UNICITI: a vision for education on the west coast of Mauritius1st Aug 2019
The Medine group, a century-old key player in the local sugar industry with a land bank of over 10,000 hectares, launched its Education Village in 2012 in the region of Pierrefonds as part of its diversification strategy. This campus has been designed to host a selective cast of world-class and internationally recognised institutions across different fields of study.
The rationale behind setting up such a campus in Mauritius was clearly to provide top-notch higher education for Mauritian students as well as students from the African region and beyond, significantly demonstrating that Mauritius has a lot more to offer than its landscapes and white sandy beaches.
The group endeavoured to set education at the heart of Uniciti, its smart city located on the West coast of Mauritius.
Based on the live-work-enjoy-learn philosophy, Uniciti is poised to be an integrated and connected city that will promote sustainable development through a knowledge economy, and whose main drivers would be its office park, but also education, and particularly higher education, through an education hub.
Uniciti Education Hub has hence been created as the embodiment of a distinctive and comprehensive offer, which blends into one entity, the whole educational offer of Uniciti. While l’Île aux Enfants caters for nursery and preprimary education, Westcoast International Primary and Secondary schools (WIPS & WISS), which are very popular among the South African community in Mauritius, are referenced in terms of primary and secondary education.
Higher education, along with executive education, wraps up the offer – accounting for a student population of approximately 2,700 pupils and students. While Uniciti Education Hub encapsulates a wide selection of educational institutions, higher education in particular spearheads the vision towards the setting up of an integrated and international campus, within Uniciti, geared towards Africa.
The higher education offer, which welcomes some 1,900 students, hosts six renowned international institutions, including Middlesex University, a British English-medium comprehensive university; Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas (Law); École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture (ENSA) de Nantes (Architecture); SUPINFO International University (Computer Science Engineering), École Centrale de Nantes (Engineering), and Vatel Mauritius (Hospitality Management).
Although of French origin, these latter partner institutions have been included to serve the needs of both Mauritian and African students, with all classes delivered in English. They embed:
- a high-calibre curriculum providing international exposure through dedicated semesters within the mother institution
- a professional placement within the course of their programme
Uniciti Education Hub is growing exponentially through both of its campuses. While Middlesex University settled in the Uniciti campus in 2017 – over a built area of 8,200 square metres – the institutions of Pierrefonds campus will move to their new quarters in Uniciti by 2021. The whole school and campus hubs, including the student residences, are expected to settle over a land extent of 500,000 square metres in line with the development strategy and vision of the smart city. The group intends to welcome 5,000 students by 2025, with a mix of 75% foreign students and 25% locals. The higher education cluster already hosts students of some 50 different nationalities.
A unique student life experience
Uniciti Education Hub caters for more than academic excellence, offering an integrated lifestyle that takes into account students’ needs and requirements, for instance, a full-fledged 144-bed student accommodation, a student restaurant, a multi-sports centre featuring a 10-lane 50m pool, and very soon a green park. Students enrolling in Uniciti Education Hub’s institutions are presented with the right opportunities to study, live and play.
- personal development pertaining to communication skills and personality
- a programme that tallies with the industrial and economic world.
Since March 2019, MCB Institute of Finance has joined Uniciti Education Hub as part of its executive education arm to provide professional courses, thereby gathering prestigious partners in the field of finance, retail banking, innovation and design thinking. They are, as of today, Retail Banking Academy, Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas and Emeritus.
Born out of a shared vision of the MCB Group and Uniciti Education Hub, MCB Institute of Finance (IF) is an institution dedicated to curating and providing the most relevant courses to develop the financial know-how of professionals and students alike.
MCB IF aspires to becoming the African reference in the development of talents for the financial sector.
UNICITI development overview
Uniciti Mauritius is the perfect gateway for foreigners, businessmen and international companies seeking new havens to develop business opportunities or to settle in a vibrant and dynamic environment which places higher education at its heart.
Tapping into what makes Mauritius itself a great place to invest such as its conducive business environment, fiscal incentives, its air access policy and reliable infrastructure among others, Uniciti ffers an array of investment opportunities including:
- real estate development
- residential properties
- business relocation
- retail space for franchises and stand-alone stores
- higher education partnerships
- public or municipal service.