Private Indian universities setting up campuses in Mauritius are helping the island nation off the African coast realise its vision of transforming into a knowledge hub. Two of the largest private universities in India, the DY Patil Medical College and Amity University, are in the process of setting up their campuses in Mauritius. The JSS Mahavidyapeetha (JSSMVP), a Karnataka-based educational foundation, established the JSS Academy of Technical Education in Mauritius in 2006.
As private universities in India seek to expand to foreign shores, Mauritius is an obvious choice for its proactive plans for expanding higher education in the country. The government in the Indian Ocean island nation, with a population of 1.3 million, has placed a strong focus on education. Education is free till the college level and is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 12 years. Amity University’s director of international affairs Gen R.K. Dhawan said: “The Mauritius government has very good policies on higher education. It is the objective of the Mauritius leadership to have one graduate in every family by 2020.
With this type of commitment to education, the policy is very supportive of higher education.” By attracting foreign universities to open new campuses in Mauritius, the government plans to increase the enrolment in tertiary education within the country as well as attract foreign students. The presence of large, dynamic private universities like Amity and DY Patil will help bring in foreign students from African countries as also other parts of the world. This would help to make Mauritius a knowledge hub in the African region. All three educational groups are among the larger private educational institutions in India. The DY Patil Group has three deemed universities in India, at Navi Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur. A fast-growing university, Amity has the experience of opening campuses in Dubai, Singapore, Britain and the US.
JSS Academy is located in a sprawling eight-acre campus in Bonne Terre, Vocoas, and aims to be the centre of excellence in technical education in the region. Amity will begin enrolment for its campus in Mauritius this year. The Amity campus in the Ebne area will eventually offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the fields of management, finance, hospitality and tourism, engineering and sciences, amongst others. The DY Patil post-graduate school of medicine was started in 2009 at Quatre-Bornes, with 28 local and foreign students. It is partnered with the University of Technology, Mauritius, (UTM) and the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital for clinical training of the students.
The medical college offers specialties such as general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics, general medicine, paediatrics, dermatology and anaesthesiology. The number of African students taking admission in Indian educational institutions too has been showing a steady increase in the past few years. “The main reasons for choosing India is the quality education at relatively lower costs as compared to other countries and a familiar educational system,” explained Usha Negi of the Association of Indian Universities. The maximum number of students from Africa studying in India are from Ethiopia, followed by Kenya, Sudan, Mauritius and Tanzania. Under a hundred students each come from Eritrea and Somalia, while a few of them come from Ivory Coast, Lesotho and Liberia. According to some unofficial estimates, around 35,000 African students are enrolled in Indian institutions of higher learning.
The Mauritius government believes that good educational facilities would make Mauritius a preferred choice for the thousands of African students who go abroad to study. Minister Rajesh Jeetah of the new ministry of tertiary education, science, research and technology has talked of creating “an education hub in Mauritius where 100,000 foreign students can come to study.” Mauritius has actively sought foreign investment in higher education by offering attractive investment opportunities in the education sector in line with the rapidly growing education demands in the region and in Mauritius. Mauritius expects significant growth in sectors such as communication technology, outsourcing, hospitality, financial services and healthcare.