Home > Uncategorized > Intellectual sustainability – durabilite intellectuelle – a bouzermaurice concept the case of Mauritius – Migration circulare- brain drain – bouzermaurice concept

Intellectual sustainability – durabilite intellectuelle – a bouzermaurice concept the case of Mauritius – Migration circulare- brain drain – bouzermaurice concept


Basically linked to brain drain, intellectual sustainability is a broader concept. Intellectual sustainability encompasses the ability of a country to development intellectual resources for its development and more importantly to retain this knowledge for the furtherance of its growth. Unfortunately our country has been very weak at keeping its best brains to service the country. One of the key reasons to it is the low pay but also the variety of opportunities which one could obtain abroad. But the basic reason behind is the failure of the society to train our youth to think Mauritius rather than Me.  The Migration Circulaire agreement Mauritius  is signing with Canada and France could be detrimental to long term growth. What would happen if they get married there? It should not turn into an ‘Emigration fast track’.    Our dear laureates who have cost at the very least Rs 1,000,000 each are reluctant to come back or even to pay the bond they agreed at inception. They claim to raise our national flag high abroad but who cares? A shame! You can have the best brain but not necessarily the best moral values and ethics . The greatest resource of Mauritius is its human resources. We should therefore ensure we give enough incentive to pull them back. (to be continued)

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Laureate
    May 26, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    The Laureate system has as its main intent to act as a ‘reward’ or incentive mechanism that attracts students to do their best in all their subjects rather than just be good at one of them. It is not a mere ‘prize’ as some would say.

    I believe those who worked hard and, whether they stayed back in Mauritius or not, did their best to get good results at the HSC mainly because the carrot was dangling in front of them and less because of the stick the teacher had in his hands (which only works at CPE level probably).

    Hence, the Laureate system promotes high-quality secondary studies (from the students) and high-quality teaching as well. Teachers have to do their best to get laureates, otherwise their tuition fees will go down. It is fair to say that these days, ‘laureate-makers’ even charge a premium (given the high demand and poor supply).

    Who is to say that with no laureate system, we would have achieved the level of educated mass we have right now? Compared to the number of laureates who have emigrated, the mass of brilliant HSC students who didn’t get a scholarship or studied from their own funds, and stayed back, is much larger. And because of such competition, the quality of students at the tertiary level is much higher too. This can only be healthy for this sector.

    Now, it is also true that competition has its dark sides (e.g., depression, imbalanced education, etc…). But let’s turn to the issue of laureates not coming back.

    Laureates tend to study 3-4 years abroad, given just about enough funding to pay expensive rents and adequate food. Some may be prejudiced in thinking that Laureates have ‘la belle vie’ abroad, but this is not true. Every scholarship winner has to struggle abroad – with no support from parents, they have to study, cook their own food, and wash/iron their clothes. It’s a great experience but it’s also a tough one. But that aside, let’s turn to the moral/ethical issue.

    At the end of three years of study, a student wants to acquire work experience to some degree. To get work experience abroad is a boon. Not everyone makes it – to get a job, one would have to submit at least 20 job applications before getting one interview -especially during the current stock market crisis. Say the student went back Mauritius to work – what would he/she bring back – knowledge from University? Is that enough – of course not – especially if it is not of PostGraduate level.

    Workwise, an undergraduate cannot claim to be an expert – on the contrary, most employers abroad consider undergrads to be mere apprentices completely ignorant of work ethics, and the usefulness of the knowledge they have. Assuming the student does come back home, lives at home, works for a big bank in Mauritius – what will she bring in terms of knowledge of processes/technologies/management skills. The answer is practically nothing. The main advantage might be some knowledge of some new technique/software – but after spending 1 year in Mauritius, this advantage would disappear.

    It is a matter of argument whether a laureate can contribute the most after postgraduate studies, but it is surely the case after getting work experience abroad -even for 1 or two years. Unfortunately, the Laureate scheme does not permit this. The rule is that the student should get back as soon as the degree is over. Even staying on for a further degree is not allowed unless special permission is requested.

    The dilemma is the following – how should a student act in the interest of her country?

    Surely, it’s not the rule ‘return after your studies’ that decides the right or wrong decision to make. It is a case of balancing what’s common sense and what’s not.

    Let’s take an idealised example- let’s say a student stays abroad, gets a high paid job, opens up a company abroad and decides to create a branch in Mauritius ….only because it’s his home country. By so doing, she would have created jobs, contributed to the economy, and raised the international profile of the country.

    Compare this with another idealised example of a student who gets a job in a company in Mauritius, becomes a top manager and works hard to get his company competing on international market.

    Which is better? Most people would agree with the first. The question is, does this work the same way if we look at the worst case scenarios i.e., student unsuccessful abroad and ends up as a manager of some sort but does not contribute anything back to the country, and student works in Mauritius in a poorly paid unininteresting job (We can easily cancel out the worst case where the student stays abroad with a poor job, as she’d obviously prefer the sunny beaches back home instead).

    Again, worst case analysis would reveal that its better for the student to stay abroad, and at the very least, send some money to her parents.

    Balancing all incentives, it is clear that it is in the national interest for the student to stay abroad BUT with the intention to contribute, at some point in the near future, to the Mauritian economy – of course, if she is capable of doing so.

    However, most laureates fail in this – succesful ones are rarely amazing business magnates. Before they leave for their studies, none of them are given enough inspiration to be pioneers, leaders in their domain – rather, they are asked – what job will you do/How hard was your high-school studies (as if it was the sole goal in life)? Not: what domain will you try to become an international leader in? What business will you set up after your studies to help people back home? How will you, when you become a great doctor, come back to help setup a better health system and training for our young doctors?…. given enough time to become a leader.

    So, for those who don’t want to think about contributing back, they might as well pay the bond if they intend to settle abroad.

    For those who are thinking of contributing and setting up a new branch of IBM, Sarova Hotel, or other international company, the decision is not clear cut. Do they pay the bond and absolve themselves of all moral issues or do they work hard to contribute?

    The thorn stuck in their heart and mind that is the bond,is a necessary reminder that they must return home one day, with something to give back. Something BIG.

    • May 27, 2010 at 4:35 am

      There is definitely some truth in what you say but let’s put things simply…signing a bond means what it means…you sign it and you comply with its conditions which are therein. Second, being a laureate does not mean belle vie but having the opportunity to go for higher studies in the best universities…now the decision to come back to Mauritius is a difficult one especially when you know that most of these laureates do excel overseas and only come back on holidays…whether they will be investing in Mauritius or not is quite hazy and statistically speaking is nopes…well this is a difficult issue but a nice one at the same time…the bond should maybe not preclude the possibility of working a few years abroad…but what happens if after the few set years the laureate indeed does not come back…if you take it on the financial aspect…if all these laureates were indeed to pay back it would be millions of rupees that would be generated and could fund other things…and mind you no interest is being charged…the burden would otherwise be much higher

  2. Laureate
    May 27, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    To sum up, the question is:Assuming you don’t want to pay the bond, do you pay the bond (because you are forced to) and that means you are now free to forget the country? Or you don’t pay the bond (in the hope you will pay back at some point) and you always remember you have to pay it? And paying back later may mean paying back much more than 500K + interest in terms of investing in a company or bringing state-of-the art technology.

    Another question is: Why would a laureate pay back 500K to ‘help the economy’? There is no guarantee where this money will go. In Xavier’s next maja karo party on a sunny beach? Navin’s new aston martin or ferrari?

    There is a clear disparity between the request to pay the bond (to help the economy) and the behaviour of government. If they were consistent all along – say like the Singaporean government- you’d find more Mauritians go back – a you find Singaporeans going back.

    I bet if we sell Navin’s aston martin, we could build 3 primary schools, better AIDS and cancer treatment centres. But you’ll find fewer students criticising him than criticising laureates.

    • May 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm

      Nimak haram do you know what it means? Your reasoning shows that laureates are no more than academic robots with selfish goals and aspirations ready to sacrifice the properity and political leadership which they could have incarnated for their own petty desires. Despite the criticisms which are levelled towards politicians, it is the same politicians who allow ungrateful people like the laureates to obtain scholarships year in and year out. The laureate system has created a race of bigoted academics thinking that their logic is the only one. \the purpose of the laureate system is clearly to train professionals to come back to \mauritius to help the country prosper and attain higher levels of development. \however, with the attitude displayed by laureates who seem to think of scholarships worth millions of rupees as mere rewards shows the narrowness of their thought and the utter selfishness of such individuals. carpe diem, i have said whatever \i had to. If so called laureates want to stay abroad, they should decline the scholarships and study through loans, which they would have to pay back with interest… the scholarship system is the same. \people who have thrived on the loopholes of a system should not pose as altars of ethics in the eyes of \mauritian society, for they are no better than national thieves. Btw those having benefitted from other scholarships and displaying the same attitude are no better…

  3. Gopal
    June 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Dear Mr. bouzer,

    Nice debate but the tone seems to have suddenly changed. The discussion seemed to be civilised until the latest bilious reply! Did you have a bad day?

    It looks more like a personal attack on Laureate rather than an argument based on key points except for this: if the laureates decide to stay abroad, they should decline the scholarship – which they may not be able to afford – or pay their bond as Laureate said. I can’t see where she disagrees.

    So far, the discussion had centered around the issue of how best would the laureate contribute back and then the issue of ‘contracting’ coupled with an opt-out penalty (i.e., the bond).

    Now it has turned to the issue of patriotism (or anti Nimak haramism) (it does sound like Moustasse-style talk btw).

    It’s hard to say what is more morally appealing when most people who want to get a good job in Mauritius, when they get back (say as advisor to a minister or as bank manager), need to get ‘backing’ to do so. Isn’t this unethical? The consequence of not getting backing is to get a job in a firm at the bottom of the latter or end up, at best, as a junior civil servant. Does that seem attractive to a newly qualified graduate holding a crisp certificate in hand? … the nimak haram laureate, in this case, faces a quandary… wasting a certificate on a job that does not match his expectations, foregoing his moral values by getting a backing, or not getting back to his country… if she is really a nimak haram she will not get back, if she isn’t she’ll think about making the jump at some point i guess…

    That said, none of them are attractive to me. The saddest part of the story is that everyone talks about laureates coming back but no one talks about ‘creating leaders’ as Laureate said….

    I would be very happy to hear your views on how we can improve our education and welfare system to create ‘leaders’. Would military service help? Shouldn’t business leaders in the country show the path? Some reading of Swami Vivekananda’s work might help too!

    • June 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      Dear Gopal, I think you miss the point!!There is no personal attack whatsoever.The leaders in Mauritius were not necessarily the sons of someone or whatever…there are many self made man who have become leaders in their field in Mauritius. There are no predefined programs to make people become great leaders. If you have the charisma you will succeed, if you don’t but still have got brains you will be working in a quite strategic positions in one of top 100 in Mauritius. The Laureates are given good treatment overall in Mauritius..you simply have to see what the few of them who have indeed come back where they stand today, ils ne sont pas a plaindre… I can pretty well understand that someone who has been studying using his own means stay some time abroad just to recoup the money spent while the laureate does not have to recoup anything.
      Bottomline – it is illegal not to respect the terms of a contract…this is the FIRST thing
      Secondly, coming back or not is in the hands of the laureate concerned. Though in the FUTURE the contract could maybe be amended to include some predefined work experience abroad. In fact, the Govt has blindly believed that the laureates, what we call the l’elite de la nation mauricienne were icons of ethics… But disappointingly experience shows that once they learn to fly, most laureates do not come back and they, as well as their parents who also signed the bonds, are experts at playing hide and seek with the legal authorities of Mauritius, in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable or negotiate something to which they are not entitled to…looking for the grace of the Govt…as I said in my first comment A SHAME!!!

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