Government will introduce the Special Education Needs (SEN) Authority Bill this year in the National Assembly. The Bill makes a strong case for the establishment of a SEN Authority, a new institutional framework that will regulate the sector, respond to the needs of stakeholders and, above all, cater for the full development of all children in Mauritius.

The Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun made this announcement yesterday at the launching ceremony of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in the SEN Sector at Cyber Tower 1, in Ebène. RPL is a process used to identify, assess and certify a person’s knowledge, skills and competencies, regardless of how, when and where the learning occurred, against prescribed standards for a part or full qualification.

In her address, the Minister highlighted that a consultation process on the Bill has been carried out with relevant stakeholders and that the feedback has been positive and constructive on many counts.

As for the launch of RPL, Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun stated that it has come at the most opportune time when the education sector is undergoing major changes. Mauritius, she indicated, is one of the pioneers in the African region to roll out the RPL to formalise prior learning and experience. The Minister expressed optimism that besides being a matter of national pride, the RPL will definitely contribute to the professionalisation of service-delivery and education in SEN institutions.

Minister Dookun-Luchoomun reiterated that Government will leave no stone unturned in its continual and unflinching support to ensure high-quality teaching and offer desired and relevant learning experiences to every learner in the Republic of Mauritius, irrespective of his or her learning predisposition.

There are many persons operating in the sector who do not have formal academic qualifications but have served in SEN schools and organisations and have gained massive hands-on experience and expertise through experiential learning over the years, the Minister pointed out. Thus, she stressed on the need to valorise and formally recognise the capital of experience and expertise of Cadres operating in SEN schools.

In addition, she recalled that the enhanced RPL framework had been launched in 2016, following insights gained from on-going practice and feedback from different stakeholders locally and internationally. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research sponsored Carers and Assistant Teachers to undergo the RPL process on a pilot basis and subsequently earn the National Certificate in Special Education Needs Levels 2, 3 and 4 respectively.

The piloting of the RPL for SEN for levels 2-4 has been successfully completed, it is now planned to be rolled out for all participants from SEN Schools and SEN Organisations, the Minister indicated.

Furthermore, she emphasised that the benefits of RPL are enormous. They are namely: enhancing employability, mobility, and promoting lifelong learning; improving worker’s confidence, self-esteem and motivation to learn; allowing for the registration of serving employees on formal qualification programmes; allowing for an orientation towards lifelong learning and Continuous Professional Development; the professionalisation of practise and quality teaching in SEN institutions; increased mobility and opportunities for detainees holding RPL certificates to join formal training at the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE) or any other institutions.

Recognition of Prior Learning

The Mauritius Qualification Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, and the MIE had initiated the RPL project to certify professionals in the field of SEN Sector through the RPL method on a pilot basis with a small cohort in a quest to professionalise and address the lack of skilled professionals therein.

After the successful completion of the pilot project and in view to extend the RPL to other candidates, the MQA decided to officially launch the RPL project.

Source: Government of Mauritius