The list of students benefitting from the Additional Scholarship Schemes based on Merit & Social Criteria was revealed recently. However as from this year, the best performing candidates who have opted for the Higher School Certificate Professional (Pro) will have the chance to benefit from a scholarship.
The Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced in the Budget 2019-2020 that two Scholarships will be awarded, under the Laureate Scheme, to the two best performing candidates having opted for the Higher School Certificate Professional. The aim of the scholarships is to encourage the HSC Pro students to enroll in professional streams as from an early stage of education as well as to encourage more students to opt for the HSC Pro. The total number of scholarships offered by the Government will thus be increased from 45 to 47.
The HSC Pro was introduced in the education system in 2015 on a pilot basis and each year, around 80 candidates opt for it instead of sitting for the traditional HSC examinations. What is the HSC Pro? As explained by the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate, which is responsible for organizing academic examinations, in its HSC Professional Qualification Information booklet, the HSC Pro is an alternative qualification.
“It provides a pathway to those students who, after their School Certificate, are looking for a course of study more geared to the world of work, while still keeping open the option of going for tertiary studies. Students choosing this pathway will opt for syllabuses which have an applied learning dimension to them. They will also spend time in the workplace, carrying out supervised work placements.”
What are the reasons a student should think about opting for the HSC Pro? The booklet underlines that the “HSC Pro seeks to provide an alternative pathway to students who do not see in the current HSC a viable pathway to the world of work. It will also suit the needs of students who are seeking a different approach to their learning. The HSC Pro will equip students with the skills they require to enter the world of work or go for higher education.”
It also states that the HSC Pro “will address the mismatch which exists between the skills required by labour market and those with which HSC students leave school. The HSC Pro seeks to close this gap by drawing on industry expertise to finalise course contents while remaining alert to the requirements of the job market.”
Benefits of the HSC Pro
The booklet explains that the main benefits of the HSC Pro to the students are that they will be readily employable while still having the possibility of going for further studies. It also highlights that there are additional benefits, namely “develop students’ interest in furthering their education and, in so doing, encourage a greater number of students to move up to HSC; offer greater chances of success since the programme is more flexible and caters for different learning styles; offer greater educational relevance and motivation; provide the opportunity for students to develop enjoyment for studies and/or culture of learning; provide students with a deeper understanding of work place requirements so that they can relate theory to practice; make students more self-efficient. Learners become aware of the impact they may have in the workplace and/or community at large and ensure the acquisition of problem-solving skills, ability to work in a team and planning abilities.”
Key distinctive features of the HSC Pro
The HSC Professional Qualification Information booklet highlights that there are three major distinctive features of the HSC Pro. The first one is the OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical IT Syllabus. “This forms part of a range of syllabuses developed with a focus on ‘applied learning’. It is equivalent to an A level and is designed to prepare learners for the world of work. The content will be taught and assessed both in the classroom and during the work placements. This syllabus is not assessed through end of year examinations but through the production of an e–portfolio.”
The second feature is the AS Global Perspectives (8030). “At AS level, HSC Pro students will not study the General Paper but the AS Global Perspectives syllabus (8030). This syllabus aims at encouraging young people to think about and explore issues of global significance. It will also provide the opportunity for learners to reflect on their professional experience and develop skills relevant to the workplace. Apart from the important analytical and critical skills which this syllabus seeks to develop in students, it will also serve as proof of students’ English language proficiency,” it indicates.
The third feature is that of the Work Placement Component. “Inbuilt in the HSC Pro curriculum is a structured and supervised work placement component. Students will spend time in industry, with a workplace supervisor monitoring their development at all stages.”
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