Primary and secondary education is free for all young people. Children start school at the age of five. Primary school lasts for six years. Classes are conducted in English, although teachers may use Bhojpuri or Creole to explain English words to students who do not speak English fluently. At the end of primary school, all students write a standard examination to earn the Certificate of Primary Education. Their results determine which secondary school they will attend.

Secondary schools are called colleges in Mauritius. The secondary school system is based on the British model. At the end of five years, students write a set of examinations that lead to the School Certificate. After completing these examinations, they may start work, go to vocational school or stay in high school for another two years. If they choose to continue their education, they write another set of examinations to earn the Higher School Certificate at the end of the two years.

Most private schools are run by religious groups, particularly the Roman Catholic church. There are also two French lycées in Mauritius that prepare students for the French baccalauréat and an English high school that prepares students for the International baccalauréat.

After high school, students may go on to postsecondary education. The nation has only one university, the University of Mauritius, established in 1972. It offers degrees in agriculture, engineering, science, law, management, social sciences and the humanities. Some families send their children to universities overseas. The French government offers scholarships to students from Mauritius who want to attend a French university. Some students also go to the University of Réunion.

   Did you know?
French language and culture are promoted through the Centre Culturel Charles Baudelaire in Rose Hill. Baudelaire, one of France's best-known poets, was on his way to India in 1841, but decided to get off the boat in Mauritius. He stayed on the island for a brief period before returning to France.
Other postsecondary institutions are the Mauritius Institute of Education, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, which offers programs in Asian and African culture, and the Mauritius College of the Air, which broadcasts its courses. Several vocational training centres offer courses in electronics, textiles, construction, electrical and mechanical engineering, business and management.