellence that can bring about the necessary transformations at a
personal, community and national levels.


There is today, a national consensus that quality should be the cornerstone of all our educational
endeavours so that young Mauritian may be employable in new sectors of our economy, especially
in view of the fact that our economy is exposed to the fluctuations at the global level.


Our ultimate goal for education is to fully empower the young people of Mauritius to become
rationally autonomous individuals, capable of constantly adapting to changes in all spheres of life,
while maintaining their moral integrity and sense of caring for all the other members of society.




So far we have clearly demonstrated, through the different quality and reforms initiatives that the
Mauritian child is at the centre of this Government’s concerns and we strongly believes that
Education is a potent vector of caring and empowering the child.




Let me once again say it loud our Reform programme is putting our children’s interests first.




My Ministry is working on a comprehensive, holistic and inclusive approach in introducing reforms
on all fronts, from Pre-primary to Secondary, from post secondary to Tertiary, from Prevocational,
ZEP Schools to Children with Special Needs. No children will be left behind and we will ensure that
this become mantra for all those in the education sector.



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Pre-primary education


The Pre-primary Sector is undergoing significant reforms so that it responds to the cognitive,
psychomotor, affective and kinaesthetic, moral and spiritual needs and development of the young
of the child.


It is at Pre-Primary level that we must attend carefully to the needs of the young child so as to
enable him to benefit from the gifts he has been invested with.


We want to ensure that the child can have fun, can dream and enjoy his childhood.


We want the Pre-Primary School to become the place which can compensate for the emotional
neglect that many children nowadays are experiencing in their own family settings.


There was a pressing need to rationalize the pre-primary sector and to ensure that, we have
reviewed the institutional framework. The pre-school Trust Fund, the national agency that
managing the pre-school sector is obsolete


You may recall that under item 152 of the 2005/2010 Government programme, we committed
ourselves to review the role and function of the Pre-school Trust Fund


We have enacted the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority and it is expected that the
institutional framework will ensure an efficient regulation and management of the ECCE sector in
Mauritius.


The pre-school programme guidelines are being reviewed with a view to ensure that there are
strong developmental and pedagogical linkages from home to pre- school, from pre-school to
primary schooling.


The new pre-school guideline for a Pre-Primary Education Programme that is being worked out will
make provision for the following:


        The basic principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
        The cognitive, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic moral and spiritual development of the
         child.
        The cultural diversity of the Mauritian Society
        The need to equip the child with the skills to facilitate learning to read, write and count.




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Our new vision to basic education is focusing on the provision of access to high quality pre-
schooling and ECCE services because we are recognising and acknowledging that:

             Learning starts at birth
             Child development is a continual process from birth through the early primary years
             Early years development provides the foundation for learning in primary school and
              for productive social contribution in later life
             That the pre-conditions for educational quality, equity and efficiency are set in the
              early years
             Developing the best policies and services for early childhood care education and
              development is essential to the achievement of basic educational goals


We have sufficient scientific evidence based on longitudinal researches carried in the field of Pre-
school Education and Early Childhood to confirm that if children are offered high quality pre-school
education and early years enriched programme and care services it fosters:
       Higher education completion rates and better integration to schools and little drops out
       Reduced needs for special education
       Higher marriages rate of young people with more children born in two parents families
       Higher employment rates and earnings
       Higher rates of home ownership, lower crimes rates at both juvenile and adult levels
The Early Childhood stage is the golden age of intellectual curiosity and development in which the
bases of language and social skills are laid


Good quality early childhood care and education sets the foundation for children’s future personal
and educational development.


Children acquire more knowledge and skills, develop a stronger sense of their personal and
cultural identity and learn how to get along with others


The Bridging the Gap Initiative


Within a very short lapse of time, in fact within two years, we have nearly extended the Bridging the
Gap Initiative to all primary schools in Mauritius, Rodrigues and the outer islands.


May I remind you that even the experts of the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of
the Child have in January 2006, during the examination of the Mauritian report ,praised            the
government of Mauritius for such a child friendly project


The project is today highly appreciated and I have no doubt that very shortly, the gap that existed
for years, between the pre-school and early primary schooling will be bridged through strong and
an enriched child centred pedagogical programme and framework.
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I am aware that the PSTF is currently planning to develop a series of initiatives with a view to
develop common understanding between the parents and the educators on the development of the
young child and ensure a smooth emotional and social transition from home to school


All these initiatives are driving us towards the development and provision of a holistic and
integrated ECCE services to all the children of the Republic of Mauritius and this is happening
exactly 40 years after independence


We have the ambition of becoming an ECD Hub for the Region and the African continent. Several
regional and continental consultative meetings and workshops on ECCE have already been
organised in Mauritius


On behalf of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, I wish extend my thanks to the
Chairman of the Trust Fund for the Integration of Vulnerable Group for funding the construction of
the new pre-school block as well as to the Pamplemousse / Riviere du Rampart District Council
supporting this project


Before ending, I would like to quote an extract from the speech of the late Sir Kher Jagatsingh, the
then Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs , under the vision of late Sir Seewoosagur
Ramgoolam as Prime Minister said on the occasion of the inauguration of the building of the
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Mauritius Institute of Education on the 30 January 1978. This was exactly thirty year back and I
quote.


The philosophy that has guided our educational policy is clear. We have always believed that
education is best safeguard of democracy. We are convinced that the health of the country, the
well being of its people and development of its economy are all closely linked to the provision of
education, to each one according to its merit and potential      . But the conceptualisation of our
present approach to the problem has its genesis in the political struggle of our people


Thirty years after, under the leadership Dr N. Ramgoolam as prime minister, we are still forging
our educational reform with the conviction and spirit together with the democratisation of the
economy


Thank you




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