- The President of Mauritius, Anerood Jugnauth, today urged laureates of the 2005 Higher School Certificate examinations to return to their island state as "good patriots" after their higher studies so as to assist the country in achieving higher economic growth. Mauritius is a major victim of the "brain drain" towards Europe and America.
The Mauritian President today was speaking on the occasion of a reception hosted by him at State House in the honour of the laureates of the 2005 examinations. "It is with your contribution, skills and newly acquired knowledge that Mauritius would be able to attract investment in new fields of the economy which is fundamental for economic growth," President Jugnauth pointed out.
He further added, "the vision of the government is to provide a world class quality education to all. Teachers and academicians must become role models for students in providing quality knowledge, accessible to all."
Mauritius, which has one of Africa's best education systems and highest living standards, has for long fallen victim to the so-called "brain drain". While Mauritians are relatively well educated and the Mauritian education is recognised as having Western standards, salaries in Mauritius are too low to compete with Europe and North America. Educated Mauritians seldom experience problems achieving legal work abroad.
"Mauritian nurses are much appreciated in Europe, particularly in Great Britain, thanks to their high level of qualification," Mauritian trade union leader Zhye Cassan Kurreman complained already two years ago. The Indian Ocean island cannot compete with the tenfold salaries in Europe. Despite the investments in its national education system, the "brain drain" to Europe leaves Mauritian hospitals understaffed.
President Jugnauth now hopes his appeal to the "patriotic" feelings of Mauritians studying abroad will make some of them return home. Also Mauritian Minister of Education and Human Resources, Dharambeer Gokhool was present at the State House event and spoke about "the vision of developing the country into a knowledge hub and a regional centre for tertiary education."
Minister Gokhool mentioned the setting up of a Third University in Mauritius that would demarcate itself from the existing public Universities through the promotion of flexible modes of teaching and learning. He further announced that a White Paper on Tertiary Education was being finalised and would be soon open to national debate.
Neither Minister Gokhool nor President Jugnauth addressed the large difference in salaries between Mauritius and Europe at the reception. Emigration from the island state is taking such dimensions that a large part of positions for skilled workers are vacant and that the country struggles to cope with the ageing of its remaining population. The island's population now has an age structure similar to Europe.
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