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QUALITY ASSURANCE IN TERTIARY EDUCATION IN MAURITIUS. by Goolam Mohamedbhai Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Mauritius. Fact Sheet On Mauritius. Small island in the Indian Ocean Govt.: Parliamentary democracy Independent from UK since March 1968 Area: 2000 km 2

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Goolam Mohamedbhai

Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Mauritius

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Fact Sheet On Mauritius

  • Small island in the Indian Ocean

  • Govt.: Parliamentary democracy

  • Independent from UK since March 1968

  • Area: 2000 km2

  • GNP/capita = US $ 4 600

  • Literacy rate = 86%

  • National strategy for transforming Mauritius into a Knowledge Hub & Centre for Higher Learning

  • Foreign promoters encouraged to set up branch campus in Mauritius

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Overview of Tertiary Education Sector

  • Institutions broadly classified as public and private sector, and regional

  • Tertiary Education Institutions (TEI’s) also referred to as post-secondary institutions – offering postgraduate, undergrad, diploma & certificate courses

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Public Sector Institutions

  • 2 Universities: Univ of Mauritius, Univ of Tech Mauritius

  • Mauritius Institute of Education, Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Mauritius College of the Air (distance learning college)

  • 2 Polytechnics: Swami Dayanand Institute of Management, Institut Superieur de Technologie

  • Mauritius Institute of Health (under Ministry of Health)

  • Industrial & Vocational Training Board

  • Total enrolment = 11,700, 55% at Univ of Mauritius, the oldest & largest institution, operational 1968

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Private Sector Institutions

  • 35 local, privately established institutions

  • 50 overseas institutions delivering education through local bodies

  • Characteristics of private institutions:

    part-time programmes; market-driven, ‘soft’ subjects; small cohorts; offer foreign courses under franchise agreement; agents for DE institutions overseas

  • Enrolment: approx. 7 500, 39% of total enrolment in Mauritius, and increasing continuously

  • No foreign university branch so far

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Regional Institutions

  • Institut de la Francophonie pour l’Entrepreuneuriat, set up by AUF, caters for African region

  • SSR Medical College, Indian institution affiliated to Univ of Mauritius

  • Mauras College of Dentistry, Indian institution affiliated to Univ of Bhavnagar in India


    Mauritian students studying overseas = 6 800

    Total tertiary education enrolment rate = 20%

    Plan is to increase this to 35%

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  • Tertiary Education Commission (TEC)

  • National Accreditation and Equivalence Council (NAEC) (now defunct)

  • Mauritius Qualifications Authority (MQA)

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1: Tertiary Education Commission

  • Created 1988 as a parastatal body under Ministry of Education

  • Main responsibilities at time of creation:

    Plan, develop, coordinate TEI’s under its purview; allocate govt funds; ensure accountability & optimum use of resources

  • Institutions under TEC’s purview:

    1. Univ. of Mtius 2. Mtius Inst. of Education 3. Mahatma Gandhi Inst. 4. Mtius College of the Air; 5. (later in 2000) Univ of Tech Mtius

  • In 1988, no private institutions & QA not yet applicable

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  • Established by Govt in 1997 under Ministry of Education

  • Main objective was to ensure quality education in Mtius

  • To establish equivalence of qualifications of institutions within & outside Mtius

  • To undertake academic audits and accreditation of institutions

  • Was meant to serve as the QA agency in Mtius

  • But never really fulfilled its mission

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3. Mauritius Qualifications Authority

  • Set up in 2001 under Ministry of training & HRD

  • Main objective was to evaluate & recognise qualifications awarded by technical/vocational training institutions but this was not explicit

  • MQA started to also evaluate post-secondary qualifications

  • Overlap in responsibilities between MQA & NAEC (recognition of qualifications)

  • Overlap also between MQA & TEC (public TEI’s)

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  • MQA Act amended, to be responsible for only technical/vocational institutions

  • NAEC demolished, all responsibilities passed on to TEC

  • TEC explicitly given responsibility for ensuring quality of public & private post-secondary institutions

  • TEC Act amended to give it the following additional responsibilities w.r.t. post-secondary institutions:

    1. register & accredit private institutions

    2. recognise & determine equivalence of qualifications

    3. promote quality through QA & accreditation mechanisms

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TEC & QA (Public Institutions)

  • Set up QA & Accreditation Division in 1997

  • Quality Assurance Cmttee (with rep from each TEI)

  • May 1997: major seminar “QA in Higher Education” with overseas academics

  • 1999: “Framework for QA in Tertiary Education Sector in Mtius” published to guide TEI’s

  • 1999: workshop on “Setting Up of Institutional QA Systems” for all TEI’s

  • TEC’s model is for each TEI to set up its own QA system. “Guidelines for Establishment of QA Systems” published

  • TEC defines quality as ‘fitness of purpose’ and ‘fitness for purpose’

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External Auditing of Public TEI’s by TEC

  • 2000: “Guidelines for Self Assessment” published

  • 2004: “Quality Audit Handbook” published

  • Procedure for external audit:

    -TEI to prepare self-assessment portfolio

    -Portfolio assessed by external audit panel set up by TEC in consultation with TEI

    -Panel visits TEI over 3-4 days, then submits its report to TEI through TEC, for comments

    -Panel finalises report & submits it to TEC & TEI

    -TEI to act on recommendations & later informs TEC of outcome of actions taken

  • An aggrieved TEI may appeal to Minister who sets up an ad hoc committee to hear and decide on the case.

  • 2005-07: First cycle of auditing of TEI’s by TEC. Univ of Mtius audited in May 2005.

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Accreditation of Private Institutions by TEC

  • Any PI has to register with TEC which then accredits its academic programmes

  • “Programme Accreditation” & “Guidelines for Programme Accreditation” published

  • Accreditation Panel chaired by TEC Director & includes 2 subject specialists

  • Panel may grant provisional accreditation subject to quality control by TEC during the programme period. Subsequently accreditation may be granted for the full duration of the programme

  • Panel may also refer back an application with recommendations for resubmission, or reject it

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QA at Univ of Mauritius

  • UoM started putting QA system in place in mid 90’s – in parallel to TEC’s initiatives

  • QA under Pro-VC for curriculum development

  • Guidance from a number of foreign academics

  • Strategic Plan (1999-2004) prepared

  • Review of all academic processes started

  • University Quality Assurance Team (UQAT) set up under Senate. Also FQAT in Faculties, UQAT in Administration

  • Outcome: QA documents detailing procedures, questionnaires, evaluation forms, etc.

  • 2002: QA Office with full-time Director appointed

  • 2004: Self assessment & mock internal audit undertaken

  • 2005: External Audit by TEC

  • 2006: Draft Audit Panel’s report received & views submitted. Final report awaited for recommendations

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Some Issues for Consideration

  • Why was NAEC unable to function? Lack of leadership, poor governance structure, insufficient resources

  • Should technical education not be under Ministry of Education?

  • Dividing line between technical and post-secondary education is blurred. Hence, still overlap between MQA & TEC. Different Ministries complicate matters further.

  • TEC still responsible for channelling govt funds to public TEI’s. Conflict of interest in TEC being also a QA agency?

  • No legal provision for TEC to charge fees for accreditation

  • Should Director of TEC chair Programme Accreditation Panel for PI’s?

  • Serious lack of trained human resources in QA at TEC & TEI’s

  • Preparing for external audit takes enormous institutional effort -time & paperwork. Academic work suffers, especially in a small institution. Too many Cmttees set up at U of Mtius

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