Mauritius woos more varsities with bigger education budget By LINLEY BIGNOUX in Port Louis | Wednesday, September 4   2013 at  15:21

Mauritius will forge its way ahead as knowledge-based economy by robustly funding and attracting students from emerging African nations with the co-operation of large universities abroad. LINLEY BIGNOUX | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The Mauritian government says it is targeting tertiary education to attract more universities in its push to be a knowledge economy.

Authorities on the prosperous Indian Ocean island have allocated $419 million to the education sector this year, a slight increase on last year's $407 million budget.

Prime minister Navin Ramgoolam said that while funding would be boosted in primary and secondary institutions, the major focus would be on university education.

The government would focus on strengthening existing educational infrastructure to make Mauritius a competitive knowledge hub, he said.

Mr Ramgoolam, while speaking to journalists in Camp Levieux, said this would lead to more local and international university campuses on the island.

He also said about 50 acres of land has also been set aside for a new university in the Piton village located in the country’s north.

The government last month unveiled its Tertiary Strategic Plan 2013-2025 emphasising on the links between education and economic prosperity.

The island nation has attracted many foreign universities to its shores over the years including the Amity University, University of Geneva and Middlesex.

According to the Ministry of Education, there has been a surge in tertiary education enrollment from 6,700 students in 2,000 to 49,600 in 2013.

Forecasts indicate 70 per cent enrollment by 2016.

In 2012, the national expenditure on education was $407 million, accounting for 12 per cent of the total budget, according to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Over the last 10 years, education spending peaked in 2004 at $506 million.

According to Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Mauritius will forge its way ahead as a knowledge-based economy by robustly funding and attracting students from emerging African nations with the co-operation of large universities abroad.