To address the red-taping issues related to the processing of MoUs and Agreements, while ensuring that key procedures are adhered to within the principles of good governance, the office of Planning & Resources has reviewed the procedure in consultation with the key stakeholders to streamline the processes and administrative burden to improve efficiencies at all levels.
The Information Technology Strategy Committee (ITSC)
The ITSC (previously Information Technology Advisory Committee) is chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (P&R). The main terms of reference of the ITSC is to serve as a platform for brainstorming about strategic IT to support the educational strategy of the University and to act as an an advisory body to the University with respect to the use of ICTs to improve business processes. The work of the committee for the past three years has been to focus on the improvement of admissions and student application processes, including online payment via credit card and upload of supporting documents for international students. The ITSC also looks at different IT policies and their institutional and legal implications prior to recommending to the Council for approval (e.g. Cyber-Insurance policy and IT Business Continuity Plan). The UoM dashboard is also operational to provide real-time information to decision-makers during the marketing phases of our courses preceding each intake.
The GTES Policy Framework
The Graduate Training Employment Scheme is a project of Government through the HRDC to promote re-skilling of unemployed graduates in key sectors and to guarantee them employment in the private sector. This was a multi-impact project which would improve the employability of young unemployed graduates, promote industry-academia partnerships and generating revenue. In 2017, the University of Mauritius was lagging behind in its involvement in GTES for a lack of policy framework in place. The approval of the GTES policy framework by the Council kickstarted the University’s involvement in the GTES project. The total approved project value under GTES by the HRDC is approximately MUR 18M. A collaboration with another IT company name is already underway. Ceridian will fund the setting up of a digital innovation lab at the University. A project in AI training worth 7M has been approved in February 2020. This brings our fund-raising total on GTES projects alone, to 25M MUR over the past three years, while it was practically NIL from 2015-2017.
Joint offer of MA Educational Leadership with University of Seychelles
This is a pioneering and innovative educational project, whereby a full-fledged fee-paying Masters programme has been mounted solely from open educational resources and offered fully online in collaboration with University of Seychelles. In the first intake, approximately 40 educators (including 25 Seychelles educators) embarked on this programme. The experience from this innovative online project will be used as steppingstone to widen the eLearning initiative of the University.
Achieving Financial Resilience
The different strategies put forward by the Senior Management team with respect to budget preparation, promotion of revenue generating activities, efficient marketing to increase postgraduate and international student numbers, and improvement of efficiency at different levels has resulted in an accounting surplus in 2019 in the official accounts, as approved by Council of the University after recent struggles of the University to cope with recurring budgetary deficits.
The Technology-Enabled Learning Policy
The eLearning initiative started in 2001 at the University of Mauritius through the Virtual Centre for Innovative Learning Technologies as the pioneer of ICTs in Education in Mauritius. However, the University has struggled over the years, with respect to the direction for education technologies, and to promote the uptake of innovative technology-enabled pedagogies by academics of the institution. In 2017, the technology-enabled learning policy developed by the P&R office in consultation with CILL and Faculties was finally approved at Council. This policy is an important enabler for the success of the Learner-Centered Credit System (LCCS) initiative, led by the office of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academia). It is also an important aspect of the University’s plan to diversify revenue streams through online learning provisions over the African region.
The strategic engagement with the press through regular requests for coverage of events, press releases, the use of social media such as Facebook to promote the University’s activities and interviews of different officers of the University contributed to restore a positive perception of the general public towards the institution. The University’s activities were also promoted through the different recruitment agents and video interviews of high-profile Alumni of the UoM. The University has been having recourse to professional digital marketing companies such as Keystone Academic Solutions to market our high-end dual degree courses with University of Arizona and Paris-Seine. Emphasis has been laid both on the local and international markets with respect to brand promotion and upholding of the University’s image and reputation as the premier National University of Mauritius. The impact of our actions has been clearly demonstrated by the gradual rise in the number of international student applications and increasing number of requests from different European institutions to participate in Erasmus+ programmes with them.