Hard work reaps rewards. This is a direct reference to our laureates, who see their academic efforts crowned by scholarships from the Mauritian government, duly funded by tax-payers’ money, apart from additional scholarships from other private organizations, year after year. Of course, those who do well should be given all the necessary facilities to further their studies, career opportunities and turn their dreams into reality. There is nothing wrong with that.
However, at this point in time, most of the laureates have not deemed it fit to return to Mauritius and contribute towards their country’s well-being. Poor wages and limited job opportunities have been primarily blamed, despite the laureates’ emotional speeches that they will return to their dear motherland and help their people, upon completion of their studies. How many times have we been witnessing these scenes on TV ? The non-return of our laureates entails that the Rs 500 000 bond should have been refunded but this has been met with almost no success. As the brain drain carries on, we find that the funding drain is functioning in parallel. And this is made worse by scrapping this bond system. Instead, laureates will now have to make a solemn pledge to serve their motherland. Skeptics will be quick to point out that ‘money talks’ and mere words do not stand a chance when faced with the attraction of higher wages, numerous job opportunities and the glitz of living in a foreign country. Where does Mauritius thus stand ? So far, the Rs 500 000 bond has been a failure to draw the brightest brains back. Will an oath really do the trick ? Should Mauritius guarantee well-remunerated jobs to the laureates or is it the latter’s responsibility to apply for jobs, like any other graduates who were not laureates but nonetheless as bright or even more and who used their own financial means to pay for their studies ? As we speak, there are around 8 500 unemployed graduates in Mauritius and the list will go on expanding, with the setting up of more universities, in line with the government’s vision to have at least one graduate per family. So, should some be considered more equal than others when it concerns job opportunities, despite having similar qualifications eventually, laureate or not ?
Mauritius has the ambition of priding itself as an ‘Education Hub. ‘ Potentially, with the right brains, proper research facilities, extensive outsourcing and networking among other factors, we could perhaps attempt to embark upon this path. But the power of our bright brains depends on their intrinsic conviction while they will make their pledge to serve their country. Hopefully, it will not turn out to be a case of ‘It’s only words… ‘ Hopefully, their pledge will encourage them to give something back to their country, which is doing so much for them and has such high expectations from them…