“Country’s education system has failed”: State Education Minister

State Minister of Education Imad Solih has said that the Maldives’ education system “has failed”, and that this failure had led to a majority of the country’s current social issues.

In an interview with local newspaper Haveeru, Solih reiterated the growing need to overhaul the education system to build a better society “where young people should have better things to do than being ‘addled on the streets’”.

Solih said that everyone would accept the fact that the young people “addled on the streets” were once school students, and that the reason they had fallen into such a state was because of lapses in the education system.

“They are a part of the population which we failed to attend to. But those that we currently attend to should be provided with proper education and training. I believe the failure of the education system has to take the blame for the current depletion of ethics and moral values within our society,” Solih said.

He further stated that compared to the government’s annual investment of MVR 2.4 billion (US$ 156 million) on education, the outcome was poor and unacceptable.

The report released by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on last December ranked the Maldives as number one in the Asia Pacific region on education spending as a percentage of GDP.

According to the report, Maldives spends the highest proportion of GDP on public education (8.1 percent) across the Asia/Pacific region, which is four times higher than countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar.

The Ministry of Education’s expenditure in 2011 amounted to Rf1.7 billion (US$110 million).

Despite the expenditure, Solih argued that the countrywide results of O’level and A’level examinations did not reflect the financial input to the education system, and that therefore changes had to be brought to the system, including new plans and targets.

Solih also stated that the failure of the education system should not only remain a concern of the education sector alone, but political leaders, parliamentarians and the general public should also share the concerns.

“I urge everyone to set aside our political differences and to take a minute to think about the current education system,” he called.

“You simply can’t blame the system” – former Education Minister

Former Education Minister and former Chancellor of the Maldives National University, Dr Musthafa Luthfee had a dissenting view of the remarks made by Solih. He stated that it was very difficult for him to agree to Solih’s remark that the system had failed.

“We built the [education] system over a very long time and it is exactly the same model that is being employed in other countries as well. But I can say that the results we ought to have achieved from this system have not yet been achieved,” he said.

He stated that it was not just the education system that was at fault for the current social issues, and the responsibility of building a better society falls on the shoulders of everyone, including politicians, the government, parents and teachers.

Luthfee stated that before declaring that the system had failed, it was important to understand the challenges it faced.

“For example, our teachers are not as experienced or competent as they should be. In other countries, you can only become a full time teacher with at least a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree and a certain amount of experience,” he said.

Luthfee also highlighted that most of the teachers currently working in the Maldives were foreigners instead of locals, and they keep constantly changing which has an impact on the student’s academic performance.

Referring to Solih’s remark on the large investment in education, Luthfee said that in reality the amount spent on “real education” was relatively low.

“It is easy for one to claim that the country invests a lot of money in the education system. But a large number of teachers in the country are from abroad. A hefty amount of money is spent on their salaries, accommodation and transportation. What we really get to spend on ‘real education’ is therefore relatively low,” he explained.

Luthfee was hopeful on the future of the education sector stating that more local trained teachers are replacing foreign teachers and that the local teaching force was gradually on the rise.

“It is a good sign that almost all the primary schools have local teachers now. A lot of local teachers are coming to teach in secondary schools as well. So the number of local teachers is gradually increasing. But there are still local teachers who need to improve their qualifications as well and they are working very hard on it too,” said the former minister.

Luthfee stated that he sees “progress” within the education system expressing confidence in the system, and through hard work, he said, better results could be achieved.

He also highlighted the success of the government of former President Nasheed.

“When we came to the government, the pass rate of O’ level five subjects was 27 percent. Within three years time we made it 37 percent, which is a 10 percent increase,” he said.

He further added that if the trend could be maintained, the figure would further increase. The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) during the 2008 elections pledged to put the figure at 60 percent by the end of its first presidential term.

When Minivan News contacted State Minister Imad Solih he stated that he would get back after a meeting. Minivan News was still expecting his call at time of press.

Correction. An earlier version of this article incorrectly titled Solih as Deputy Minister of Education. This has been corrected to State Minister.


21 thoughts on ““Country’s education system has failed”: State Education Minister”

  1. We need to spend invest even more money in teachig our kids rote memorization techniques. Islamic and Dhivehi studies should also be emphasized as this will build charachter and restore a sense of patriotism to our emasculated, drug addled men.

    None of this Western critical thinking nonesense for us, eugh, how revolting.

  2. Dear Naahil, As much as I dont like the guy Imad Solih is a State Minister of Education, not a Deputy Minister as you have stated. Please get your facts right before publishing. And these kind of mistakes are repeatedly making Minivan look amateur and not worthy of a credible news source.

    Thank you for pointing out this error. It has been corrected. -Minivan News team

  3. When all those trained to be teachers turned to politicians,

    When the entire Civil Service Commission is headed by headmasters,

    When teachers become ministers (4 or 5) of them,

    When Junior School Certificate of 1980 is eliminated in the name of access to education,

    and when such short sighted as pires to be president,

    and when teachers without any experience in business or management becomes the leaders of the country purely based on a PhD, you know the education system and youth are screwed.

    Its called greed, my friend.

  4. The lack of discipline in the schools, is the reason for the orderlessness in the society and eveywhere. Nobody is ready to listen to others or obey. This is reflected in all spheares of life. No one gives respect and consequently does not get respect.

  5. Oops, the youth hanging around on streets ...
    a) there is too less perspective after school in Maldives for jobs according to say 12std
    b) perspectives for bachelor and more in and for Maldivians are limited, most of time not existing.
    c) general education is fine till certain age ...15, 16. Then the studs should be thought not subjects but directions, framewrrk.
    d) not only general education is needed but technical, and vocational, too
    e) labour market Maldives not good in perspectives, even after studies. Limited labour market.
    f) so many immigrants to do jobs ... because low expenses, lesser than Maldivians.
    g) responsibility of parents towards youth : they maintain the situation of being unemployed by providing them all the want
    h) most intriguing for me : is it really necessary that you WORK throughout your life ? IS it really necessary for people to work their life, while basically their lives not improve - the rich only though, and they dont even pay income taxes to contribute in the society.

  6. Paste news headline on your forehead Imad Solih, then you will make a better headline.
    Gloomy, scary, violence, corruption, no money, nothing seems to work. Sobs, sobs,
    You thought running the Govt was easy, MDP made the government work with class and charm, yet they didn’t have any money, ever heard of cash flow management.

  7. Minimum wage????????
    Ring the bell, Resort owner parliamentarians don’t want to bass that bill. Bring in the Banghalees by the thousands to steal your jobs. The day laborer bought to Maldives a unskilled labor, ends up as kitchen chef, supply officer, construction supervisor.

  8. Its Maldivians going to Malaysia for higher studies, coming back and trying to replicate this that is creating the problem.. all Muslim countries who are not originally Arab are in this mess... Once you are Muslim, your own history is irrelevant and your holy lands are in Arabia... this is the predicament in Maldives.. and the Arabs have only 'cash' to offer and bad ideas like violence

  9. What an idiot!
    He does not know he is being fed with crap by the very person who killed a proven education system the Maldives have had!
    Maumoonism is back on our streets with Police and National Security Service peddling dope on the streets!
    Police Commissioner, Riyaz, who held great powers during the Maumoon era is an alleged dealer who have accumulated unknown and undeclared wealth, how we can never know!
    This is idiotic! Again this guy is trying to undo things that have been tried to be returned to normal!

  10. The recruitment of the foreign teachers has become so commercial and almost many are given appointments without proper interviews. A commercial agency cannot recruit teachers who are building the future generation without proper guidance and experience in such field. A considerable number of recently recruited teachers were sent back to their home countries. A charge of approximately US$800 t0 1000 is collected from them only by Male agencies. Apart from this they pay in their home countries too. How can we expect quality from those teachers recruited by these commercial traders. All that they ask in the telephone interview is their name and the subject they are going to deal with. Only after coming to Maldives the schools face the problem and send them back or retain them atleast to engage the classes. First we need good raw materials then we think of nice product. There are teachers who work in Maldives for more than 10 years and ready to help in interviews and giving orientations. Ministry can join hands and make better solutions rather than blaming in general. There are lots of problems from the ministry side and immigration side too to the expatriate teachers. They also need a minimum of care from the ministry when they are away from home. The pity thing is "Though a plenty of sum is invested, there is no medical insurance for any expatriate teacher" how come a teacher who has medical issues can concentrate on teaching or continuing their services here. Open talks with expatriates will definitely fix these problems. The contracts can be signed for atleast 2years rather than one year. There are more cases dealed in the Indian High Commission in the recent years from teachers side which never happened before. Teachers from outside Maldives may continue their service only on how they are being treated here.

  11. Country’s education system has failed”: State Education Minister
    such a small country ....What is going on this education system in this country blaming each other is not a solution to improve the education system its better to find the problems and find the solutions for them. 'being an expatriate teacher i really appreciate localisation in teaching system. how many of them are honestly working in education system maximum 15% in primary school, are they teaching students about moral education???? are they giving proper basic education? no not at all
    teacher it self they say student is not studying what we can do then what purpose you become teacher..... when you unable to motivate the student if not possible just step away.... ( so you work for salary not to educate the child so u failed) what is the reason for this ? i have a one question is the fault from education system, or school management? parents or Teachers? ............... who is ????????????????????????

  12. A system is only as good as the people who are part of it. Unless all the pillars that support the system are strong enough, the system is bound to come crashing down!
    The education system also reflects directly, in Maldives due to its size, the state of political and social affairs of the country. Ever since democratization, people have lost all their patience. No one is ready to give an inch but wants an ell from everyone else! The only paper most important these days is the 'pay slip'!

  13. As far as expatriates are concerned, I agree with Senthil and the Minister to some extent. But loopholes in the system are more responsible!
    When a teacher is declared to be unfit to teach, the MOE takes an eternity to send him/her back. Why even a teacher found guilty in manipulating assessment paper marking in Majeediyya School about 3-4 years back continued to be paid his salary for about 7-8 months w/o working even a minute! If you can't sack such teachers immediately, you have no right to then say that the system has failed!
    I support Naseem's comment that a system is only as ggod as the people in it. So if you want a system to work, then the people under the system should take the responsibility to get it to work! You can't expect to get results only by spending a huge amount of money on education! You need to see that the money is well utilized, whether to pay salaries or whether to buy A4 sheets!

  14. Eventhough most of the schools are labelled English medium almost 80 of the students ae unable to speak or write a few sentences corectly. They study except Dhivehi and Islam in English from grade one to ten. Still when they reach greade 9 or 10 they do not know English at all. The situation in some of the island schools are really horrible especially regarding the standard of commerce steam students. They can only utter a few words in English if they have to communicate something in English. They start each sentence thus: Anhe.. Meee..etc. This is really embarrassing fo the teachers and schools and the minister was right in telling that the system is wrong. What is root the cause of all these situation?? may be lack of descipline. In many schools students do not obey teachers. they want to be superior than teachers. Hence teachers cannot teach but cheat. Even if a teacher has 10 years experience in Maldives, he may not be a good teacher at all. Then there are other issues like teachers do not listen to supervisors. Supervisors do not obey school heads. parents do not agree with school policies. Then pricipal cannot impliment things etc.
    (PS: This comment is applicable to some schools only)

  15. Educational system is the backbone of a country's growth. Through this system only successful professionals are born and a better society is made.

    Even though the system seems to be failed there's no other option to go for an alternative. So a collective action from all the stakeholders only would make the system perfect , it needs time and hard work from all parties concerned.

    Our parents should not forget their great role in making their children well mannered and educated. The basic lessons should be learned from the parents and the family. Once they are so careful about their children and their future, a major part of making a better society is over. Proper guidance should be given to the children to be well mannered and well disciplined. Our parents should be our children's role models. This will motivate them to dream their good future and will of course work hard to achieve that.

    Misbehavior and misconducts should be taken positively and appropriate actions should be taken, so that they would not repeat those. Otherwise it would be an inspiration to other children to misbehave. This is what very often we notice in our schools. Its simply ignored when a student misbehaves, don't know either the authority is unable to take action or afraid of our students. But it fuels the educational system to fail.

    I'm sure the children will realize the importance of education once they are properly guided and motivated. Come and hold hands together to make it successful, it's everyone's responsibility. Realize the fact that a perfect system cannot be made in a day.

  16. Its the time for Overhauling.........

    Honourable Edu.Minister of State Mr.Imadh Solih seemed to have understood the situation of the educational system well, to make such a comment......
    I don't think that there would be somebody those who doesn't accept the reality that the root cause for demoralization in social life in the country owes to the educational system, because if educated citizens can change the destiny of the nation by eradicating the evil, a failure to do so will have to be regarded as the 'failure of the edu.system itself'
    Dr. Mustafa Lufthee is found to be very much worried about this comment. Being the former Edu. Minister he must know the real pass percentage ever highest for O'level in Maldives is 29%, not35%(recently revealed by the EDC officials in a workshop)...He is also very much concerned about the expenditure for expatriate teachers, a part from the annual expenditure of 2.4 billion. But he should be dare enough to disclose how much the government is receiving as foreign aid from UNICEF and the ways in which it is spent. After all worry about the expenditure of expats.(Now most of the locals are getting as much as the expatriates)
    Previously the expat teachers were selected by conducting interviews in India and Srilanka by the ministry delegates. The agencies revealed that for each candidate the delegates were getting hundreds of dollars(A round the trip with heavy suitcases). Now the service charge provided by the teacher candidates goes to the ministry accounts, ,Still the authorities are not ready t make the timely payment of our visa fee...
    Being teachers we dispose our duties for the well-being of the students than our personal benefit. If those students come up and take our positions as teacher, it will be a pride for expats..Then there will be a situation as Dr.Lufthee said(Maldives without Expatriates).
    But why this doesn't happen? The truth is that the majority of the student population is not able to learn GCE'O Level, owing to the social and intellectual organisation..GCE' O level is not suitable for all students in the world. Thats why in most of the countries they have national curriculum. Those who are able to cope up with this foreign curriculum,,,let them study it

    So why don't maldivians think of a national curriculum, simultaneously following the GCE'O level????
    Then the predictions made by Mr.Lufthee will come true
    "60% or more result and No Expatriates"

  17. I don't completely agree with senthilkumar...... Still there are teachers who is working for more than 15 years and unable to maintain the discipline in the classroom and still working as a leading teacher in many schools.... and i agree that private agencies are recruiting the teachers... But for teaching the school students, a P.Hd is not needed...... what we need is English knowledge and subject knowledge...... and the most important fact is, teachers who are newly appointed has more exposure than the teachers working for more than 10 years..... ok, then what should be done is, student should be able to maintain the discipline and give respect to the teachers. unless or until there will not be any improvement on the educational system......

  18. The ultimate academic result will be based on how the unity is being maintained among the teachers, parents and students. If any one of these getting back, the final result will be worse. As far as the present educational system is concerned, parents should be more aware of the value of education firstly. The parents are the first teacher so it would enhance the moral approach of new generation towards the education and teachers positively.
    Here, each and every student gets the resources and materials freely, it is a good thing, on the other hand, the parents and students still don’t know the value of such materials and the efforts behind to get such aids. Many expensive books and scientific calculators are still being damaged inside the class room with the arrogant actions of some students.
    “Rolling stone gathers no moss” here many comments are noticed about new recruitment. The proximate cause reveals that a new teacher would take minimum one year to adjust with the subject as well as the way of teaching following in Maldives even he possess Ph.d. too. Usually, after one year, he or she realizes the current situation and get back. Next year also, newcomers come and repeating the same, so during this probation period such fresher’s skill will be lower and would completely affect the students learning way. The follower’s way of teaching may be differed from the former’s and the students cannot digest both of them. In order to avoid such issues the existing experienced teachers should be treated as well. There should not be any shortage to teachers in Maldives because many neighbour countries are ready to donor them but perhaps the quality is not guaranteed at all.


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