As the chart shows it has fallen steadily in Mauritius for the last decade after stagnating for another one. The lack of progress in the latter has enabled a rapidly-improving Rodrigues to catch up with her bigger sister and even overtake her in 2011 – way to go Rodrigues! But things have deteriorated significantly there in the past four years with the pass rate collapsing to levels not seen in fifteen years.

This is very worrying given that these pass rates don’t measure the entire harm done by our outdated educational system, one which relies too much on rote-learning. They definitely do not because for one Cambridge says 70% of the students have passed but the ministry decides that 70% can’t progress to Lower 6. Besides the collapse is too significant to brush it aside with the recommendation that students should work harder. A better approach is required so that we fully grasp what’s happening and respond appropriately.

This should include asking independent psychometricians to check if exam difficulty explains any of the mess. And listening to Ken Robinson who reminds us that intelligence has three characteristics But not before the Minister of Education makes an evaluation of the 3-credit policy public.

Finally a former Education Minister mentioned recently that most of the HSC laureates come from well-to-do families thereby confirming that the underprivileged have the odds stacked against them. These can be improved by allocating these scholarships to poor:average:rich in the ratio 45:35:20 after bonds are reinstated. The current setup might also need to be reviewed.