Free preschool — Revised conditions: 625 schools out of 775 have joined the new system

8 months, 1 week ago - October 18, 2023
Free preschool: 625 schools joined
The final modalities for becoming a beneficiary of the financial aid program in the pre-primary education sector were presented by the responsible minister, Leela Devi Dookun Luchoomun, last Tuesday.

After revealing the conditions to which nursery schools had to comply to offer their services free of charge last August, the minister returned to them this week.

The government initiative aims to make pre-primary education free from next January. So far, 625 out of 775 schools have signed up to this new system, which will benefit 18,500 children. However, education authorities have decided to extend the registration deadline for eligible schools until October 16, providing many establishments with the opportunity to participate in this government initiative. In terms of eligibility criteria, schools wishing to join the program must be registered with the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority (ECCEA), have a full-time manager and accommodate a minimum of 10 children aged three. until entry into primary school.

The annual Operational Grant varies depending on the number of students enrolled in nursery schools. For example, schools with between 10 and 25 students will receive an annual grant of Rs 240,000.

Certificat en Early Childhood

This subsidy covers current costs such as rental of premises, water and electricity costs, school materials and other similar expenses. The amount of the allocation increases gradually depending on the number of students, reaching a maximum of Rs 650,000 for schools with between 176 students and more.

The number of students per educator has been reduced. The ratio announced at the start, i.e. one educator to take care of 25 children, increases to one educator for 15 children. The educator will be supported in her task by an assistant. Establishments that do not have enough educators will have to recruit staff. The five credit qualification requirement at the time of recruitment will not apply to educators already in post with many years of experience and holding a certificate in Early Childhood.

Upon implementation of the new terms, these educators will fall into the category of Grade C Teachers or Assistant Teachers. However, they will have to register at the Mauritius Institute of Education and compete for the Certificate in Preschool. A manager will be responsible for each school with a student population of less than 100. Schools with more than 100 pre-primary students will also have an assistant manager. In addition, the ratio of school attendants per child will be 1:50. Teachers, their assistants, managers and assistant managers, as well as school attendants will be paid monthly by the State, provided that staff rights such as stipulated in the financial assistance program have been respected.

In addition, additional funds will be allocated to around 100 pre-primary schools for their rental costs. Establishment managers must provide their rent books to the ECCEA. Schools that have a total of 101 or more students will have the opportunity to recruit an assistant manager. As for the school attendant — a maximum of five per school — he/she will have to supervise a group of 50 children. Pre-primary schools that do not join the new system will continue to receive a grant of Rs 400 per student.

Text by Le Mauricien

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