The President’s Office has said students will continue to use the Jamaaludheen building until June in order to protect the interests of the students.
In a tweet posted last night, President’s Office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz said that President Abdulla Yameen had decided to extend the deadline given to vacate the building used by the Maldives National University (MNU).
Muaz announcement came just hours after the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure announced that the building was structurally unsafe, explaining the government’s previous request that police vacate the premises.
The decision had prompted concern from the university, the student union, and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), who suggested that the lack of an alternative building would disrupt students’ education.
Muaz told Minivan News today that there are no contradictions in the matter, as the government still believes that the building is unsafe even though the deadline has been extended.
Housing minster Dr Mohamed Muizzu yesterday shared pictures from an assessment of the building done in 2013 with the media, showing severely corroded and damaged columns in the building, which is currently used by over 1,300 university students.
“Cosmetic work has been done in the building to cover up these damages,” he said.
“It is very irresponsible of certain individuals to say that the building is safe when it clearly is not. The building is not structurally stable from an engineering perspective.”
After ministers yesterday said the university had been unresponsive to offers of alternative teaching space, the President’s Office said today that the university would be given no more chances regarding the matter.
“President Abdulla Yameen is concerned for the education of the students,” said Muaz. “This government is not one which would forcefully strip the students from the building.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of MNU and former Permanent Secretary of Housing Ministry Dr Mohamed Shareef had said that the university has been informed of the president’s decision and is looking into alternatives for after the deadline.
Dr Shareef refuted the government’s claims that the university has been provided with alternatives to vacate the premises.
“The government spoke about land in Hulhumalé and Gulhifalhu. However, these plans were very vague and not written down on paper,” he said.
The deputy vice -chancellor also said that the university is trying to get an independent third party to do a risk assessment of the building to determine the safety of the students.
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