Mr Young’s Appointment

Mauritius Times 60 Year

News and Views

By Nestor

At a press conference held in September last Dr Millien, Minister for Labour, announced that the Government would have the services of a trade union expert shortly.

We are pleased to learn about the appointment of James Young, who is an old acquaintance and who came to Mauritius in October 1954 as delegate of the World Federation of Free Trade Union to inquire into the growth and development of trade unionism. he has 40 years of experience in trade union movement. He has also been a member of Parliament.

Interviewed by us about the local trade union movement, he said that there were more members outside than inside. He was sorry to find that the two agricultural unions were not working hand in hand. When asked about how to improve this state of things, he replied that a campaign must be started to ask workers to join the unions and to explain to them the advantages they would derive in the form of better wages, better conditions of living and better understanding with their employers. A sound and healthy trade union movement, he added, would benefit both employers and employees alike, because the output could be increased if employees were well treated.

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Campaign against Lavish Spending

Some time ago we reproduced a note from the Colonial Times in what about Mr D.G. Mehta, a renowned social worker of Mombasa, who contrary to prevalent practice had the marriage of his daughter celebrated among a small gathering of friends and relatives. Spending lavishly on wedding ceremonies is an evil which is especially prevalent especially among the Indian community. Some spend because it is a tradition in the family. Others do it just for show. The earlier we get rid of this evil, the better. In Mombasa people have taken this matter more seriously. They have given it the shape of a campaign and set the pace for us to follow. We are indebted to the Mombasa Times for the following news items which will set our social workers thinking:

‘A campaign is being planned to dissuade Mombasa Africans from spending more money than they can afford on lavish wedding and funeral ceremonies. The first meeting of the Wedding and Funeral Committee, which has been set up at the instigation of the Mombasa African Advisory Council, has been held at the Tononoka Social Centre. The committee is made up of 30 members, five from the Advisory Council, three from each of the town’s ward councils and a community development assistant. Mr Lance Jones, Executive Officer of the advisory Council, was elected chairman, and Mr Benjamin Mutua, the community development assistant, has become the committee’s first secretary. Only 16 of the 30 members attended the first meeting.

‘Mr Ahmed Ali Omar referred to the “prevalent malpractice” of people spending beyond their means for wedding and funeral ceremonies. In the case of weddings, it often happened that people ran into debt and marriages were broken because the husband was unable to support his wife.

‘Women guests at weddings were also harassed because, by custom, they were required to wear uniforms. If a man was not in a position to buy his wife a dress, there was marital disharmony.’

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Two Subjects Only!

According to an advertisement published a few days ago in the papers, a pass in any two subjects at the SC level will qualify candidates to enter the Teachers Training College (TTC). Any two subjects will do. It may be French and Hygiene, Mathematics or Hindi, Latin or Economics, Chinese or History, Painting or Needlework, Music or Woodwork. We have been following this recruitment business and know quite well that a large number of School Certificate holders have applied for admission.

In the past, it appears from criticisms published in the papers that a certain category of persons unsuitable for the teaching profession have been appointed as teachers while holders of School Certificate of a certain community have been discarded. We are not in a position to ascertain whether it was true or not. But this year we are watching closely the doings at the TTC. Is there really such a dearth of qualified people in Mauritius? Or is it the avowed policy of certain people to favour some at the expense of others?

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Lowering the Standard of VIth Std

A standard VI Certificate has always been considered as a valuable parchment taking into account that it is the minimum qualification required to land a job even as policeman or to enter as apprentice to many professions such as printing, etc. It is really the eagerly sought-after certificate. The employers know fully well its value. Its standard is a guarantee to them.

It is but proper here to recall that candidates for the Standard VI have to score 33% of the marks allotted to each examination subject and obtain 50% of the total marks given to all the subjects taken as a whole to qualify for a pass certificate. This year, however, the examination scripts are being marked on the following basis: 33% for a pass in one sub and only 35% of the total number of marks in all subjects are required to get a Pass Certificate. Therefore, the standard of the certificate has been lowered to a great extent and by as much as 15%! It is anybody’s guess why it has been done…

Parents and the public in general must realise the Standard VI certificate as from this year will no longer have the same face value as the certificate issued formerly. It will no longer provide the guarantee it used to give. This abhorrent method is being used to cope with the intake problem next year. And it is significant that it is being done when Mr Snell is at the steering oar of the Education Department. Has he explored other alternatives before taking such an action? Is he justified in doing so? And, lastly, will the parents accept and let Mr Snell issue such a diluted certificate?

It is indeed a sad day for education in Mauritius. The ultimate result will be that shortly a Std VI certificate will have no value, and Mauritius will become a land full of half-baked young people.

Friday 31 October 1957
4thyear – No 169

* Published in print edition on 10 August 2021

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