The Mahatma Gandhi Institute was set up by an Act of Parliament which was passed on 23 December 1970 as a joint initiative of the Government of India and Mauritius. The foundation stone of the Institute was laid on 3rd June 1970 and it was inaugurated on 9 October 1976. The Mahatma Gandhi Institute's main sectors are the tertiary, cultural and secondary sectors. In the tertiary sector, teaching and research are regrouped under 5 schools namely: School of Indian Studies, School of Performing Arts, School of Fine Arts, School of Mauritian and Area Studies and School of Indological Studies.
The Mahatma Gandhi Institute (Amendment) Act 2002 and the Rabindranath Tagore Institute Act 2002 have provided for the Mahatma Gandhi Institute and the Rabindranath Tagore Institute (located in an idyllic setting at Ilot in the northern part of the country) to function under one Council and one Director-General. Various programmes ranging from Diploma courses, Degree and Post Graduates programmes are offered in Indian languages, Indian Philosophy, Indian Performing Arts, Chinese Studies, Mauritian Studies and Fine Arts. Modules in Mauritian Studies cut across programmes to give students a better understanding of their society while currently promoting intercultural values. In collaboration with the University of Mauritius, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute is providing the country with graduates in various oriental languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Urdu. It is also producing graduates in Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Mauritian Studies, Philosophy and Sanskrit. The latest achievement has been the BA in Digital Arts, BA Mauritian Studies, and MA Sitar.These courses are ongoing and students will graduate in the coming years.
The Mahatma Gandhi Institute main campus also consists of the following departments:-
Indian Immigration Archives
The Museum also houses the Indian Immigration Archives. The Mahatma Gandhi Institute Indian Immigration Archives is undoubtedly the largest repository documentation & photographic collection of the 19th Century Indian Indentured Labourers recruited in Mauritius. The Indian Immigration Archives has in its custody 2000 volumes of original documents which are of tremendous historical importance.
The pride of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute is also its auditorium, known for its impressive attributes. With a seating capacity of 650, highly sophisticated light and sound systems as well as its remarkable acoustics, the auditorium plays a prominent role contributing largely to the socio-cultural life of the Mauritian community. It is also used by the Government and other bodies to house major conferences, national and international events.
Printing and Publishing Department
The Mahatma Gandhi Institute Printing and Publishing Department is one of the rare printing houses of its kind in the country. It operates as a University press thereby enabling the institute to bring numerous research works and publications at a subsidized cost. One of its chief characteristics remains its multi-lingual section. The press continues to make significant contributions to various sociocultural organizations in terms of Publications.
Mahatma Gandhi Institute Guest House
The 'Atithian' is the Guest House of the Institute which accommodates academics, scholars, external examiners amongst others who come to visit the Institute. The School of Mauritian, Asian and African building also houses a Language Laboratory and the Subramania Bharati Lecture Theatre with a seating capacity of 100.
Library & Archives
The Library of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute has a comprehensive collection of around 90,000 books in all fields of interest of the Institute. In addition, the Library has under its responsibility the Indian Immigration Archives. These records constitute a unique source of data on the basis of which ancestry search can be carried out.
Language Resource Centre
A language Resource Centre has been set up following the signature of a memorandum of understanding between the MGI and the Central Institute of Indian Languages in August 2006 and is yet to become operational.The idea for the setting up of a Language Resource Centre (LRC) emerged from discussions for the development of a language industry in Mauritius. The Ministry of Education and Scientific Research gave its approval for the Language Resources Centre to be based at Mahatma Gandhi Institute, given the fact that Mahatma Gandhi Institute caters for 9 languages on its campus. The 3 main pillars of Language Resource Centre are language pedagogy, development of new tools for language teaching and learning and research to respond to the needs of policy matters, language planners and language users.
At present, the Language Resource Centre has 18 computers and is operating with a skeleton staff comprising of 1 lecturer and 1 clerical officer and is guided by the Head of Department of Languages. Activities regarding capacity building, development of teaching / learning materials and research have already started. In this regard, three workshops have been organized as per ‘Project Advisory Committee’. Six panels for textbook writing have been set up and activities have already started. A research team is currently working on a research project ‘Patterns of Borrowing in Mauritian Bhojpuri.' The Language Resource Centre is intended to bring added value needed to the various language activities present in Mauritius.