Setting Up an Overseas Campus? Why Not Choose a Tropical Paradise

Times Higher Education, March 27, 2014 | Go to article overview

Setting Up an Overseas Campus? Why Not Choose a Tropical Paradise


Mauritius wants foreign students; Aberystwyth will help to provide them. David Matthews reports

Soon after Aberystwyth University announced it was setting up a campus in Mauritius - the Indian Ocean island known for its pristine beaches and tropical climate - students and staff have been asking whether they can teach or study there when it opens in September this year.

"I don't think I can think of anywhere students would rather go," said Natalie Roberts, the university's assistant registrar and one of the project team setting up the campus.

Cynics may view such a venture as akin to buying a holiday home in the sun, but Aberystwyth will be the third UK university to establish itself on the island, which is attempting to attract universities and students from across the world.

A multilingual, multi-ethnic and relatively wealthy democracy to the east of Madagascar, Mauritius is "stable" and "welcoming", she explained. "The [Mauritian] government is so behind this [campus]," Dr Roberts said, although she added that it is not offering any financial incentives.

Mauritius' current plan, as laid out in the country's Tertiary Education Strategic Plan 2013-2025, is to have 100,000 international students enrolled by 2025, which would make up about one in 14 of the island's population.

The island's ambitions do appear to be slightly scaled back, however. In January 2012, Rajesh Jeetah, the minister of tertiary education, science, research and technology, gave a presentation that said Mauritius would hit the 100,000 target by 2020, not 2025.

In the presentation he revealed that the island had just over 1,000 overseas students (about a third from India, a quarter from Africa and another quarter from Indian Ocean islands), illustrating the scale of the task ahead. …

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