The Director, UNESCO Regional Office, Prof Hubert Gijzen, paid a courtesy call, today, on the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at the New Treasury Building, Port Louis. He was accompanied by the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun.
In a statement after the meeting, Vice-Prime Minister Dookun-Luchoomun said that discussions focused on the use of technology at school and how UNESCO can provide assistance as regards the digitalisation of the education sector.
Furthermore, the importance of STEM, which is an approach to learning and development that integrates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, was also on the agenda, she stated. According to her, the number of young women who are engaged in research is on the rise and more are choosing STEM subjects. She said that Government will also work out a Strategy as regards STEM adding that they will benefit from the expertise of an expert from UNESCO.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun pointed out that, with the assistance of UNESCO, a new curriculum will be worked out in line with the new pillars of the economy. The focus, she added, will be on high-end technical expertise for the industries of the future and the need to ensure that young people have the necessary skills. Mauritius will benefit from the expertise of UNESCO in this endeavor, she said.
For his part, the Director, UNESCO Regional Office, Prof Hubert Gijzen, recalled that this is his first official visit to Mauritius and said that the meeting focused mainly on how to provide stronger support to the Mauritian Government in terms of digital transformation, climate change, blue economy and green transformation. He added that UNESCO will support the country in these areas.
He said that the world has witnessed a global crisis , adding that building a stronger economy is imperative. He lauded the country’s strong and resilient economy, which has helped it face the challenges brought about by COVID-19 such as school closure. Digital readiness and economic activity will continue when the country has the right digital preparedness, he stated. He lauded the Government for its vision of digitalising Mauritius which will further contribute to resilience of vulnerabilities brought about by COVID-19.
He also dwelt on the vulnerabilities faced by Mauritius which is a small island in the face of climate change impacts, extreme weather events, fresh water issues, and food security. He pointed out that Prime Minister Jugnauth has also underlined the need to further diversify the economy and look at the opportunities of the blue economy, green economy, and digital transformation.
Speaking about World Heritage Sites, Prof Hubert Gijzen said that the Mauritius is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Le Morne Cultural Landscape and Aapravasi Ghat, and that these historical landmarks define what Mauritius is today. Discussions with the Prime Minister, he added, focused on finding the right balance between preservation and infrastructural development.