The Adhaalath Party is working ceaselessly to ensure that music and dance are not taught as compulsory subjects with the introduction of the new education curriculum next year, Sheikh Imran Abdulla has declared.
“Adhaalath will take all necessary measures against this,” the religious conservative party’s president said on his Facebook page on Thursday (October 23).
Music and dance have reportedly been included in the new curriculum as part of a compulsory creative arts subject from pre-school to grade three.
Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed – a senior member of the Adhaalath Party – has also officially requested the education ministry to make the creative arts subject optional.
Asked about the issue at a press conference of the cabinet’s Social Council on Thursday (October 23), Education Minister Dr Aishath Shiham said the whole curriculum was based on Islamic values and codes of behaviour.
“There will not be anything that conflicts or differs with Islam anywhere in the curriculum,” she insisted.
Islamic Minister Dr Shaheem meanwhile criticised the media for reporting the issue in a way that prompts concern from the public.
Shaheem noted that Quran was included as a compulsory subject in the new curriculum and declared his support for efforts to “broaden Islamic education and Arabic language”.
“We value [the education ministry’s] efforts. Along with that, I believe that we can discuss together in a friendly manner to solve the [dispute over compulsory creative arts],” he said.
Shaheem added that he did not wish to comment further on the issue at present.
However, Shaheem told newspaper Haveeru last week that “hundreds of citizens” were concerned about plans to teach music and dance as compulsory subjects.
Shaheem also denied claims by State Minister for Education Adam Shareef’s that the cabinet has approved the new curriculum, which is currently being implemented in a few schools.
While the social council has discussed the curriculum, Shaheem said the issue has not been deliberated by the full cabinet.
He noted that former President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s administration had decided to make music and dance optional subjects.
Several religious NGOs have also objected to the creative arts subject, claiming that music is haram (prohibited) in Islam.
NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf put out a press statement last month describing the decision to make music and dance compulsory as an “insult to Islam”, contending that music is prohibited in Islam.
Shaheem meanwhile warned that forcing children of parents who consider music haram to study the subject could worsen extremism in society.
The education ministry should accept the Islamic ministry’s advice on the issue, he said, expressing confidence that President Abdulla Yameen would amicably resolve the dispute.