The same NGO coalition that once worked against the banning of alcohol in inhabited islands has now launched a campaign against the education sector of the Maldives, today setting up a table in front of Arabiyya school to collect complaints from parents.
‘’We have received several complaints from parents from different eight schools in Male,’’ said Ibrahim Mohamed, an official of the coalition’s analysing committee. “Parents are co-operating with us and raising their voices, many of them have concerning issues.’’
Ibrahim said the parents were demanding the education sector uphold the religion and article number 36[c] of the constitution.
Article 36 [c] reads ‘’Education shall strive to inculcate obedience to Islam, instil love for Islam, foster respect for human rights, and promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all people.’’
“The education sector of the Maldives is now operated not only against the constitution of the Maldives also against the manifesto of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP),’’ Ibrahim claimed.
“The fact that President is not taking any action against this proves that he also has an agenda in this.’’
Ibrahim referred to article 67[g] of the constitution and said that making Dhivehi and Islam optional [at A-level] violated the article.
Article 67 (g) demands the preservation and protection of the state religion of Islam, culture, language and heritage of the country.
“It is against democracy to dismiss the voice of the citizens,’’ he said. “We regret that our president is dismissing our voice and refusing to meet us.’’
Yesterday the NGO coalition and some parents gathered near the President’s official residence and demanded to meet the president, before a riot police squad arrived and dispersed the crowd.
The series of gatherings triggered when the education ministry expressed an idea of making all government schools co-educational. Currently all but four are co-educational.
The NGO coalition, religious NGO Salaf, Adhaalath Party and the minority opposition People’s Alliance (PA) strongly condemned the idea.
Deputy Minister of Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer recently told Minivan News the ministry had not decided to mix female and male students in the secondary grades.
“But we have decided to establish primary grades in all the schools,’’ Nazeer said. ‘’So Majeediyya School, Dharumavantha, Ameeniyya and Hiriya will no longer be solely for secondary education.’’
Secondary education will be provided in all the primary schools as well, he added.
The Education Minister Mustafa Luthfy has come under pressure from religious NGOs and other concerned people, following the ministry steering committee’s proposal to make Dhivehi and Islam as optional subjects for A level students.