The Mauritius perspective with Professor Mari Jansen Van Rensburg

Campus Director, Middlesex University Mauritius

What do you see as the main strengths of the Mauritius campus?

I’d summarise the campus’ strengths in three words: location, value and experience.

Location: Mauritius is a tropical island in the Indian Ocean with proximity to Africa. It benefits from political stability, reliable infrastructure, high connectivity and good air access.  It’s a beautiful and safe country, known for its welcoming culture and friendly people.

Value: Tuition fees are approximately 40% of those at other campuses, but we offer similar services, academic excellence and state of the art infrastructure.

Experience:  As a small campus, students and staff know each other and work closely together to enhance student experience, achievement and performance. We not only pride ourselves on excellent academic quality but also offer opportunities for students to grow soft skills through networking and leadership opportunities, industry engagements, societies, and many more extra-curricular activities.

How do you see the global impact and reputation of Middlesex University?

Our key markets are in West and East Africa, where Middlesex is well known, although we have students from 44 countries. Many of our alumni return to their home countries after completing their studies. These graduates are in high demand as industry appreciates the quality of the UK education system, international exposure and overall achievements of our graduates. I meet alumni who’ve returned home and changed the way in which the industry they work in operates, based on things they’ve learned here. I think that’s where Middlesex really stands out.  In Mauritius, our lecturers are known as thought leaders and often set the tone in national debates or act as key commentators on local news events. The fact that Middlesex University embraces inclusivity and diversity and has opened its doors to international students increases its impact and reputation beyond the UK.

How has the pandemic impacted on the Mauritius campus and its region?

Mauritius is COVID-safe but currently subject to strict controls. Although new student visas are issued, travel and quarantine is expensive, so many new international students choose to study online. Despite these restrictions, the September 2020 intake grew by around 20% compared to the previous academic year. The number of progressing students also increased by 19%. In Mauritius, the economy has suffered, especially the vulnerable sectors including our airline, hospitality and small and medium-sized enterprises. The World Bank predicts GDP will contract around 13%.

How do you think the pandemic impacts on the global market in and internationalisation of higher education?

The pandemic required educators to reconsider three areas. Firstly, the role of technology in education – previous concerns regarding limitations of online learning have been proven wrong or addressed through new digital tools and software. Secondly, traditional assessment – we need to look at replacing this with more appropriate alternatives. Thirdly, geographical location – learning and teaching can take place anywhere, which requires us to rethink attendance and engagement. The pandemic also opens up opportunities to enhance international provision through alternative modes of delivery

How do you see the relationship and collaboration between the University’s Dubai, Mauritius and Hendon campuses now and in the future?

There are many examples of excellent collaboration between the campuses. Masters students studying biodiversity in Hendon do their field research in Mauritius, where we have amazing indigenous forests and a blue ocean economy. Sport management students come here to train coaches and school children. There aren’t many examples of Mauritius students coming to the UK, but we are a small campus and don’t have the same resources to take students overseas. We work closely with the Dubai campus, for example on the Foundation programme.

We have three strong campuses and need to think about creating the sort of ecosystem where students – and staff – speak to and learn from one another more. We need to make it easier for students to travel to different campuses by addressing issues around funding and visas. We could also consider exchange programmes or more digital collaboration to benefit their careers.

How do you see Middlesex’s approach to research and knowledge transfer?

We’re currently focusing on building internal capacity and empowering researchers. We only have a small number of academics who conduct and publish research in academic journals. However, they are engaged in very interesting projects looking at global questions. For example, last year, one of our researchers created a mobile application that measures an individual’s carbon footprint. Academic research is supplemented by applied research which make real differences to Mauritius. For examples, last year students developed systems for the Economic Development Board locally, to automate one of their processes. It may sound small, but the system can improve the way we do business in Mauritius, so this project impacts on the standing of the country as a whole.

How does your campus engage and build relationships with external partners and decision makers?

A key stakeholder is our government. As well as being validated by the UK, we need local accreditation so we work very closely with the Higher Education Commission, as well as related ministries. We also work closely with the British High Commission in Mauritius and the campus is often used as a case study of a successful British organisation in Mauritius.

Local and international industry is also paramount for us and we work together closely. Leaders of industry come and talk to our students regularly and offer internships. Our academics also do research with industry and take part in round table discussions and events.

As a small island, we have very close collaborations with each of these stakeholder groups. To meet the needs of the future, we need to be flexible, innovative and forward thinking. We need to foster stronger relationships across all stakeholder groups and continue to value inclusivity and diversity.

Our process

Four key phases to developing our new strategy:


  1. Ideas generation, visioning and planning for the development of the consultation website and paper
  2. Engagement on the consultation with staff, students and stakeholders to develop ideas and refine our thinking into an enhanced proposal paper (Autumn 2020)
  3. Testing and consultation on the proposal paper to develop final strategy documentation (Winter 2020-21)
  4. Drafting, approval and design of MDX 2031 Strategy (Spring 2021)


Explore our strategy

Our strategic priorities and focus >

Download Strategy summary >

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