The minority opposition party People’s Alliance (PA), led by the former president’s brother, MP Abdulla Yameen, has strongly condemned the idea of introducing co-education.
A statement issued by the PA claimed that the government was attempting to “douse the light of Islam” in the country, and called on the government to “immediately terminate this action.”
“Majeediyya was a male school and Ameeniyya was a female school since the beginning, it is a big trait to the proud history of the two schools to introduce co-education,” the statement said.
PA said that co-education was implemented for island schools because there was no other way due to a lack of facilities, and that females and males were not mixed because people decided that way.
“in Arabiyya school two genders are mixed only when it becomes a basic need, however, we note that although students were mixed, girls and boys sit in different halves [of the classroom],” PA said.
PA referred to research conducted at Cambridge University claiming that single-sex education had better educational outcomes.
“The current government, as soon as they came in to administration, have cunningly attempted to douse the light of Dhivehi and Islam,” PA alleged. “It has given a deaf ear to the petition presented to the government with the signature of hundreds of concerned authorities.”
Minister of Education Dr Musthafa Luthfy yesterday told Minivan News that co-education has been a part of the Maldivian education system for a long time.
“When we studied at ‘Edhuruge’ [traditional places of learning, where classes were held at a teacher’s house] there were girls and boys mixed,” said Dr Musthafa. “There are currently only four schools in the Maldives that are not co-educational.”
Dr Musthafa said his idea was to develop an integrated educational system that comprised of science, commerce, arts and aesthetics.
“If anyone is in doubt, they can ask parents and school managements whether students have moved further away from religion or closer to it after I assumed office,” he said.