Mauritius is a well-known tourist destination with palm fringed beaches, coral reefs and beautiful resorts. It is also an attractive destination for foreign businesses and has a growth rate of between 3 - 4% one of the highest in Africa. Now Mauritius wants to attract more foreign students to its shores and is trading on the following benefits:
- Its proximity to South Africa and Africa
- A safe and stable study environment
- English as the medium of instruction
- Cost of study.
I visited Mauritius to investigate the study options for foreign students and indeed found that there are some significant benefits. For anyone from Africa thinking about international study options, Mauritius may be an option to consider.
The proximity to South Africa is an important consideration, my flight on SAA from Johannesburg to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International took under 4 hours which was very convenient. There are also direct flights on Air Mauritius from Cape Town and from other African countries such as Nairobi in Kenya.
The cost of study varies from institution to institution, the exchange rate (currently 1 ZAR to 2.55 Mauritian Rupee (MUR) is very favourable. Read more on specific cost for study and accommodation below. Keep in mind the cost of flights. Do your research on costs and check the exchange rate! I visited the two foremost universities in Mauritius namely, the University of Mauritius and Middlesex University (UK). Visit www.gostudy.net/mauritius to find accredited programmes which you can study in Mauritius.
University of Mauritius
The University of Mauritius, established in 1965 is the national university of Mauritius. The campus is located in the heart of a modern business district called Réduit, a great position, 14km from the capital, Port Louis. The student population is just under 10 000 students and the University offers a good range of study options including, Engineering, Law, Science, Agriculture and Social Science. The campus has a lush garden environment which creates an open and relaxed feel.
I met with the University Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources, Prof. Mohammad Issack Santally and his assistant who showed me around the campus. He was keen to point out that the University is targeting students from South Africa and Africa and is wanting to significantly increase its international student enrollment. There are currently only 64 international students at the university but this number is growing; the reasons for this are:
- The University has doubled its intake of IT students this year to cope with the local demand for these skills from industry
- The Engineering faculty is in the process of accrediting its programmes through with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)
- The University has started a collaboration with the University of Arizona in the US to offer dual programmes in Engineering. Students who complete this programme can opt to complete their final two years in Arizona.
Prof. Santally explained that the government is investing in higher education in order to increase the number of foreign students studying in Mauritius. This will not only serve as a source of foreign revenue but will reduce the problem of “brain drain” by encouraging young Mauritians to study at home rather than to go abroad to study.
Cost of study: One of the biggest competitive advantages to studying at the University of Mauritius is the cost of study. The average cost of tuition for a 3 year programme is approximately 250 000 MUR or R98 000! Accommodation and living costs combined are relatively good 9 500 MUR per month or R3 500 (about R42 000 per year).
Middlesex University (Mauritius)
Middlesex University is located in Vacoas located around 45 minutes drive from Port Louis and is one of the quieter parts of the island. If you are a surfer it is not too far from a well-known surf spot called Tamarin Bay which happens to be a location where many expats prefer to live. Middlesex University was recently recognised as one of the top 500 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. One of the reasons for this recognition is the University's international outlook because it has campuses in London, Malta, Dubai and Mauritius.
The campus in Vacoas is has state of the art facilities and forms part of an education hub with a private school, gymnasium, sports grounds and a shopping complex. The shopping complex even has a Woollies. I met with the Head of Marketing for Middlesex Mauritius, Rakesh Ram who proudly showed me the view from the library overlooking the Indian Ocean in the distance: “Where in the world can you study a UK degree at such a price and with such a beautiful view?” he said smiling. I was impressed with the facilities especially the library, lecture halls, classrooms and computer facilities. The residences look fantastic from the outside although I did not get a chance to look inside.
The programmes offered at the campus include bachelor degrees and master degrees, in IT, Law (LLB), Social Science, and Business. The business programmes include: accounting, finance and media. There are no medical or engineering programmes on offer except for Psychology offered under the Social Science Faculty and a Master’s degree in Midwifery. The only science programme on offer is a BSc in Computer Science. Rakesh said that one of the advantages of studying through Middlesex Mauritius is that you may transfer from Mauritius to either London, Dubai or Malta campuses.
Before I left, Rakesh gave me a brochure for South African students, an indication of the Universities intent to attract South African students.
Entry requirements: For direct entry into first year of undergraduate programmes applicants should hold a South African National Senior Certificate with at least 2 subjects at level 6 (70-79%) and a 5 (substantial achievement 60-69%) for 3 subjects or more. Life orientation will not be considered. For the Foundation entry programme applicants should pass a minimum of 4 subjects have a minimum of an NSC with an achievement rating of 4 (adequate achievement, 50-59%).
Cost of study at Middlesex Mauritius: The cost of a 3 year undergraduate degree is approximately 215000 MUR annum, approximately R84 000 ZAR per annum, which is competitive when considering the cost of public and private higher education in South Africa. Accommodation on-campus varies between 9 000 MUR and 12 000 MUR per month (approximately R3 500 - R4 600 per month).
For more information about studying in Mauritius contact, email@example.com and I will be happy to answer any questions. Visit the website, www.gostudy.net/mauritius for more information on all accreditted study institutions in Mauritius. GoStudy provides career guidance websites in 14 African countries, www.gostudy.net.
Stats on Mauritius:
- The flying time is 4 hours from Johannesburg and 4.15 from Nairobi
- Mauritius is a tropical island in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Madagascar.
- The island is surrounded by one of the largest unbroken coral reefs in the world
- Mauritius has a population of approximately 1.3 million people
- The area of the country is 2,040 km2 (about 45km wide by 65km in length)
- The largest city, Port Louis, is its capital
- English is the official language of the island, although you are likely to hear French, Créole (a mixture of French and various African dialects)
- Weather; Mauritius has a mild tropical climate throughout the year with 2 seasons: a warm humid summer from November to April and a relatively mild dry winter from June to September. The summer season temperature varies between 25°C to 36°C along the coast. The temperature difference between the seasons is only 4.3 degrees Celsius.
- Mauritius is consistently ranked high on the scale for ease of doing business by the World Bank and has a consistent growth rate of between 3 and 4% one of the highest in Africa (http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/mauritius).
Benefits of Studying in Mauritius:
- Cost of study
- Proximity – under 4 hours flight from Johannesburg
- Stable and safe environment to study
- Tropical island
- Can work 20 hours per week part-time while studying
- Study a UK degree (at Middlesex)
- Networking in a new country – new opportunities
- Warm multi-ethnic population who are friendly and welcoming to foreigners.
- Consider what recognition your degree will have in the country you wish to work in after you return home (if you plan on returning home)
- Limited range of study institutions to choose from
- Limited range of study programmes
- No legislation in place for work opportunity after completing a degree.
My impressions of Mauritius:
I was impressed with Mauritius as a study destination especially as it is a small island country. The beauty of the island serves as an idyllic backdrop with its striking volcanic mountains, coral reefs and palm fringed beaches. Mauritius is a busy place, there are lots of people around and there are sharp contrasts between the poorer older parts and the more modern sophisticated developments. For example, Ebene Cybercity is an impressive new information technology hub and is home to many international financial and IT businesses. I was surprised to see how many newly built shopping malls there are in Mauritius all housing familiar South African retail brands like Woolworth and Shoprite. The unemployment rate is relatively low when compared to other African countries (standing at 8%) and from all of the business activity and develpment taking place it appears that the country is attracting a lot of foreign investment especially from India and South Africa. The education sector is growing too and there is a clear intent on the part of government to promote Mauritius to South Africans and Africans in general whilst at the same time trying to reverse the brain-drain at home by investing in the Higher Education.
Students wishing to study in Mauritius may contact Dennis at PACE Career Centre for advice and information. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.