Though Curriculum Development, the third mandate of the MIE, is not the focus of this Quality Audit exercise, it is necessary for assessors to get an idea of the nature and scope of this task which directly involves almost 50 percent of the academic staff. This is an area which the MIE is proud to contribute to, as this function is one of the specificities of the Institute. It is a distinguishing feature of the MIE as an organisation, and a major responsibility of national interest that demands a lot of MIE’s effort and energy as an institution of higher learning.
The Second Government Plan, 1975-1980: Five-Year Plan, 1976 undertook the democratization of the education system. More schools were built and provision for free textbooks were made. The main aim of this plan was to further democratise the education system, spread out schools and colleges evenly across the country and diversify the curricula. The aim was mainly to Mauritianise the school curriculum and to introduce a curriculum more in line with the economic and social development of the country, doing away with the vestige of colonialism. The MIE was the institution responsible for the writing of all secondary school textbooks. This was one of the most important tasks that the MIE undertook in the early years of its inception. The MIE Academic staff were responsible for the writing of all textbooks for Forms 1, 2 and 3. By the end of the 1970s, the MIE had succeeded in preparing new textbooks and had piloted the first batch of new textbooks for all subjects in secondary schools.
Curriculum Development: NCCRD and Post 2010
Curriculum development activities were shifted to the National Centre for Curriculum Research and Development (NCCRD) in 1985. By that time, the Teacher Training College, dedicated to the training of pre-service primary school teachers, was closed down and training for the primary sector had been entrusted to the MIE, though the latter was, at its inception, designated and set up as an institution for the professionalization of the secondary sector.
Though the NCCRD was created, the MIE personnel continued to shoulder the responsibilities for the writing of textbooks as panel leaders for the primary sector, which had become a major responsibility of the Ministry. As the MIE was the institution with the expertise and there was an urgent need to accelerate the process and functions of curriculum development in Mauritius, the NCCRD was closed down and all its responsibilities transferred to the MIE in 2010. The MIE was again entrusted the full responsibility for Curriculum Development and textbook writing. Today, the MIE has a full-fledged Curriculum Unit.
Development of the National Curriculum Framework – 2007-2009
A significant change with regards to curriculum development came when the Ministry decided to develop a National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for the primary sector in 2007 and for the secondary sector in 2009. The MIE was entrusted with the responsibility of developing those documents. For the first time in the history of Mauritius, three documents were produced by the MIE, namely the National Curriculum Framework for Primary Education (2007), the National Curriculum Framework for Pre-Primary Education (2008) and the National Curriculum Framework for Secondary Education (2009). These were the first attempts to have a National Curriculum Framework document for Mauritius for the whole of the sector, starting from pre-primary to lower secondary (Form 3, equivalent to 3rd year of secondary schooling). The responsibility of the MIE was significant as this was a pioneering task undertaken by the Institute.
National Curriculum Framework 2015 onwards – The Sustainable Development Goals
The Education for All (EFA) goals were nearing their term in 2015. By that time, the MIE had already set itself the task to review the NCF. As the MIE had presaged, the advent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the post-2015 era would inevitably bring about changes.
The Institute started working on a new curriculum framework for post-2015 based on sustainable development. Following the UNESCO declaration of the official SDGs goals in late 2014, the MIE was ready to incorporate the SDG in the new NCF and fast-track it based on SDG 4 and the 21st Century Skills in early 2015.
Contribution to the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education
The government initiative to undertake a major reform with the Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (NYCBE) rested on an important contribution of the MIE- that of charting the curriculum document for the reform and unfolding all the details of the reform in a national curriculum document. The MIE produced three important documents from 2015 to 2017, namely the National Curriculum Framework for Nine Year Continuous Basic Education (2015), the National Curriculum Framework For Grades 1 to 6 (2015), and The National Curriculum Framework for Grades 7, 8 and 9 (2016). All these documents can be consulted from the MIE’s website – mie.ac.mu
Writing of Textbooks and Development of Syllabi for Primary and Secondary Sectors
For the first time in Mauritius, the MIE has developed the syllabi for all subjects for Grades 1 to 9. Such a document did not exist previously for Mauritius for Grades 1 to 6. The NCF and the Syllabi have been the basic documents which have been guiding the development of the textbooks.
The MIE has been engaged in the writing of entirely new textbooks for the primary sector since 2014. By 2016, the MIE had completed the writing of 124 textbooks for Grades 1 to 6. For the first time, the Ministry has been able to provide additional books, such as story books for pupils in primary schools in the form of Big Books which are the basis for the development of Communications Skills through storytelling from an early grade. The Big Books also incorporate elements of Multicultural Education which is an essential backbone for education in Mauritius. It also provides the first initiation into the History of Mauritius for pupils as early as in Grade 1. It is to be noted that all textbooks for the Primary sector are accompanied by their respective Teacher’s Book.
The MIE has produced 15 textbooks for Grade 7 in all subjects for 2018. It has also produced 14 textbooks to be used for the Extended Programme that replaces the Pre-Vocational stream as from 2018.
The efforts of the MIE ensures that the NYCBE is complete with all required learning materials as well as digital support and follow up. The MIE is now in the process of completing Grade 8 textbook writing for both mainstream and Extended Programme.
Equally for the first time, the MIE has developed two important documents that help to improve the quality of teaching in both primary and secondary schools. The Primary School Readiness (PSR) is a piloted and tested document meant to help teachers assess the school readiness of the new entrants at the primary level. This document helps teachers assess pupils’ readiness at the start of the first year of primary schooling and allows them to engage in remedial teaching right from Grade 1. It also provides the means for Support teachers to organise their work for children with learning difficulties.
Similarly, the Secondary School Readiness document has been developed to be used in the Extended Programme, that is, for those who have not successfully completed the Level 1 qualification (as per NQF), the Primary School Achievement Certificate. They are placed on a 4-year instead of 3-year programme. Educators in the Extended Programme, should be able to start the year by first identifying the learning difficulties and learning needs of new entrants to the Extended Programme. It will serve as a basis for a targeted and structured remedial teaching in secondary schools.