Medine Education Village takes shape across island
The vision for the project, which supports the government's aim to attract 100,000 foreign students to Mauritius over the next decade, is to eventually encompass 750 hectares with shopping, office, sports, educational and healthcare facilities in the north, a large new campus in the west, a golf course to the south and a nature and leisure park in the east.
Medine is a major company in Mauritius, founded in 1911 as an agricultural business in sugar cane, fruit and vegetables and deer meat. Over the decades it has expanded to include hotels, leisure parks and nature reserves, golf courses, and residential, shopping and business developments.
Mauritian architect Maurice Giraud drew up the master plan in 2005, with a zoning master plan provided by South Africans in 2008 and a detailed master plan by Surbana of Singapore in 2011.
The business model is for Medine to provide educational infrastructure that will be leased to university operators. The company has set up the Medine Education Cluster, which acts as a facilitator for tertiary education providers interested in targeting the African, Asian and European student markets. It also provides marketing and student recruitment services.
Plan takes shape
The Medine Education Village concept is to integrate education, research and innovation in a development encompassing a large area, comprising colleges in a range of disciplines and designed to encourage learning as well as outdoor activities in tropical island surroundings and to attract high-value research and professional service firms.
It is aiming for 5,000 tertiary students by 2025, 4,000 international and 1,000 local, within walking distance of student housing, sports and medical facilities that will be shared with the local population, and recreational areas including restaurants, cinemas, libraries and parks.
The current plan is for 12% of total places each in: hospitality; languages and translation; engineering; information and numeric technologies; pharmaceutical studies; business; and law. The remaining places will be in architecture, and cuisine, with 8% each.
The campuses have been designed by international architects, with 30,000 square metres of buildings and the stress on green and open spaces and learning areas. Medine says it is building individual premises according to the operators' requirements.
There are two campuses being developed in close proximity to each other. They are also close to the sea, the airport and Mauritius's main cities.
The smaller Pierrefonds campus is already in operation, devoted to executive education and currently with around 400 students, nearly a third of them international. It has a nine-hectare location on the west coast, and in its current initial phase has capacity for 500 students.
The TALENTS training centre opened in 2011 and can cater for 140 students. It has already trained more than 4,000 students.
Executive education courses are also being delivered there by Hemsley Fraser, INSEAD, ESSEC and ESCP Europe business schools, and SUPINFO International University will start offering bachelor and masters degrees this year.
The biggest investor in Pierrefonds is VATEL, a leading French international business school specialising in hotel and tourism management. It has a building for 250 students and started operating in 2013, offering bachelor and masters degree courses.
Flic en Flac campus
A larger Flic en Flac campus is also being developed, four kilometres from Pierrefonds. The campus itself is spread over 34 hectares and will have initial capacity for 5,000 students in university buildings as well as housing for 2,200 students.
The aim is to eventually cater for 11,700 students, and work began last month on a 150-bed student housing project.
The whole development is planned to eventually spread over 135 hectares in phase one, and over 320 hectares in phase two including the Medine Village for Sustainable Innovation and all leisure, accommodation and park facilities.
There will also be services in the areas of student recruitment and graduate placement, student social immersion, research contracts and conferences as well as a company incubator and business park.
Medine announced in February that it had recently signed a number of memoranda with foreign higher education institutions that would convert into provision on its campuses.