The Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) is an apex institute of learning established by the Government of Mauritius with the support of the Government of India. The MGI owes its inception to a decision taken in December 1969 at a joint meeting between Shrimati Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the then Prime Minister of Mauritius. The site, comprising an area of land of 31A 50 situated in Moka, was generously donated by Mon Desert Alma Limited, the company which owned the Sugar Estate and the lands nearby. On the 3rd of June 1970, the foundation stone was laid by Shrimati Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Subsequently, Parliament approved the MGI Act on the 23rd of December 1970.
The MGI has been functioning for forty-seven years and is today rightly viewed as a meeting point for different cultures, driven by a vision and a mission inspired by Gandhian thought, rich in education and social values.
Over the years, the MGI has evolved into a complex organization, with responsibilities covering Secondary and Tertiary Education, research, preservation of heritage, the arts, and contribution to national policy initiatives spanning both academic and cultural areas.
With the broad objective of promoting Indian Culture and Traditions together with Education and Culture in general, the MGI has a mandate to promote Indian Studies, Performing Arts, Fine Arts, Mauritian and Area Studies, Chinese Studies and Indological Studies. Five Schools operate at tertiary education level:
- School of Indian Studies
- School of Performing Arts
- School of Fine Arts
- School of Mauritian & Area Studies
- School of Indological Studies
These Schools offer diploma, degree and post-graduate programmes of studies in their areas of specialization.
The MGI also runs a network of six secondary schools located in various regions of the country. They are the Mahatma Gandhi Institute Secondary School Moka, Mahatma Gandhi Secondary School (Moka), Mahatma Gandhi Secondary School (Flacq), Mahatma Gandhi Secondary School (Solferino), Mahatma Gandhi Secondary School (Nouvelle France), Rabindranath Tagore Secondary School (Ilot). In addition, the Gandhian Basic School situated at Moka, specializes in pre-vocational education based on Gandhian principles.
The MGI has the responsibility of maintaining the Archives of Indian Labour Immigration. The Archives are an authentic repository of the historical records of Indian indentured labour migration to Mauritius from 1834 to 1922. This information provides the authoritative source for many official documents, including the issuance of Card (now known as the Overseas Citizens of India Card) by the High Commission of India. The Archives represent a priceless source for visiting researchers as well.
Other major components of the MGI include the Specialised Library of Languages and Culture, the Folk Museum of Indian Immigration, the Art Gallery, the Language Resource Centre, the multi-lingual Printing Press, the Auditorium and the Subramania Bharati Lecture Theatre.
The Institute contributes significantly to the artistic and intellectual life of Mauritian society through its calendar of activities which, amongst others, includes Thiruvalluvar Day, National Day, Ganesh Chaturthi, the SSR Memorial Lecture, Gandhi Jayanthi, the Gandhi Memorial Lecture, World Philosophy Day, Perarignar Anna Lecture, End of Year Children`s programme, the Salon de Mai, a major annual art exhibition, the Annual Show of the School of Performing Arts, the Divali programme, as well as a broad range of talks, lectures, seminars and conferences, in its areas of responsibility.
Objects of the MGI
In accordance with the Mahatma Gandhi Institute Act No. 1970, which was repealed and replaced by the MGI Act No.11 of 1982 and MGI Amended Act No. 47 of 2002, the objects of the Institute are:
- To establish, as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, a centre of studies of Indian culture and traditions;
- To promote education and culture generally.
- Goal 1: To achieve excellence in Teaching and Learning through innovation.
- Goal 2: To broaden access and to enhance student experience and employability.
- Goal 3: To become a Centre of Excellence for research and creativity.
- Goal 4: To continue to play a lead role in the promotion of culture and further strengthen community outreach.
- Goal 5: Enabling environment.
To become an internationally recognized degree-awarding institution, excelling in education, research, arts and culture.
- To provide quality education by modernizing teaching and learning in Indian Studies, Performing Arts, Fine Arts, Indological Studies, Chinese Studies and Mauritian and Area Studies.
- To produce high quality research, cultural performances and artistic works.
- To continue to preserve, promote and disseminate cultural traditions and heritage.
- To continue to promote responsible citizenship inspired by Gandhian principles and values.