Port Louis (MAURITIUS), 15 November 2015: Mauritius is slowly raising its position as a prime destination of higher learning hub of Africa and Asia. The successful launch of a new campus by UK-based Aberystwyth University in Mauritius is a seal of approval towards this dream.
Mauritius is strategically located as far as higher education is concerned. The country lies at the cross-road between the Africa, Asia, Middle-East and Europe and it is ideally positioned to attract international students. Those who cannot travel up to UK for higher education can definitely come to Mauritius. Mauritius is a land enjoying political stability and provides a safe have for international students.
The Government of Mauritius and its official body, Tertiary Education Commission, have ambitious plans to establish the country as an international knowledge hub and attract 100,000 students to study there over the next decade. Some critics term it as a lofty goal. Nonetheless, the nation is well placed to make significant inroads into meeting its goals. The success of UK-based Universities at Mauritius is going to inspire more Universities to take a Mauritian-bound trip. These include Universities from Europe, Middle-East (branch campuses of US, UK universities) and India. The tax haven status of the Mauritius is also an added attraction. The low-fee structure will be the major attraction for the International students. The average fee per year here will be around $6,000 for Masters Programme.
Currently, around 50 percent of school leavers enroll in higher education, and the government has a goal to increase that to 70 percent within five years. The island enjoys relative wealth compared to its African neighbors and it is focused on developing human capital both domestically and internationally.
Indian controversy is over
Earlier, some Universities from India, which opened branch campuses in Mauritius had been declared unauthorized by University Grants Commission (UGC), statutory body of India to decide the standards of higher education. To start an overseas branch campus an Indian University needs five-years of history of operations in India and need a mandatory advance clearance from UGC. The controversy started with India-based Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (EIILM) opening its branch campus in Mauritius without taking mandatory clearance certificate from UGC. This Sikkim-based University is owned by Sunil Jeetah. Sunil is the brother of Rajesh Jeetah, Minister of Tertiary Education, Science Research in Mauritius. But when the reputed Indian University, The Amity Institute of Higher Education, opened its branch campus in Mauritius has helped to regain Mauritius’ reputation back in India.
Also, last year, agreements have been entered between India’s tertiary education body, Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and Mauritius’ Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) for mutual recognition of educational qualifications.
UK Universities in Mauritius
When Mauritius claimed independence in 1968, the University of Mauritius was the only university in the country, but today students have a choice of 65 institutions. Among these are a number of branch campuses from British universities that would teach you in English and have the same quality of course as those studied in England. All these branch campuses are regulated by Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) in Mauritius, and would give you a transferable and truly international degree.
Founded in 1872, Aberystwyth is the oldest university in Wales. It is often ranked in the top ten UK universities for teaching quality by The Times Higher Education’s Student Experience Survey and is moving up in the World University Rankings, currently being in the top 150 for Politics teaching.
ABERYSTWYTH University’s new campus on the paradise island of Mauritius has welcomed its first students. Teaching began at the new campus on Friday, 16 October 2015, as the new building welcomed its first intake of undergraduates to its courses.
Aberystwyth University, which worked with Boston Campus Limited to build the modern campus which can cater for up to 2,000 students. The Mauritius branch offers undergraduate courses in Computer Science, Business, Accounting and Finance, and Law, and a postgraduate Masters degree in International Business.
Vice-Chancellor Professor April McMahon said: “The Aberystwyth University Mauritius campus offers an excellent example of how we can enable those who value the quality of a UK degree to study at a regional hub or partner institution in a way that is affordable and accessible to them.”
Boston Campus Limited, which paid for the build of the new campus near the capital Port Louis, will take a 50 per cent ownership stake alongside the university.
The fee income – of up to £6,000 a year per student – will be split equally between the two.
Middlesex University, which began teaching at its Mauritian campus at the beginning of 2010, has grown student numbers every year and now has 735 on its campus.
Middlesex has been a UK-based University started operations since 1992, and in 2005 it opened its first international campus in Dubai. Middlesex University’s branch campuses in Mauritius is located at Vacoas. Vacoas has the reputation of being one of the safest and most prestigious towns in Mauritius, and has its own nature park and good transport links to Quatre Bornes and the beach.
Middlesex’s custom-built in Mauritius attracts home students and international students from places such as Germany and Madagascar. It offers courses across six different schools, such as Advertising, Law and Psychology with Counselling. Students can transfer to the campuses in the UK, Dubai and Malta for part of their course. The total cost of tuition is less than half that of the same degree in England.
The University of Wolverhampton, which set up in Mauritius in 2012, currently has 123 students.
The University of Wolverhampton opened as a college in the 1800s and but was only granted University status in 1992.
The Mauritius campus is based in Cybercity in Ebene, and was launched in 2012. It is run in partnership with the Ramnath Jeetah Trust, and the second group of students will be graduating this year. The University of Wolverhampton developed a number of law courses for the Ebene campus, as well as an MA in Education and a sports management course. Prior to the Ebene campus opening, there were a total of 150 Wolverhampton graduates who came from Mauritius, whereas now there are 120 students currently studying at the Ebene campus alone.
The university alumni include Nando Bodha, Mauritius’ former Minister for Tourism & Leisure, and Yatindra Nath Varma, the Attorney General of the Government of Mauritius.
UCLan’s expansion across the world is impressive. University started its Mauritian campus since 2011 at Ebene. The campus is run in collaboration with UOM Enterprise, which is a part of a trust set up by the University of Mauritius.
The quality of education given by UCLan has been praised by the law community in Mauritius. It currently caters to a very small number of students: The last graduation for the LLM International Business Law course had just 21 students. There are currently only six courses on offer, with three of those focusing on French and English law, and the others looking at Construction and Surveying. There is a focus on offering programmes that are seen as vital for the country’s needs. Application is done directly to the Admission Office in Mauritius and involves an application form and a MUR 1000 application fee. Tuition fees are £5000 per year, which is about £4000 less than the UK costs.
Opposition from UK
There are some protest voices are being raised in UK against setting up campuses in Mauritius. The most distinct voice of dissent came from supporters of Pantycelyn. They have launched a petition calling on Aberystwyth University to stop investing in Mauritius because of its status as a tax haven with a poor human rights record.
Branch campuses from other countries
The Mauritius Government has established an exclusive campus for higher education named Medine Education Village for specially serve the need of international students and universities. Current tenants at completed sections of the development include France’s prestigious ESSEC Business School, the Sorbonne-ASSAS International Law School, and Centrale Nantes – a prestigious French ‘Grande Ecole.’
Other institutions that currently lease space at Medine include the VATEL International Business School of Hotel and Tourism Management, SUPFINO International University, and ESCP Europe Business School, one of France’s oldest and most prestigious management schools. The TALENTS training center opened in 2011 on the Pierrefonds campus, offering a blend of vocationally and professionally oriented courses in addition to executive leadership and management training through Hemsley Fraser, a UK-based short-course provider.
Outside of the Medine campus, there are 11 public institutions and approximately 50 private institutions offering programs through a mix of local provision, distance learning and international franchising agreements.
(Writer of this article, Gireeshkumar Balan, is also the editor of Edubeanz. E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org)