At a meeting of LALIT’s Education Commission held on Sunday 6 September, members present, through analysis and a two-hour discussion of the Minister’s own documents, exposed the main contradictions of Minister of Education, Leela-Devi Dookun’s 9-Year Schooling Plan.
First, in the Press, Ms. Dookun speaks of her undying dedication to the “epannwisman” of each and every child, pledging that the child’s personal development is her aim. And yet when you look at her own one-page diagrammatic Summary on the Education Ministry’s website, what do you find at the top of the page? You find the word “labour market”. So, as usual, the bourgeois state pretends to be caring for the “epannwisman” of each child, while in fact preparing children for the “labour market”. If the bosses wanted slaves, the meaning behind this give-away, the State would provide them. In fact, it so often does.
Second, and it is linked to the first point, Ms. Dookun begins by saying the education system, as it is, is already working quite well. There is no need, she says, for anything more than the minor changes she is presenting, essentially to limit the “wastage” by too many children being left by the way-side. In fact, all children are left by the way-side through the ferocious and counter-productive competition, which produces nothing but stress for children, especially those of petit-bourgeoisie parents, who are the most stressed, even more stressed than their children. Capitalism allows for upward ascendency from the working masses into the petit-bourgeoisie, but the very spectre of downward descent, is truly horrifying to those at the bottom edges of the elite.
Third, and also linked to the first and second points, is the question of “there is an elephant in the room” while everyone pretends there’s nothing unusual happening. We are referring, of course, to the language issue. Ms Dookun chooses to ignore it. But, when children learn through a foreign tongue, there are terrible consequences. Bigger and more violent than an elephant in the room. Unlike, say, the much-referred-to and rather terrifying “model” of Singapore where English is, as it happens, the vernacular, in Mauritius, on the contrary English and French are as good as dead languages to 90% of children or more. So, when they are used as the medium of instruction in schools, ambitious children develop rote-learning skills and thus dull their cognitive development and their creativity in order to pass examinations by putting chunks of undigested text to memory; and the less ambitious children do so badly that some 40% of school-leavers, if not more, after 11 years compulsory schooling, are unable to read and write by the UNESCO definition.
LALIT’s Education Program (a booklet) is still perhaps the best source of both deep analysis and good proposals for the decrease of unhealthy competition. It is also the first program that addresses the importance of developing creativity in children, because society needs innovative thinkers. You can refer to it by using the “search engine” on the site. You can also see the news section (next to this article) for LALIT’s original analysis of the 9-Year Schooling Plan, as published in our magazine, REVI LALIT.