Dr Ramgoolam said that the NICE pilot project which is a much broader project is all about nation building, adding that it will now become part of the national landscape in view of the huge success it has garnered. He emphasized that the project is very dear to him and it aims to lay the foundation for a better Mauritius and to transform the society.
Speaking about discipline, he said that there is too much indiscipline around and that the careless attitude of the population must change. The Prime Minister said that the mindset needs to be changed at a very young age, while highlighting that there is a need to educate and instill a sense of responsibility and discipline in people. To that effect, he listed some measures put in place to encourage people to change their attitude and mindset. They are: the construction of a new driving and testing centre to sensitise people how to behave safely on the streets; the introduction of penalty points legislation; and the ban of fizzy drinks in schools, amongst others.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister appealed to the younger generation to embrace modernization while cultivating an open and liberal mind. He recalled that the NICE pilot project strives to achieve these attributes among the youngsters by instilling character and nurturing good citizens through a sense of shared human spirit, partnership for a common sense of purpose, and enterprise for the advancement of the nation.
NICE Pilot Project
Around 200 Form IV students of both gender aged 15 to 16 years in state and private secondary schools in Mauritius and Rodrigues participated in the programme. The pilot project was held from 11 to 20 December 2012.
From 11 to 15 December 2012, the activity-based programme was held at Sir Abdool Raman Osman State College and the gymnasium of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Phoenix. The participants were then placed on 17 and 18 December in an organisation to enable them familiarise themselves in a core sector. The programme ended its activities with a two-day residential seminar at the Pointe Jérôme Youth Training Centre on 19 and 20 December.
The programme revolved around four themes: individual, community, society and country. The component ‘individual’ comprised leadership, creativity, healthy lifestyle and entrepreneurship skills. The theme ‘community’ included unity in diversity and promotion of harmonious living. Another component ‘society’ related to discipline, societal norms and responsibility whereas the theme ‘country’ focused on history, democracy and nation building.
A Tracks Programme was also organised in the second week of the pilot phase during which students were sent for placement in several organisations/companies in different fields such as hospitality, environment, technical/vocational training, IT/Media, agriculture, SMEs, public service, uniformed services and social services.