Absolute poverty in Mauritius can be eradicated in one generation. The problem is that families are locked in a poverty trap: disadvantaged children are poorly educated, their parents fail to encourage them and are inadequate role models, consequently the children grow up to be socially dysfunctional adults. In the past, interventions have concentrated on trying to make parents more responsible and placing their children in special schools such as Zone Education Prioritaire (ZEP). Re-educating parents is extremely difficult and any progress made with the children is undermined by their home environments.
We propose special schools for children from disadvantaged backgrounds where they will stay during the week as boarders. By ensuring that they remain within the school premises for at least five days per week, the cycle of parents passing on socially dysfunctional attitudes and behaviours will be interrupted, without breaking family bonds.