Worrying Decline in the Performance of our Education System

The Brindaban Linguistic and Cultural Genocide Watch Group is delighted to acknowledge that the detailed School Certificate results for 2016 have appeared on the MES website. We are still studying the figures but we are in a position to present a quick cohort analysis for the seven most recent cohorts of our education system.

We believe a study of the performance of successive cohorts is helpful. Each cohort spends eleven years in the system being guided by it to reach the School Certificate exams; beyond this point cohort members are expected to, and usually do, take personal responsibility for their own development with such assistance as the school system continues to provide them with. From the cradle to the School Certificate, the Education System bears the larger share of responsibility for the development of the child, and cohort weaknesses will necessarily be ascribed to system failures, and vice versa: for instance, the strengths of the successive cohorts in Singapore can in large part be ascribed to the excellent education system of the City State.

Before coming to the detailed statistics, we wish to make a few general observations. Year after year we encounter needless difficulties because the names of schools are not spelt the same way in the different tables. Furthermore, sometimes one table may show the same school name twice, once as a Boys’ School and once as a Girls’ School; but the same year’s results may have another table with just one school of that name, without indicating which of the two is being referred to. This is outright carelessness and disrespect of the schools concerned and of the public; an organisation like the MES ought to be careful in preparing documents that will be used by members of the public.

We also think the use of percentages of pass rates to assign ranking to schools is ridiculous. We are sure the MES can find a more representative way to indicate school performance. Another point we find unsettling is the distinction made between Mauritius and Rodrigues. All distinctions made at the official level between these two Islands prepare the way for their eventual political separation. As far as we know the Interpretation and General Clauses Act considers “Mauritius” as including Rodrigues. Of course there are situations where a distinction has to be made between the two Islands: a cyclone which hits Rodrigues also hits the State of Mauritius, even though its effects may never be felt in Mauritius Island.

Our cohort analysis is set out in the table entitled “Mauritius Education System Cohort Statistics for Primary School Admission Years 2000-2006, i.e. the Cambridge School Certificate Years 2010-2016.” The first column shows the years spent at school by each cohort. The second column shows the initial numerical strength of the cohort, and the third one after its inflation by resits. The remaining columns are self-explanatory. Please note that SC cohort size decreases by around one thousand each year between the CPE year and SC year: the MOE should provide some explanation for this decrease, as all who pass the CPE are taken into the custody of the Secondary Education System.

The first thing that stands out in the table is that the cohort size is decreasing steadily year by year. But what is more unsettling is that the success rate is falling faster than the cohort size. Because we could not find the number of pupils scoring Aggregate 6-20 in 2010, we have been obliged to ignore the first row of the table in our calculations. The Initial Cohort Size decreased by 4.1% between 2001 and 2006; the corresponding decreases for the other statistics for the same cohorts were as follows:

– SC passes: down 15.6%; SC Aggregate Score 6-20: down 20.4%;

– English grades 1-6: down 6.0%;

– French Grades 1-6:down 19.5%; and

– Maths Grades 1-6 : down 18.1%.

Allocating the same resources to fewer recipients should normally entail an improvement in performance. Here we have totally the contrary result. The Ministry ought to investigate the causes of this serious decline. While we are in no position to ascribe a direct correlation between, on the one hand, this decline in performance of the “CPE Passed” segment of the cohorts and, on the other, the excessive attention paid to the CPE failures and also the phenomenal rise of the Kreolist activism that has been taking place in the new millennium, we are forced to recognise that the one phenomenon has been accompanied by the other two.

For the future of our Nation it is vitally important that this decline be arrested and reversed.

Mauritius Education System Cohort Statistics
for Primary School Admission Years
2000-2006, i.e. the Cambridge School Certificate
Years 2010-2016

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