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Memorandum: Mauritian Kreol in schools

Jeudi 24 juin 2010 - Mémorandum soumis conjointement par  l’Institut Cardinal Jean Margeot (ICJM) & le Bureau de l’Education Catholique  au Ministère de l’Education & des Ressources Humaines.

Repondant au Call for Proposals du Ministere de l’Education & des Ressources Humaines ( communique 10 juin 2010), l’Institut Cardinal Jean Margeot & le Bureau de l’Education Catholique ont soumis un mémorandum conjoint sur l’introduction du Mauritian Kreol dans les écoles. Les deux  institutions saluent la décision du gouvernement d’introduire le Mauritian Kreol  et le Bhojpuri comme langues optionnelles dans les écoles.

Elles font des propositions sur les modalités d’introduction du Mauritian Kreol à la fois dans le primaire et le secondaire tout en  saluant l’avancée du Creole Studies, inscrit au programme d’étude à  l’Université de Maurice depuis 2008.
Voir plus loin:

  1. Préface du Professeur Serge Rivière, Secrétaire Général de l[‘Institut Cardinal Jean Margéot.
  2. ‘Foreword’ de Mme Gilberte Chung, Directrice du Bureau de l’Education Catholique.
  3. L’Introduction du document rédigé par  Jimmy Harmon, Head of Applied Pedagogy à l’ICJM.


Le Mémorandum contient six parties

  1. La première partie brosse un tableau de la place des langues dans les écoles et le pays;
  2. La deuxième partie fait une analyse sociohistorique, avec forte références des travaux de recherche et de publications, des différentes étapes du Kreol  Morisien de la période de l’indépendance à  ce jour;
  3. La troisième partie expose la philosophie, les principes et les objectifs de l’enseignement du Kreol Morisien;
  4. La quatrième partie soumet  une esquisse du curriculum au primaire (lower & secondary primary), dans le secondaire jusqu’au School Certificate et Higher School Certificate;
  5. La cinquième partie donne les pré-requis pour l’introduction du Kreol Morisien dans le primaire. On y accorde priorité à la mise sur pied d’un High Powered Committee, le recrutement des subject teachers en Mauritian Kreol, la formation et l’élaboration d’un curriculum entre autres;
  6. La sixième partie présente un échéancier (Time frame) pour l’introduction du Mauritian Kreol comme matière dès janvier 2011 en standard 1;
  7. La conclusion fait un appel au Ministre de l’Education, Hon. Bunwaree, pour que le Kreol soit aussi considéré comme médium d’instruction pour le bénéfice de  tout enfant mauricien.

Le Mémorandum met aussi en annexes plusieurs documents de références (viz. Specimen Question papers in Mauritian Kreol, list of prescribed textbooks, reference for teachers training materials).


The “Institute Cardinal Jean Margéot” is pleased to support the enclosed Memorandum.  We applaud the progressive decision of the Mauritian Government “to encourage the use of Mother tongues to facilitate teaching and learning” (Government Programme, para. 145). The initiative to introduce “Kreol Morisien” and “Bhojpuri” as optional subjects in schools is a laudable one that will assist Mauritian children of our primary schools in becoming more aware of their national identity and “cultural memory”.  Moreover, in the context of human rights and studying “mother tongues”, this development is long overdue.
The ICJM is committed to a programme of research and publications relating to the development of material and studies in “Kreol Morisien”.  Our Department of Applied Pedagogy aims to be at the forefront of such ground-breaking research and “Action Research”.  We, therefore, welcome future partnerships in this field with the Bureau of Catholic Education and the Government of Mauritius, and pledge our support to the proposal presented below.

Serge Rivière
Secrétaire Général
Institut Cardinal Jean Margéot

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This memorandum is presented to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources in response to the call for proposals with regards to the introduction of Mauritian Kreol as an optional subject in schools.

For five years now, the Bureau of Catholic Education has implemented a literacy and numeracy program called Prevokbek in ten colleges. The program is based essentially on the use of Mauritian Kreol as a fully-fledged language to achieve basic literacy and numeracy. Mauritian Kreol is also used as a medium (oral and written) for the teaching of English, French, Maths, Sciences and other vocational subjects. The program has been designed for ‘double CPE failure students’ who fail the end of year examination at the completion of seven years in primary schooling.

The official use of Mauritian Kreol in the prevocational stream of catholic colleges stands as a major breakthrough in formal education at national level.  The language barrier tumbled down and students were able to express themselves freely in their mother-tongue; they were able to show that they had thinking and analytical skills and that they could develop their skills and competencies. What a revelation for them to regain their self-respect and self-esteem, after seven years in the primary education system and repeated failures! What a window of opportunity for the students to discover learning through their mother- tongue and to better succeed in English, French, Maths, Science and all their other academic subjects!

To the Project Coordinator and to the Rectors and teachers who believed in the project and who accompanied the students in their learning process, I wish to sincerely acknowledge their input, their innovative approach and their commitment!  Foremost, they believed that the students were capable! Even though they had to start from scratch and develop their own material, there was always a great team spirit and great talent amongst the teachers themselves who did not hesitate in learning how to write, read and teach Mauritian Kreol for the benefit of the students. 

I wish to salute the decision of the Government to “encourage the use of mother tongues to facilitate teaching and learning. Government will work towards the introduction of 'Mauritian Kreol' and 'Bhojpuri' as optional subjects in schools.”(Para. 145, Government Programme 2010-2015, Republic of Mauritius).This is a long-awaited political decision, in line with international educational practices.

The Bureau of Catholic Education reiterates its commitment in helping the Government succeed in this innovative venture. Our offer of partnership stands good and we are certain that new avenues are being opened for all children of the Republic.

Gilberte Chung Kim Chung (Mrs.)
Bureau of Catholic Education

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The Bureau of Catholic Education and the Institut Cardinal Jean Margeot welcome the Government general policy, under the Prime Ministership of Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam, to introduce Mauritian Kreol and Bhojpuri as optional language subjects in schools. This has been clearly stated in the Government Programme 2010-2015 (paragraph 145) read by the President of the Republic, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, in his Address to the National Assembly on 8 June 2010.  We also particularly welcome this policy statement as forward-looking, incorporating the best practices of good governance in world politics.

This Memorandum contains an analysis of the proposal as measured against international standards.  These standards are illustrated and developed by several UN Declarations and are specifically defined in Article 26 of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”1 and in paragraphs 1, 2 and  3 of Article 13 of the ‘International Covenant on Economic, Social and cultural Rights’2 and ‘UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’ (1989)3.

First, the sociolinguistic situation in Mauritius is briefly described. Second, a detailed description of the background to the current proposal from a socio-historical perspective is given. This background is essential for policymakers and stakeholders, as it captures the profound aspirations which underpin the introduction of Mauritian Kreol (MK) in schools. Third, the rationale, principles and goals of Mauritian Kreol in schools are described. Fourth, an outline of the curriculum of Mauritian Kreol at both primary and secondary levels is provided. Fifth, we prioritise the requisites for the implementation of Mauritian Kreol as an optional language in primary schools, Sixth, we propose a time frame for the introduction of Mauritian Kreol as from January 2011.

In our conclusion, we address a special note to the Minister of Education & Human Resources, expressing our wish that Mauritian Kreol be also considered as medium of instruction. We put in the annexes a list of references, specimen questionnaires of Kreol Morisien and other reference materials.

Jimmy Harmon-Head
of Applied Pedagogy Department-Institut Cardinal Jean Margeot

  1. On the right to education. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on 10 December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. Paragraph 1 of Article 26 guarantees the right of everyone to education. Paragraph 2 provides that such education “shall be directed to the full development of the human personality”, and “shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial and religious groups”.
  2. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the “ICESCR”) of 1966. Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Article 13.
  3. The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 (the “CRC”), Article 17, para 4, Article 28, paragraph 1, Article 29, para 3, and Article 30, para 2. The basic right to education is set out in Article 28, paragraph 1, in which the States parties to the CRC recognise the right of the child to education. The paragraph also provides that with a view to achieving this right “progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity”, States will take a range of steps, including, in subparagraph (e), measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates. Article 29, subparagraph (a) stipulates that education shall be directed to the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.. Article 29, subparagraph (d) stipulates that education should be directed to the development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values.


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