Revision of schoolbooks is politicising children: former Education Minister

Former Education Minister and former Chancellor of the Maldives National University, Dr Musthafa Luthfy, has condemned the Ministry of Education’s decision to revise the Social Studies textbook for grade 7 students.

The Education Development Center (EDC), which is run under the Education ministry, last week issued a circular ordering primary schools to amend the unit on the government and include the information regarding the recent power transfer that took place in the country.

The statement that the EDC has asked to include reads: “President Nasheed resigned on 7 February 2012 after three years and two months in office. Hence, according to the constitution, Vice-president Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik was sworn in as president.”

Speaking to Minivan News, Dr Luthfy alleged that the government is allowing young school children to become involved in the intense political debate over the legitimacy of Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s government. He also raised suspicions that the decision may be due to some ‘political essence’ in the matter.

Dr Luthfy instead insisted the government be patient on the issue as it was highly sensitive and subject to controversy.

Dr Luthfy was previously a member of Dr Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihaad (GI) party, and is currently the Chair of the Maldivian Democractic Party (MDP)’s Select Committee on Education.

“We are asking the government to be patient as this a very controversial issue. This decision shows their impatience. What they are really doing is allowing young children to get involved in the ongoing political debate. That is not good. The book [after inclusion of the revised statement] reads as if nothing serious has happened and that the president just resigned, and the vice president succeeded in assuming presidency. But what is really happening is a bigger issue than that,” he said.

Dr Luthfy said that children would obviously be aware of the political crisis and that what they would read in the books was far too simplified and contradictory.

“A large proportion of people are questioning the legitimacy of the government. The parents of these children are already involved in the debate. It is being talked about on almost every corner, in shops, restaurants and everywhere. What the children read in the books is written down too simply. It is very contradicting for them,” Dr Luthfy said.

“I believe the state has an obligation to provide true and relevant information. Why can’t we have a little patience before writing down such a controversial issue? Aren’t we letting the children into this debate?” he questioned. “Our concern is not about changing what is already written in the books, but the involvement of children in the debates.”

“[The education ministry] could have written this at a later stage after a proper investigation of the power transfer.  They can’t change history, history will continue. What has happened cannot be concealed.”

The MDP had earlier released a statement condemning the Education Ministry’s decision. The statement said that that it was irresponsible of the education ministry to change the text books especially following a coup d’état, and without proper investigation it was misleading to include such a statement.

Speaking to Minivan News, Head of the Curriculum Division of the EDC, Dr Naashia Mohamed, said the EDC had a panel for each of the subjects taught in school and similarly, the panel responsible for the Social Studies subject had drafted the phrase to be included in the text book.

Asked about the comments made by Dr Musthafa Luthfy, she refused to comment.

State Minister of Education Imad Solih said he did not believe that all the details of what happened on February 7 had to be included in the textbook.

“I personally don’t believe that everything that happened has to be included in the book. The Social Studies textbook speaks about the President, so it is obvious that Dr Waheed is the president. It is the reality,” Solih said.

He also said that it was clear that President Nasheed had resigned, but the question being debated was whether it was forced or voluntary.

“Until a decision is made, Dr Waheed is still the president, and if anything changes that fact, they would bring the necessary changes,” he said.

Responding to Musthafa Luthfy’s comments on bringing school children into the debate, Solih acknowledged that there may be children at that age group who would discuss the issue, but he said that he saw it as a “secondary issue”.

Solih also said that the teachers were not investigators and were instead mandated to teach in line with a specific curriculum and guidelines, so they would teach from the curriculum.


16 thoughts on “Revision of schoolbooks is politicising children: former Education Minister”

  1. Another self conceited and arrogant nut who has kept on condescending all along is now peeping through the crowd to tell the Maldivians what is fair and good. This Dr and Dhiyana are the same type of egotists and opportunists. Woo to them!

  2. I read many text books that have been written more than two years back. And these texts are used to treat patients. The authors don't issue circulars to revise the text everytime a new drug or a new dosing comes into place. Those changes would come in the subsequent additions. And the current information comes on journals. What is the hurry to revise a questionable presidents information in a grade 7 textbook. Very dictatorial!

  3. Changing the textbooks means actually depoliticizing our children. Its a good thing. Its MDP who even use children in their yellow political campaigns thus going against the international guidelines of Child Protections and their rights. Its a shame your own daughter and son was taught by governance and money of the very same people whom you brand as coup leaders now. You are nothing but an ungrateful twat.

  4. oh grow up you idiot, it not the schools its the community that drives children into politics and parents that are involved in this programs, first learn to correct the manners of the people.

    I studied the same type of lesson they are teaching why am i not a activist can you answer Mr. Musthaaf?

  5. Luthfy is a miserable git. An opportunist. Before you speak, question yourself and ask yourself who in the Maldives is politicising children. It is MDP.. Full stop. MDP use young children in their violent demonstrations in the Islands. MDP denies the right of children to study in a peaceful environment by conducting noisy and often violent demonstrations near schools shouting abuse. MDP also denies youing chidren a good night sleep by invading a beautiful part of Male’ and carrying out illegal activities well into late night. So it will be nice to make yourself accountable before criticising others.

  6. This government has so much to do: prove its legitimacy for starters, and instead it rushes to amend school text books.

    This is poor prioritising at a time of crisis, to say the least. This smacks of Mr "behind the scenes" Gayoom, who rushed to change the medium of learning from English to divehi when he first came to power,with all the textbook changes that involved and the disasters that ensued. It also smacks of the typical brainwashing of dictatorships.

    Welcome to Gayoom's World (cloud cuckoo land)where one does as Gayoom pleases. IA we will survive this madness (the dictator's disease of imagined omnipotence and eternity).. no need to look at Mugabe even, when we have our own example . How about this for our textbooks: the dregs of dictatorship?

  7. mohamed! being an activist and being conscious of politics are two different things. you are not an activist because you chose not to be an activist... your ignorance on politics and social issues and its interconnectedness to our entire livelihood, well thats you just being stupid and uneducated.

  8. Its important to know the who?why?when?where?what?..... Kids of today are keen and intelligent...They will ask the teacher immediately about how Dr.Waheed became president and why President Nasheed resigned.... I wonder how the teachers could respond to the questions which was raised by the students..

    If all the teachers in Maldives are from Maumoon's regime they could get away from it by simply answering "President Nasheed resigned because he wanted to go pee"

    its worth remembering that all teachers are not from the so called 'national unity government'

  9. Dear Mr M. Lutfy
    There was a time I thought u were of better substance. of late you are proving you are no better than the rest. You are a lost hope for our country. It is people like you who have destroyed this country. I thought you would serve our nation after ur PHD, instead u became one of those PHD holders who felt the need to be in politics. Shame on u. Serving the country does not mean u have to be in a political position.

  10. Adding a simple statement of truth to a textbook is politicising an issue? Mustafa Lutfi as Education Minister was the one who wanted children to be fully involved in public debates and political activity. Now he has changed his tune. But then this is Lutfi we are talking about. The man everyone knows is bonkers and changes sides like other people change their underwear.

    Get a life Mustafa!

  11. Waheed wants all and sundry to at least proclaim his legitimacy even if they don't really believe it. So textbooks proclaiming the same gives him that sense of false legitimacy. Next up will be portraits of his benign self adorning office walls.

  12. Behind this revision is a corrupt deal with the printer! it is blindly obvious. from what i hear, the minister is also taking the cut!

  13. May be this is what Baaghee Waheed and Education Minister Asim learnt while they worked in UNICEF for the rights of children. Ofcourse these people would know how to influence public thinking using children.

  14. This is what they nazis did. waheed and maumoon have fallen to exactly the same cheap levels. rewriting history...

  15. a few good brave men like Dr Musthafa. We need them now more than ever. Dear Musthafa, never be afraid to speak the truth. You have always done so. You will continue to tell the truth.

  16. Dhonkamanaaaaaaaaaaaaaa........
    The sentence seems simple for us..... Its the students who refer the text book who will make it complex for everyone living or dead!


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