Mauritius: A first batch of 18 professionals, having excelled in the MSc Artificial Intelligence (AI) programme, were rewarded for their outstanding performance this morning during a ceremony held at the University of Mauritius (UoM) in Réduit.
The Vice-Prime Minister (VPM), Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; the c and Training; Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection, Soodesh Satkam Callichurn; the Vice Chancellor of the UoM, Professor Sanjeev Kumar Sobhee; the Director of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), Dr Rajcoomar Auckloo; and other personalities were present on this occasion.
In her address, VPM Dookun-Luchoomun extended her congratulations to the 18 professionals for their remarkable academic achievement and urged them to showcase their AI competencies to a wider audience to better serve the community.
She commended the UoM for coming up with the programme and expressed her gratitude to the HRDC for funding the project to respond to the increasing challenges and demands of the job market.
She highlighted that, in Mauritius, AI could act as a catalyst of economic growth and bolster the competitiveness of the country on the global market, as well as drive innovation in many sectors, including ICT, Health, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Tourism. She also dwelt on the challenges associated with Al, such as the invasion of data privacy and abuse of personal information.
Speaking of AI in the education sector, VPM Dookun-Luchoomun remarked that artificial intelligence could serve as an opportunity for academia to reflect on how education can be redefined and refined accordingly. She also pointed out that AI technology has become an essential innovative driving force in the transformation of the economic landscape.
Furthermore, the Vice-Prime Minister outlined that the Government laid the foundation of the emerging AI thriving ecosystem by providing funds for setting up the Mauritius Artificial Intelligence Council. The collaborative effort of the Government and the private sector is primordial to promote AI in the country so as to embrace new opportunities, she added.
For his part, Minister Callichurn said that AI is one of the most revolutionary and fast-growing fields nowadays and stated that its success depends on the quality of human capital. A highly skilled workforce is needed to manage AI and the latest technologies, and it is only through proper training that the same can be achieved, he underlined.
He moreover indicated that Mauritius has rapidly embraced AI to drive innovation, improve efficiency and transform local industries. The government, he underscored, has devised a National AI Strategy to make AI the cornerstone of the country’s development model and is investing in providing the necessary infrastructure and skills to support AI progress.
As for HRDC’s Director, he indicated that technological advancements have led to the development of new industries and job opportunities, which have, in turn, given rise to new skills and capabilities that were not previously necessary. As such, he said, the HRDC and the UoM developed the MSC AI programme to provide graduates with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills needed to design, build, and use AI systems in real-life situations.
For his part, the Vice Chancellor observed that the AI programme will address labour market exigencies and skill mismatch and significantly increase productivity, thereby contributing to the Mauritian economy.
It is recalled that the MSc AI course is a collaboration of the HRDC and the UoM and has been designed for graduates to develop core data analysis skills and explore numerous aspects of AI and machine learning. The two-year programme, from November 2020 to January 2023, was centred on a project-based learning approach where the students had to identify a real problem in their workplace and work on a project to address it.