Students Alicia and Laura are doing a field study in Mauritius with a scholarship
As part of their degree project in Economics, Alicia Rydhem and Laura Olsson Radda are conducting a field study within the framework of Sida’s Minor Field Studies scholarship programme.
What is a Minor Field Studies Scholarship?
Minor Field Studies (MFS) is a Sida-funded scholarship programme where you as a student can travel to a low- or middle-income country to collect data material for your degree project. It is a travel scholarship, amounting to SEK 27,000 per student that is to be used for a field study for at least eight weeks on-site in the country. The purpose of the MFS scholarship is to provide knowledge to Swedish students about development issues in Sida’s partner countries. You can apply for the scholarship for your work with the Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis.
What do you investigate in your degree project?
We are looking into the labour market and the skills gap in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in Mauritius. There is currently an extensive expansion of the ICT sector, which contributes to Mauritius moving towards a more knowledge-based economy. The Mauritian economy has gone from consisting of largely low-skilled sectors to now moving towards a higher demand for highly skilled labour. We examine the current skills gap in the ICT sector and the link between the sector and Mauritius' higher education system. We, therefore, conduct interviews with universities, organisations, and companies here, in order to collect material for the thesis.
What are the benefits of doing an MFS study?
There are many benefits both on a personal level and for our future careers. It is incredibly rewarding and educational to live in a developing country for two months. You learn a lot about taking responsibility and getting into a whole new cultural context. We thrive very well here in Mauritius and think it is a fantastic country to live in. It is a very multicultural country that is characterized by many different cultures, religions and languages and we feel that the people here are incredibly helpful and kind. In addition to the fact that it is a fun experience to do an MFS study, it is also rewarding to be able to delve deeper into development issues, which we believe can be very useful for us in the future.
Have you found any exciting results yet?
We are still conducting interviews, but the topic of our degree project feels extremely relevant to the country. One thing that has emerged in many of the interviews is that the competence gap exists in both quantitative and qualitative terms. The Mauritian workforce is naturally limited in size as it is a small island nation with just under 1.3 million inhabitants. At the same time, the existing workforce largely lacks the skills required by the ICT sector.
What has been most interesting so far?
The most fun has been getting to know the locals and making new contacts through our interviews. Everyone has been very open and received us well. A highlight was that we were invited to a Hindu wedding by one of our interviewees who has now become a close friend. It was incredibly fun and interesting to see how a Hindu wedding goes here in Mauritius.
Do you have any tips for those who are considering applying for an MFS scholarship?
Our biggest tip is to start with the application in time. We worked successively with the application for several months before the application period in January. It was also very rewarding to get help from our supervisor at the School of Business, Economics and Law during the application process so that we could continuously improve the project description. Also, check out practical things like necessary vaccines well in advance of departure!
Do you have any plans after you are done with your MFS?
One of the reasons why we chose to go to Mauritius is that French is the most spoken language on the island, which helps us develop our French skills. Alicia will study French during the next semester and Laura will study for one semester in Paris. Before we start any Master's Programmes, we both hope to be able to complete some fun and interesting internships.