- Rajesh Jeetah
- Dr Jeetah was elected Member of the National Assembly in December 2003 for the first time for Constituency No.7 (Piton/Rivière du Rempart), and remained so until April 2005. Dr Jeetah was re-elected as: • Member of the National Assembly for Constituency No.11 (Vieux Grand Port-Rose Belle), in 2005 and became Minister of Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives (2005 to 2008).He became Minister of Health & Quality of Life (2008 to 2010). • Member of the National Assembly for Constituency No.10 (Montagne Blanche- GRSE)in 2010 and became Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology till 2014. Education and Qualifications: a. University of Cambridge (2002 -2003) - ACU Research Fellowship b. University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) (1984-1993) • BSc (Hons) – Textile Technology • PhD – Textile Technology
SPEECH - LAYING OF FOUNDATION STONE OF REDUIT CAMPUS
28 AUGUST 2014
· My colleague Hon Minister Suren Dayal, Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment,
· The Chairman of the District Council ,
· Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
· Members of the Knowledge Parks Limited,
· Directors of tertiary education institutions and Distinguished Academics,
· Ladies and gentlemen,
After Pamplemousses and Montagne Blanche, this is the third University campus being constructed. This campus building is the firston this beautiful site, located on the boundary of Reduit, Ebene and Moka.
In 2010, when Government set up a separate ministry to deal with tertiary education, it took the commitment to promote access to higher education and to decentralize university campuses.
Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister Dr NavinRamgoolam has lived up to the promises made to the people. The three campus buildings will be ready next year - the one in Reduit in February and the others in June and July. In addition to this project, Government has created a newenvironment for higher education and has :
· Achieved an increase in the Gross tertiary enrolment rate which was barely 15.1% in 2000, increasing from to 50.1% in 2013.
· Increased the enrolment of foreign students to 2264, the latest figure for this year;
· Set up two new public universities:
- the Open University with satellite campuses at Bel Air and Curepipe; and
- the Université des Mascareignes with campuses at Stanley and Camp Levieux and Beau Plan;
· Reserved 175 acres of land to build new modern campuses at Montagne Blanche, Pamplemousses, Piton and Reduit;
· Introduced medicine courses with the University of Geneva;
· Launched an IIT Research Academy – a première in the world of higher education;
· Established collaboration with Imperial college, University of Aberdeen, George Washington University, University of Oxford, Université de Limoges among others.
We have more than 31 UK and 13 French awarding bodies in Mauritius. The Open University (OU) which started last year has widened opportunities for higher education, especially those in the labour force, for which the traditional mode of classroom teaching and learning is not suited to their circumstances. It is working with some foreign institutions such as University of California and Coursera, the Commonwealth of Learning, University of Columbia and Imperial College.
We have set ourselves the target one graduate per family. This is meant for those children who cannot attend higher education institutions. This is the only way to achieve social integration.Many families in this country still do not have a member with a diploma or degree qualification. We want to give every child a chance to pursue higher education.
Financial assistance is being provided through loans of 100,000 per annum for a maximum of 3 years with repayment one year after completion of course to finance university fees. Students who come from very low income families benefit from scholarships. The number of State-funded scholarships has more than doubled (increased from 30 to 68).We now have 16 Scholarships to best-ranked students with monthly family income of Rs 12,000 or less and 8 to students with monthly family income of Rs 6,200 or less.
Higher education is meant to empower people, remove them from the situation of poverty, and support women. More girls are now enrolled in higher education. 58 % of students enrolled in public tertiary education institutions are female, with 56.5% enrolled on full time basis.
The setting up of the new campus buildings should be seen from the perspective of the Government’s vision to create a population with high level of technical and professional capacity and skills.
This new building is being called upon to become a nucleus for high end technology and innovation. It is expected to house a centre for Nanotechnology, acentre for space science and astronomy as well a centre for Big Data. Nano science and nano-technology refer to the study and application of extremely small particles and is utilized in all science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. Applications of nanotechnology cover a wide range of areas such as car parts, antimicrobial dressing, synthetic bone, jet engine parts, nanotube based screens for TVs and computers, to name a few.
As regards space science and astronomy, we have very experienced academics in this field in Mauritius and they are working on the project for the setting up of a centrewhich will strengthen the involvement of our country in the Square Kilometre Array and other regional Astrophysics projects.
Big Data is the processing of vast amount of data in the most efficient and productive manner. This relies on operation and maintenance of High Performance Computing facilities and advances in software engineering, data mining, algorithm development and so on.
In 1965, almost 50 years ago, the University of Mauritius was established by Sir SeewoosagurRamgoolam, not far from this location. In 1971, 43 years ago, he set up the Mauritius College of the Air to promote education by using media and distance education methods. In 1970 he launched the Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Moka, He established the Mauritius Institute of Education and many other institutions. He stated “ our salvation truly lies in educating and training our men and women in such a way that they are better equipped to face the great battles of life.”
We are very proud today to follow in the footsteps of this great man and continue to serve his vision. Some people may wish to pay tribute to Sir SeewoosagurRamgoolam by offering flowers, or writing about him. But I believe that there is no better tribute for this man who believed in education for the people, than building a school, a college, a university.
You will remember that a few years ago, Ebene was a sugar cane field. Today, it is an IT and business hub. In the same way, a knowledge village – a Carrefour de la Connaissance - has already taken shape in Reduit and Ebene and part of Moka, with more than 20,000 of higher education students and academics - some of them being among the brightest - attending institutions in these regions.
We have all the reasons to be proud today as we see this evolution in the development of the knowledge sector.
I wish to thank all of you for your support and specially all those who have been involved in the construction projectof campuses. I hope to see all of you next year for the inauguration of this new building.
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High-Level Ministerial and Experts Workshop for scientists and policy makers in STI policy systems and governance for sustainable development and climate change resilience of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) STI-for-SIDS Sustainability, 2014
SPEECH - High-Level Ministerial and Experts Workshop for scientists and policy makers in STI policy systems and governance for sustainable development and climate change resilience of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) STI-for-SIDS Sustainability, 2014 - Wednesday 27 August 2014
Hon Madam Marie-Monique RASOAZANANERA, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Republic of Madagascar
Hon. Devanand Virahsawmy, , Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Dr Peggy Oti Boateng, UNESCO Senior Programme Specialist in Science & Technology
Mr Simon Springett, UN Resident Coordinator
The Secretary-General Mauritius National Commission for UNESCO
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is the pleasure of the Government of Mauritius through my Ministry and the Mauritius Research Council to facilitate this workshop for UNESCO. I wish to thank the UNESCO for having chosen Mauritius to host the workshop.
I have the pleasure to welcome in our midst the Hon Madam Marie-Monique RASOAZANANERA, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research from the Republic of Madagascar and the delegates from the Republic of Madagascar, the Republic of Seychelles and the Union of Comoros.
I understand that Hon. Rolph Payet, Minister of Environment and Energy, Republic of Seychelles could not attend this workshop, as he has recently been appointed as Executive Secretary of the Basl, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention by the United Nations Secretary General. Let me convey, our congratulations to Hon. Payet, through Mrs. Nanette Laure, Director Environment Assessment and Permits Seychelles.
As we all know Small Islands Developing States face many challenges, which have been discussed in many conferencees and have culminated in the adoption of recommendations such as the Barbados Program of Action (Rio De Janeiro, 1994) and the Mauritius Strategy (2005). The forthcoming Third International Conference on SIDS in Samoa will further examine the economic, environmental and developmental challenges facing small island states.
My colleague, the Hon Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development has mentioned some of the initiatives that we are taking in Mauritius, namely the Maurice Ile Durable vision launched by the Prime Minister, Dr The Hon. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, in 2008. This forward looking vision rests on five pillars: Energy, Environment, Education, Employment and Equity.
Another vision of our Hon. Prime Minister is the development of an Ocean Economy. Mauritius has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world spreading over 2 million square kilometers. A Road Map for the Ocean Economy has been developed and is based on 7 clusters: Marine Biotechnology, Marine Renewable Energy, Seabed Exploration for Hydrocarbons & Minerals, Fishing/Seafood Processing/Aquaculture, Marine Services, Seaport Related Activities and Ocean Knowledge and Deep Ocean Water Applications.
Whether it is the Ocean Economy or the Maurice Ile DurabIe vision, science and technology is cutting across through all these sectors. This is why we are here today to discuss science and technology capacity building and requirements in small island states.
As the Minister responsible for science and technology, I wish to share some views with you.
As small island states of the Indian Ocean region, we have to focus our attention on some fundamental questions, namely whether science and technology are being harnessed towards sustainable development issues, whether we have the required pool of scientists and researchers to address the sustainable development challenges, whether our countries possess the scientific infrastructure and laboratories to promote research in sustainable development and whether our system of science and technology governance responds to the needs of our countries.
The issues related to small island developing states are indeed complex and wide ranging. Policy formulation depends on the data available and assessment of trends. It is necessary for scientists and researchers to develop a better understanding of issues such as climatic change, water security, food security and environmental degradation. Research is essential for the development of strategies on land use, ocean management, atmosphere and water, nutrient and biogeochemical cycles and energy resources. Research on ecological processes with the use of remote-sensing devices, robotic monitoring instruments and computing and modelling capabilities need to be increased. Scientists should explore options for less intensive utilization of energy in industry, agriculture, and transportation.
We need to build the professional skills to undertake research in all these problems that face our countries. In fact, the Government of Mauritius is placing great emphasis on capacity building through increased access to higher education. Our higher education institutions have registered an increase in enrolment over the past years from 16% in 2001 to 50% in 2013. Access to our higher education institutions is open to international students, and 50 scholarships are offered to African students every year.
An IIT Research Academy has become operational in collaboration with the IIT Delhi. It will focus on research in engineering and science fields. As there has been much progress in scientific research on the applications of nanotechnology to water treatment, desalination, and reuse such as nanosorbents to decontaminate water among others, we are setting up a centre for nanotechnology. Work is also being undertaken to promote better understanding on the use of big data and cloud computing, which are important for business intelligence and analytics and to help secure a sustainable future.
In the context of the Maurice Ile Durable strategy, the integration of a sustainable development module in all higher education programmes is being considered. A Centre for tourism and sustainable development will also be set up.
Capacity building in science and technology is critical for small islands and we believe that our countries should pool resources together to create a network of scientists and researchers who would encourage and undertake research in sustainable development issues. With the support of international and regional agencies, namely the Indian Ocean Commission, a platform may be established for establishing priority research and capacity building, to support our respective countries.
This UNESCO workshop will no doubt help to identify research needs related to the challenges facing our islands as well as measures to address them. I understand that UNESCO will forward the recommendations of this workshop to the Third International Conference on SIDS which will be held from 1-4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa. I thank UNESCO once again for the organization of this workshop in Mauritius.
On this note, I declare the workshop open.
Posted by Rajesh Jeetah at 11:35 AM
The new British High Commissioner in Mauritius, His Excellency Jonathan Drew paid a courtesy call upon me. We discussed amongst others the partnership between the United Kingdom and Mauritius in the higher education sector.
Posted by Rajesh Jeetah at 2:50 PM
Speech - ‘ 6th Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture’
Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre - Thursday 21 August 2014
H.E Ms Susan Coles Australian High Commissioner
Prof. Graham Durant, Director, Questacon
Dr. A. K. Maulloo, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me immense pleasure as the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research & Technology to be present at the 6th edition of the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture.
This event is a commemoration of the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi – born on 20 August 1944. It aims at promoting science through lectures by eminent scientists. This year, we have in our midst an eminent scientist and science communicator Prof. Graham Durant, Director of Questacon, Australia.
Much of the science we read in books is hard to imagine. Think of electrons in an orbit, DNA double helix, silicon chips, nuclear reactors, tectonicplates, evolution and many others, the world is awesome to experience. It becomes extremely difficult to encapsulate the innumerable scientific phenomena in straight- jacketed textbooks. And, much more difficult for students to grasp the complexities associated with such phenomena.
Science Centres however, lend a helping hand, simplifying complex ideas and explaining them through working models. Science exhibits at such places are unique resources for non-formal education helping develop skills and positive attitude towards science. They not only give wings to our imagination but also provide a better understanding of the world around us. They are places to discover, explore and test ideas about the natural world.
In recent times the role of science centres has been changing. Science centres popularize science by inculcating a scientific attitude among the people. They also present the advancements of science and technology and their applications in industry and human welfare. Mobile exhibitions, seminars, lectures and various other programs organized by science centres help to bring the common man closer to science.
The Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year has been contributing to dissemination of information on science through a wide range of activities, the most popular ones being the Junior Science Adventure, Science Quest, Sky observation programmes, Science Fun Day, National Science Weeks and Junior Mobile Science.
I have been appraised that our distinguished guest from Questacon has already conducted two interactive workshops. The first one was targeted to school students on the theme “ A World of crystals’’ where students had the opportunity to look at crystals and learn different techniques for growing crystals thus participating in the International Year of Crystallography 2014 as declared by the United Nations.
The second workshop was meant for our educators entitled ‘Hands up for hands-on’’ that introduced some of the ways that formal and informal institutions can work together to build a community of learners.
It is envisaged to embark on discussions for the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Questacon and RGSC for professional development of RGSC staff in the communication of Science and Technology as well as participating and conducting activities and training/workshops/seminars to enhance their knowledge/skills in matters relating to Science & Technology not only for RGSC staff but also professionals from other institutions, the education community and the public in general.
Mauritius has a huge potential for economic growth and Science and Technology is going to play a key role in the economic development of the country. The country needs future scientists, engineers, technicians to work in various fields. The country needs youngsters to develop an interest in science and technology.
In this context Government is sparing no effort to provide the opportunity for every child to access tertiary education. With the aim of transforming Mauritius into a knowledge hub, the government has reiterated its commitment by investing in the International Institute of Technology Research Academy (IITRA) project which will operate with the support of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.
On this note I wish you all the best and I have the pleasure to declare the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture’ open.
Posted by Rajesh Jeetah at 4:24 PM