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[Blog] Memoir of Amritlall Prem Burton

Prem Burton was born on 20th November 1938 in Curepipe-Road. For his primary education, he attended the Bécherel School and subsequently the Saint-Joseph College where he was awarded a scholarship for secondary school studies at the Royal College, Curepipe. He fared well in his academic studies and was highly active in extra-curricular activities.

Prem started his long teaching career as an Extra-Teaching Assistant at the Queen Elizabeth College before he was awarded a scholarship by the government of India to study English at the Wilson College, Bombay. He fully participated in social life there and became an active member of the Overseas Students Association.

After his graduation, Prem joined the Royal College, Curepipe, where he taught English, French, and Latin for six years, edited several school magazines, conducted outings and school camps. 

He was subsequently transferred to the John Kennedy College and was later awarded a scholarship by the British Council to study for a Diploma in Teaching of English as a Second Language at the University of Leeds, U.K. Back home, he continued teaching English in the Teacher’s Training College until April 1972, when he was seconded for duty to the Ministry of Education Headquarters for administrative work.

His employment at the Ministry of Education lasted up to September 1976, after he had been promoted to the rank of Principal Education officer in 1973. During his spell at Headquarters, he was closely associated with the setting up of two State Secondary Schools. He was also appointed Secretary to a Commission of Enquiry on Private Secondary Education in Mauritius and subsequently Secretary to a Ministerial Committee to study its report to government. His close involvement with this activity led to him being appointed, in September 1976, Director of the newly set up Private Secondary Schools Authority.

Prem spent 22 years with the Authority until he retired in 1998. One of the highlights of his career was to implement Government decision of free Secondary Education. He had been equipped for these duties by being offered scholarships by the British Council for courses in Management of Education again at the University of Leeds and the University of Birmingham. In recognition for his services to the field of education, he was presented with a medal by the government in 2011 and became a Commander of the order of the Star and key of the Indian Ocean (CSK). He also received a medal as Honorary Citizen of Curepipe, the town where he has always lived.

He has over the years been involved in several social and cultural activities. He was a member of an Association of teachers of English in Mauritius and of the English-Speaking Union (ESU) which he joined in 1996. He subsequently became the President of the ESU, which presented him with a lifetime achievement award for Leadership and Outstanding Service to the promotion of the English Language. 

Prem leaves behind his wife Ambaleka Gobin (aka Madhur), their two married sons, Vinay and Rajnish, a grand-daughter and a grand-son.

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