The TEC and its incredible blunders

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The TEC is the apex regulatory body for tertiary education in Mauritius. If Mauritius wishes to provide quality education and to place its universities among the most reputable in the world, it is incumbent on the TEC to ensure that only the best are authorized to operate in Mauritius.

Of late, however, events have shown that the management of tertiary education has been left to people who are not qualified for this important mission, as is often the case I regret to say in Mauritius, after watching the disgraceful series of events which has enfolded itself over the last few weeks and the shameful explanations given by those involved, one wonders whether it is possible to fall to greater depths.

If a person wishes to secure the humblest job in our country, even as a domestic servant, he must satisfy his prospective employer of his unblemished character. He must produce references, and most importantly, a certificate from his last employer. That is standard practice that the most elementary textbook on HRM teaches. When we were in charge of a ministry and any top guy was proposed to us for high office, our minister and ourselves would invariably ask for his bio-data.

On the basis of this important tool, we would seek his last employer’s recommendation as to his suitability or otherwise for the job. Bylaw an employer is bound to give an accurate and objective view of any of his former employees. In the case of the current Executive Director of the TEC, it would seem, from a reading of press reports, that no such precaution has been taken.

What is worse is that for such an important position where a foreigner is being considered, the usual practice followed by ministers and their advisers has been completely ignored. His last substantive job I understand, was with the Delhi University. However, he was apparently on a sabbatical leave and had taken the job of Vice Chancellor in an open university at Allahabad. A proper enquiry through the diplomatic channel or discreetly through our High Commissioner in the Indian capital, would have revealed whether he has been the subject of a disciplinary committee and, if yes, whether he had been cleared. I cannot help reflecting that it has taken some decades for past generations to build up the reputation of Mauritius as a respectable place, not only as a tourist resort but as a place where it’s good to live and do business – a place where people worked hard and were content with what they had, a place where its private sector vied with government in good governance practices and clean business. Things have changed beyond  recognition. However, it is not too late to take remedial action.

First, the people who are responsible for the mess at the TEC should be taken to task. They do not deserve the nation’s trust and the PM, if he wishes to retain our respect, should set down his foot.

Those, whose duty it was to advise and who have lamentably failed to deliver, should not wait until they are kicked out. There are enough institutions where their incompetence will be welcomed and where they can work havoc to their hearts’ content. Lengthy enquiries will only irritate people further. At the moment, I am writing I can assure our PM that people are saying “enough is enough”. It is time PM, to use your term to “turn around” a number of our ministries and public enterprises.

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