Lately, the local press pundits have been reveling in their criticism against the University of Mauritius and to celebrate the wonderful initiatives from the private sector, which according to them, heralds a dazzling academic future for Mauritius. The gist of their discourse is that the University of Mauritius is obsolete and that those private universities will save Mauritius….
If you don’t believe me, read
– the editorial of Raj Meetarbhan in L’Express published on Monday 23rd April
– the editorial of Gilbert Ahnee published in Le Mauricien on Tuesday 24th April
Although one can appreciate the fact there exist such ventures, one cannot deny that for the time being that there are major differences between those private universities and the University of Mauritius. As an academic of this institution, I am the first to acknowlege that there is a lot of room for improvement, that there are many incoherent decisions, that there are administrative bottlenecks, that there may be some lecturers who are not up to standard (according to students’ feedback), etc.
Let’s compare like with like
Yet, if you compare those private institutions with UOM, it is clear that
– the programmes offered by UOM are developed by the institution whereas the private institutions rely on distance education programmes franchised to them by foreign universities
– consequently, lecture materials in private institutions are not developed and tailor-made for Mauritian students
– lecturers there are not really lecturers, they should be called tutors rather as they do not develop the material; they only use D.E. manuals provided to them by the foreign university. One can even ask whether they actually master the content of the subjects they teach…
– the academic staff of the private institutions do little or no research as opposed to UOM
Also, I am quite intrigued by the fact that no journalist has cared to investigate the rapidity with which that Eastern University got its authorisation to bear the appellation of university (something the DCDM Business School which is now renamed Charles Telfair Institute does not even have).They were probably too busy doing the promotion of the Charles Telfair Institute….
In a nutshell, I would tend to say that, except for one or two programmes of study (e.g. I acknowledge that the DCDM Design course is good as it has a hands-on practical approach), those institutions are far behind the University of Mauritius. These institutions are here to make money basically, to exploit the unmet demand of people who need diplomas and degrees to get jobs.
Still, the University of Mauritius needs to improve, that one cannot deny.