In December 1971, when the Parliament established the Mauritius College of the Air (MCA) in order to support students at primary and secondary levels. MCA used a combination of correspondence courses as well as broadcasting of educational video and audio programmes on the national radio and television when the Government of Mauritius decided to review the objectives of the MCA, this resulted in the approval of the new MCA Act in 1985. As per this new Act, MCA was set up to promote education, arts, science and culture generally through mass media and distance education methods. In 1994, the Division of Distance Education was set up to develop the institutional capacity of MCA to deliver distance education programmes; offer adult and continuing education using distance education methodology; and cater for the needs of those willing to gain access to education after having left the conventional system. MCA had several partners including Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) India; University of Mauritius; and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK). In 2010, the Open University of Mauritius Bill was voted by the Parliament, subsequently, the Open University of Mauritius Act 2010 was finally proclaimed on 12 July 2012.
The following extract from the report of the Tertiary Education Commission entitled “Participation in Tertiary Education 2016” that was published in October 2017 confirms that OU has secured the second position among the local public universities.
“Figure 4 below depicts the enrolment trend in the 4 public universities for the period 2010-2017. Enrolment in the PFIs constituted 43.6 % of total enrolment in 2016 compared with 44.1% in 2015. Of the four public universities, only OU registered positive growth in enrolment (+5.1%), whereas enrolment contracted in the other universities were as follows: UOM (-5.2%), the UdM (-8.5%) and UTM (-10.3%).
It can be noted from Figure 4 below that OU, for the first time in 2016, surpassed the UTM in terms of enrolment. The sustained growth of enrolment at OU can be attributed to the relative attractiveness of Distance Education and E-learning programmes in terms of their inherent flexibility for non-traditional learners/mature students/working adults.”
The headquarters of OU is located at Réduit. OU has its main study centre in Forest-Side, Curepipe. It also hires other buildings as study centres in Curepipe. The first study centre in Rodrigues has been operational since 2019. Other study centres are planned in Africa.
Fastest Growing University: Accessibility-Quality-Affordability-Flexibility
After being the only local public university that registered a very high positive growth (88%) in 2014, OU is progressing with renewed energy. Its focus has been to enhance access to quality higher education at an affordable cost with great flexibility through open and distance learning (ODL). Indeed, ODL is the only way of combining work and family responsibilities with educational opportunities as it frees learners from constraints of time and place. As at 31 December 2017, OU had a total enrolment of 5,741.
First ISO-Certified Public University – Mauritius
In line with its endeavour to provide the best learning experience to all its learners, OU became the first ISO-Certified tertiary education institution in Mauritius on 3 July 2015.
The University has been re-certified from ISO 9001 :2008 to ISO 9001 :2015. The award of this certification is the result of the sustained effort of all staff of the institution to establish and maintain quality measures to meet the changing requirements of the public. ISO 9001 :2015 certification aligns with standards provided by international quality institutions and the Mauritius Standard Bureau, which is the local certification body.
First Graduation Ceremony
OU organised its first graduation ceremony for 498 graduates from 8 to 10 July 2015. The Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature (2008) Dr Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio graced this historic moment with his presence. During the first graduation ceremony, the Director-General, in the presence of the Hon Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, awarded the first certificate of OU, namely Doctor Honoris Causa, to Dr Le Clézio.