Seeneevassen, first Minister of Education
Renganaden Seeneevassen was appointed Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs in 1957 following the introduction of the ministerial system of government. During the previous six years he had been the Liaison Officer for Health, having been appointed to that position in 1951 by the Governor, and had gained considerable experience in the work of a department.
So Seeneevassen was the first Minister of Education of Mauritius. The system of education that he ‘inherited’ was in dire need of reform. The provision of education for all left a lot to be desired. The administrators had had little to do with the bulk of the teaching profession. There were many private secondary colleges all over the country that catered for families who were able to afford secondary education for their children. These colleges needed to be regulated to ensure uniform standards across the whole sector.
Seeneevassen took immediate steps to reform the education system that prevailed. He introduced the Education Ordinance of 1957 to democratize the system with a view to making education, especially primary education, more freely available to the children of Mauritius, resulting in a record intake of 25,000 children in the 1958 school year. He also saw to it that the number of Junior scholarships was increased from 90 to 120. Provision was made for the proper registration and control of private schools. Minimum standards were set for all teachers, who had to go through proper training and be registered with the Ministry of Education. Schools were to be safe and healthy places for learning and teaching.
Thus during Seeneevassen’s very short time as Minister of Education, Mauritius got its first Code of Education, which laid the foundations for future developments in the field of education in the country.