Update My Profile
Change My Password
MAURITIUS INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION
WRITTEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MAURITIUS INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION – AUDITING – INVESTIGATION
(No. B/705) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the investigation carried out by a team of auditors of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in October 2018 into the alleged case of fraud at the Mauritius Institute of Education, she will state the –
(a) extent thereof detected as at to date, indicating the quantum thereof recovered, if any, and
(b) actions, if any, taken against the officer/s incriminated therein.
Reply: The MIE had reported to the Ministry on 04 June 2018 that following an internal audit carried out by the Internal Auditor of the MIE, it was found that an officer in the grade of Assistant Financial Officer had been involved in a case of misappropriation of funds.
The MIE reported the matter to the Police and to ICAC.
Meanwhile, a Transaction Audit Trail was carried out on the accounting software system to determine the extent of tampering effected on the system. On 20 June 2018, the Finance Section of the MIE and the Internal Audit Section of the Ministry also undertook an in-depth investigation into the Finance Division to ascertain the extent of funds misappropriated.
Moreover, an independent team of four external auditors from the Ministry and from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was appointed to conduct a full scale audit at the MIE, as from 01 August 2018, to determine the extent to which funds had been misappropriated and to propose appropriate checks and balances to be put in place for greater accountability and to eliminate risks of fraud and malpractices.
In addition, the Office of Public Sector Governance was tasked to put in place a robust system at the MIE for greater control and security, better checks and balances and improved governance to safeguard the assets of the organisation. It was also assigned the responsibility to set up a mechanism for the detection of fraud and any other irregularities. The Report of the OPSG was submitted on 26 February 2019 and recommendations thereof are being implemented at the level of the MIE.
With regard to part (a) of the question, I am informed that investigation has revealed that the amount of funds misappropriated stood at Rs2,565,386. On 18 and 21 June 2018, the officer concerned refunded Rs900,000 to the MIE through two (2) bank cheques.
The Police has informed that the enquiry is in progress.
Concerning part (b) of the question, the Attorney General’s Office has served a Mise en Demeure in June 2019 to him for the settlement of the remaining sum of Rs1,665,386. The matter is being closely followed up.
MAURITIUS INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION – TACTILE GIANT SCREENS
(No. B/706) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to the acquisition of some 24 tactile giant screens to the tune of Rs8 m. by the Mauritius Institute of Education, she will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the MIE, information as to if bids were launched therefor and, if not, why not.
Reply: I am informed that a bidding exercise was carried out by the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE) for the procurement of the following equipment to be used in classrooms, in the context of the introduction of innovative and interactive technology and systems for enhanced teaching –
(i) 21 Interactive Touch Flat Panel Display of 65 inches, and
(ii) 3 Interactive Touch Flat Panel Display of 85 inches.
Tenders were launched on 13 October 2017 (12 panels of 65 inches), 18 October 2018 (9 panels of 65 inches) and 23 October 2018 (3 panels of 85 inches).
Following these tender exercises which involved invitation to bidders and evaluation of bids, the contracts were awarded by MIE to the lowest compliant bidders for the sum of Rs1,438,374, Rs1,086,729.30 and Rs714,143.10, respectively. Hence, the acquisition of the 24 tactile screens was not to the tune of Rs8 m.
The touch panels are integrated units that consist of a touch screen. It has a computer embedded with windows and android operational systems, along with provision for Wi-Fi. The MIE has done away with standard projectors and laptops and opted for a device that allows for interactive classrooms with lesser investment and more possibilities in line with the requirements for the 21st Century classrooms.
I further wish to highlight that the Quality Audit Report of 2013 on the MIE recommended the upgrading and further development of ICT facilities and internet connectivity at the MIE. It is in this context and in line with its Strategic Plan that MIE has taken a series of initiatives to strengthen its provision of technology based content delivery.
MIE – MS P. C. – APPOINTMENT
(No. B/764) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research whether, in regard to Ms P. C., she will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Mauritius Institute of Education, information as to the date of appointment thereof, indicating the –
(a) post occupied;
(b) qualifications and experience held, and
(c) terms and conditions of appointment.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am informed by the MIE that following the advertisement for the post of Lecturer at the MIE in December 2017, a selection exercise was carried out. Ms P. C. was offered appointment as Lecturer thereat...
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please! No crosstalking!
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: ...on 20 April 2018.
The qualification requirement for the post of Lecturer as per the Scheme of Service is as follows –
(a) Two ‘A’ levels;
(b) A relevant degree from a recognised institution;
(c) A minimum of two years relevant post qualification experience or a postgraduate qualification normally obtained after one year of full-time study.
As regards part (b) of the question, I am further informed that Ms P. C. holds the following qualifications in line with the Scheme of Service –
(i) a Higher School Certificate;
(ii) a Bachelor of Arts in Economics;
(iii) an MA Economics, and
(iv) a Post-Graduate Diploma in Educational Administration.
She also worked as Educator in the private secondary school. And as for part (c) of the question, she has been offered appointment as Lecturer as per the terms and conditions of the PRB, she was on probation for a period of one year and subsequently she was confirmed to the post of Lecturer following satisfactory service.
Mr Baloomoody: The hon. Minister has chosen only a bit, what suits her with regard to the qualification required, has quoted – I do not want say that you are misleading the House...
The Deputy Speaker: Put your question, hon. Baloomoody!
Mr Baloomoody: ...but probably, you have been misled by the MIE.
One of the main conditions to be appointed as Lecturer of the MIE is that the priority will be given to candidates with higher appropriate pedagogical qualification and this lady does not have any pedagogical qualification. She has...
The Deputy Speaker: Let him finish, and then...
Mr Baloomoody: She has a PG Diploma in Educational Administration and has never worked in a tertiary education institution. She has worked at Presidency or Imperial College, she has been teaching Economics to Grade 10, Grade 13.
The Deputy Speaker: You are providing information. Put your question!
Mr Baloomoody: No, but the hon. Minister wants us to believe that she is qualified; I must say that she is not qualified for the post...
The Deputy Speaker: You are providing information. Ask your question!
Mr Baloomoody: ...she has been working at Imperial College for nine months.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am going to table the Scheme of Service for Lecturer and you will note that in the Scheme of Service they mentioned that –
“In addition a minimum of two years relevant post qualification experience or a postgraduate qualification normally obtained after one year of full-time study.”
A postgraduate qualification. Teaching, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, is part of pedagogical experience.
So, Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I table the Scheme of Service.
Mr Baloomoody: Can I ask the hon. Minister, how is it that this lady, when she was appointed, she was given five increments? I have the letter of appointment - five increments – when, in fact, teachers, who are teaching, the Lecturers who are teaching there with more than five or six years’ experience, are earning less than what she is earning today.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am not aware of the increments being given...
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. Baloomoody, are you tabling, please?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have not finished.
Mr Baloomoody: I am sorry, let me table.
The Deputy Speaker: Let him table!
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, whatever the conditions of employment that the MIE has adopted, is based on PRB recommendations, nothing more nothing less.
Mr Baloomoody: She has been appointed. On the day of her appointment she has been given five increments, which means she is earning more than people who have been teaching at the MIE for more than six years. I table that, five increments once appointed.
Now, apart from that lady, there were people with PhD degrees applied, PhD from the University of Mauritius. Will the hon. Minister be surprised to learn that under the signature of Dr. Varma, the Director writing to the EOC, states the following, listen to that MIE will award Degree University very soon. This is what they say when comparing with the education. The MIE is a higher institution for teacher training, the courses offered by the University of Mauritius does not match our needs and requirement. So, is the MIE today telling the people, telling the nation that the degree earned by the students from University of Mauritius, does not meet the MIE requirement level. I table a letter which was produced and signed by Dr. N. Varma, I do not know whether he has got doctorate in Mauritius, Dr. O. N. Varma, the Director.
The Deputy Speaker: You want to table two letters now?
Mr Baloomoody: Yes, I have already tabled both of them.
So, is the hon. Minister agreeable to the contents of the letter of Dr. Varma that the University of Mauritius degrees does not meet the requirement of the MIE?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I cannot comment on the opinion of Dr. Varma, to start with, and secondly, talking about the requirements, etc., of that particular person and referring to the letter by some other applicants having a PhD, I would like to remind the hon. Member that there is a case at the Supreme Court and this is why I did not comment on this particular part. If there is a case of the Supreme Court on that particular appointment, I wonder whether it is proper to have a discussion in it at the level of the Assembly.
The Deputy Speaker: Next question, please!
Okay, last question.
Mr Baloomoody: This lady, according to the scheme and duties and credentials of staff, of lecturer of the MIE, they should have - pedagogical, she does not have. She has no experience in the use of ICT in performing her duties, she has never confirmed in a substantive capacity, only nine months’ experience at Imperial College and the past performance relating to other cognitive duties, she cannot be assessed.
So, she does not even meet the basic requirement of being a Lecturer and she has been appointed Lecturer over the head of top qualified personnel and she is earning more than those who are lecturing for the last seven months. And is that not protège quelqu’un ou quelqu’une on that matter?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made in Parliament last week. I have got nothing to do with the appointment and there is no point of him saying that she was favoured or not, because her selection was carried out by the Appointments Committee and if even there is any maldonne, obviously, I am going to query the MIE. And anyway, stating if anyone gets appointed by an institution, coming in Parliament and stating that it is because he or she is related to so and so, and let me say that I do not even know the person; that person has been appointed by the MIE, and I think it is very unfair to come and talk about a person who is not Parliament and to make all sorts of allegation on that particular person. I trust the MIE has done its recruitment in the proper way, and if ever there is any maldonne, I am going to take them to task.
Mr Baloomoody: I have not made any allegation. I have come with facts and figures, and documentary evidence to substantiate my question.
The Deputy Speaker: Next question, hon. Baloomoody.
I have said next question. Okay, on a point of order, please!
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member just mentioned that this lady was appointed and given five increments on the day of her appointment....
The Deputy Speaker: Is it a point of order or a point of clarification?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: A point of explanation, a point of clarification. He mentioned that in the letter, that lady was given five increments. I have just seen the letter, nowhere in that letter is such a mention made. Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would send this letter back to the Table.
Mr Baloomoody: ...on that letter, it is written – I have a copy.
The Deputy Speaker: That is why…
Mr Baloomoody: Let me quote from that letter. Let me quote from that letter –
“Your salary will be at the rate of Rs35,275…”
The Deputy Speaker: This is not acceptable hon. Baloomoody! Please, take your seat!
Take your seat!
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: It is the salary scale!
The Deputy Speaker: Are we going to get into an argument on a document that was tabled in the House? That is why I say let’s move on to the next question, please!
Next question, hon. Baloomoody!
Mr Baloomoody: I already mentioned, but the hon. Minister turned up.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please!