Mandates of the MIE
The nature and provision of Teacher Education have considerably evolved since the setting up of the MIE. The MIE keeps abreast with the educational priorities and goals set by the government for the country, as well as with the latest international trends in the field. At its inception, the MIE offered the Teacher’s Diploma Secondary, a professional development programme for teachers of secondary schools, with an ‘A’ level as highest qualification. This was one of the first career progression paths for many who had joined the teaching profession in secondary schools in the late 1960s and later. Indeed, at that point in time, the University of Mauritius did not offer graduate courses in academic subjects taught in secondary schools, and only a few people could afford to go for higher study abroad. The MIE was, in fact, the first institution to offer the opportunity for professionalization as well as a career path for people holding only an ‘O’ or ‘A’ level qualification and who would not have otherwise aspired for an ascending career prospect. It is also noteworthy that the MIE helped to break the dead-end that the teaching profession had reached at that time.
Free secondary education in 1976 created the need for more trained teachers and an expansion of career opportunities in the education sector. In addition, as Mauritius was entering into its second phase of economic development, there was an increasing need for professional teachers to help upgrade the quality of education offered in the country.
The MIE embarked on the provision of undergraduate degree in 1989 with the first B.Ed. programme offered to holders of the Teacher’s Diploma. The degree was awarded by the University of Mauritius as the MIE did not have a degree-awarding status. The MIE was assisted by the University of Nottingham, UK. Several staff members of the MIE benefitted from short-term attachments for professional development over a number of years at the University of Nottingham. The MIE provided a number of professionally trained personnel who assumed key roles in the secondary schooling as educators as well as heads of schools.
In order to open up its range of programmes and respond to the needs of the education sector, the MIE also launched a full-time Teacher’s Diploma followed by a B.Ed. degree as from 2010. This degree is being awarded by the University of Technology, Mauritius. The local universities, which do not have a faculty of education, have been acting merely as the awarding bodies, while the courses have been developed, delivered and assessed by the MIE, adhering to the system in place at the awarding bodies, namely the University of Mauritius for the part-time degrees and the University of Technology, Mauritius for the full-time degree. Moderation has been carried out through the engagement of academics at Professorial level from external universities from diverse countries, including the UK, India, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Reunion Island. With its newly conferred degree-awarding status, the MIE will henceforth be the awarding body for all its degree programmes, but will continue to seek the assistance of external moderators.
Other programmes offered by the MIE
The MIE has been in the forefront of change and development for the advancement of professionals in education. In 2010, it started a Post Graduate Diploma (PGDip) programme in Educational Leadership for Deputy Rectors and Rectors in secondary schools. This programme was subsequently accredited by the Middlesex University, UK, which offered a top-up MA degree to holders of the PGDip.
The MIE is offering doctoral programmes since 2011, namely an Ed D programme in association with the University of Brighton, UK, and a PhD programme in association with the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The association with foreign universities has been highly instrumental in developing professional expertise for a number of academic staff.
MIE programmes by sector
The Teacher Training College responsible for the training of primary school teachers, was closed down and the MIE has, since 1985, assumed the responsibility for the professional development of all teachers and other cadres of the primary sector. A Teacher’s Certificate programme was offered to trainees of primary schools until 2003. Thereafter, a Teacher’s Diploma was offered to all trainees of the primary sector. Other training programmes include the Diploma in Educational Supervision and Inspection for the inspector cadres of the Ministry.
Continuous professional development opportunities are offered to teachers in primary schools. Holders of the Teacher’s Certificate embarked on the in-service Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) programme and subsequently the Teacher’ Diploma. The MIE has now developed a degree programme for primary school educators, holders of the Teacher’s Diploma, in line with the recommendation of the Pay Research Bureau (PRB), to be offered on a blended mode. It is to be noted that the level of the course (diploma or degree) depends on Government policy, as all Educators are paid by government and there is considerable budgetary implication for a change in the qualification structure.
Training of new grades of teaching personnel
In the context of the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE), the MIE has developed new programmes for the training of Support teachers and Holistic Education teachers at the Primary school level. The former are provided with a Certificate programme in Remedial Education, while the latter are offered a Teacher’s Diploma and are trained to teach the non-core subjects, such as Performing Arts, and Health and Physical Education.
The Support teachers offer assistance to the class teacher to tackle the problem of low-achieving learners in the early years. The aim is to provide pupils in all schools, especially the low-achieving ones, with learning support right from the beginning of primary schooling.
The pre-primary sector was a largely unregulated sector until the mid-1990s. The MIE was called upon to assume responsibility for the professional development of the pre-primary sector. It had to offer bridging courses for those already in the sector, followed by Teacher’s Certificate and Teacher’s Diploma programmes. The MIE also offers professional development programmes for managers and inspectors in the pre-primary sector.
Special Education Needs
Another sector where the MIE has trained more specialised teachers is the Special Education Needs (SEN) sector. Capacity building for the MIE personnel and the Psychologists of the Ministry of Education was undertaken in this field through a Post Graduate Diploma in Inclusion and Special Needs. This programme was offered with the support of experts from India and Germany. Subsequently, the MIE has developed a number of programmes for the professional development of personnel in the SEN sector. This includes a proficiency course for those offering support in the sector, as well as a Certificate programme followed by a Diploma programme for those teaching in that area. Additional capacity building for the SEN sector, aligned with the needs of the NYCBE, is being currently undertaken with the help of the French government.