Free preschool from January 2024: 652 establishments listed

7 months, 3 weeks ago - November 01, 2023
Free preschool from 01.2024: 652 listed
In January 2024, a total of 652 schools out of 775 will offer preschool education free of charge to children aged three to five. Recently, 27 principals of fee-paying private preschools agreed to join this program, in line with new guidelines from the Ministry of Education.

If after the first meeting 390 managers had accepted the new conditions, following the second meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, to present them with the new conditions, 27 other directors fulfilled the necessary formalities with the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority (ECCEA) before the deadline of October 16. This, after having obtained guarantees from the minister herself that additional funds for the rental of around a hundred schools will be granted. This had the effect of reassuring certain directors who had mentioned constraints linked to the rental costs of premises, which prevented them from participating in the project.

Thus, out of a total of 652 schools which will offer free education at the pre-primary level, 417 are private schools. ECCEA is currently working on detailed guidelines for the program modalities. These conditions will be documented, allowing close collaboration between school managers and authorities for the success of the project.

Schools participating in the program will have to meet various conditions, including having one teacher for every 15 children, a full-time manager for each school, an Assistant Manager for schools with 101 or more children, and additional staff depending on the number of children. Funds for operational expenses will be released quarterly, and managers will be required to submit financial reports to ECCEA. To be eligible for the new conditions, schools must be registered with the ECCEA, have a full-time principal and cater for at least 10 children aged three or over.

Regarding training, the authorities aim to have qualified personnel in schools. New recruits will be required to have at least five School Certificate (SC) credits and complete other training to be authorized to teach. In addition, from 2029, directors will be required to hold a Diploma in Early Childhood Management, training which will be provided under the aegis of the Ministry of Education.

Text by Le Mauricien

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