Schools have a mission: that of providing education. As far as the mission is concerned, there is a general consensus. There is, however, divergence as to the definition of education, its aims and its operational mode.
Schools did not exist. The family was the provider of education. Families integrated into tribes, tribes joined together to form villages and then cities. Eventually the state emerged and overtook, grabbed and monopolised most of the family roles and functions, one of them being education. Schools and universities mushroomed. They happily became the sole proprietors of educational service. They began deciding what the right education for children and adolescents should be.  Parents and students, the main consumers of the service, have been left out of the decision-making process. The state has discovered a subtle means of creating generations of dependent youths roaming around with their piece of papers and begging for jobs. They are dependent on multinationals and on governments for employment. They have received an education devoid of creativity, the power to solve problems, to reason and to question the prevailing state of matters. There are masses of graduates in all fields, unemployed, depressed and soulless. They have even lost their self-esteem. Many of our youth are looking for the first opportunity to emigrate elsewhere.
Curriculum development has become a bureaucratic exercise bereft of any fundamental research on the needs and requirements of individuals, families and society at large. Curriculum changes and reforms are vain words. There has been no significant curriculum change since the CIE examinations were instituted in Mauritius, except for the addition of a few disciplines and the expansion of the syllabus content. When so-called reforms are pompously announced, there are only insignificant changes such as the building of new schools, re-naming of examinations, creating more posts at the level of public administration and teaching posts and denominational changes such as SSS, Form VI schools, middle and high schools, nine-year schooling and so on.
The educational system has created a very local brand monster called Private Tuition. Its magnitude and fierce resistance to any form of control is symptomatic of the utter failure of schools in their mission. Where can we imagine pupils of standards I and II going for tuition? Tuition at six a.m., after school hours, with the class teacher, with another teacher on weekends! When do our children live their childhood?  Should we be surprised that we barely get medals in African sports championships? Have we produced famous artists and musicians? How many books and novels have been written by Mauritian authors? Is there any country where the head of a university (Equivalent in authority to a Vice Chancellor) gives private tuition? Is there anyone who cares about these matters?
In the current government budget nearly fifteen billion rupees have been allocated to the item education. This figure has been constantly increasing both in percentages and in figures. The Cambridge School certificate scores for Mauritius in terms of Good and Credit have been stagnating at 48 % for the past many years. So much money spent, so many school buildings built and maintained, so many teachers employed but not a single report worthy of its name is published. The Federation of unions of Managers of Private secondary schools has continuously claimed for an independent Supervisory body responsible for auditing and evaluating the performance of the education sector. There has been no response.
We hold national meetings, seminars, conferences, radio talks and debates. We present plans and white papers, we announce great changes and innovations and we condemn our predecessors. We create categories and we tag our children: A+, Stars, Academics, Poor performers, low achievers, high flyers and prevocational. We sow the seeds of disharmony and hatred. We marginalise our own people. Unions fight for more money and lesser work. Teachers blame pupils for failure and never perceive their own incompetence in the failure of their pupils. Our pupils are our own children. They come to school with a firm belief in teachers and everyone responsible for imparting education. We must not betray our children.
Only teachers, good genuine teachers, can make pupils succeed. No one is born a teacher. We become great teachers.
To conclude, I am reproducing an extract of an OECD report of 2007 on performance of schools –
“Education reform is top of the agenda of almost every country in the world. Yet despite massive increases in spending (last year, the world’s governments spent $2 trillion on education) and ambitious attempts at reform, the performance of many school systems has barely improved in decades. This is all the more surprising because there are wide variations in the quality of education. For instance, in international assessments, less than one percent of African and Middle Eastern children perform at or above the Singaporean average. Nor is this solely the result of the level of investment. Singapore, one of the world’s top performers, spends less on primary education than do 27 of the 30 countries in the OECD.
To find out why some schools succeed where others do not, we studied twenty-five of the world’s school systems, including ten of the top performers. We examined what these high-performing school systems have in common and what tools they use to improve student outcomes.
 The experiences of these top school systems suggests that three things matter most:
1) getting the right people to become teachers,
2) developing them into effective instructors and,
3) ensuring that the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child.
These systems demonstrate that the best practices for achieving these three things work irrespective of the culture in which they are applied. They demonstrate that substantial improvement in outcomes is possible in a short period of time and that applying these best practices universally could have enormous impact in improving failing school systems, wherever they might be located.”