O-level results for 2010 continued a general trend of improvement, with particular gains in science subjects says Deputy Minister Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer.
Of the approximately 6700 students who sat the international standardised high school exams last year, 35 percent passed five subjects, up on 32 percent in 2009 and 27 percent in 2008.
“Out of 216 schools, 100 performed better last year at O’levels,” Dr Nazeer said. “Also, the number of schools achieving over 60 percent in five subjects rose from 9 to 15.”
In addition 197 students received perfect marks of 100, Dr Nazeer said, and were awarded A* – a new grade introduced this year. 330 students were in line to receive top achievers awards, he said.
“Another significant result was a drop in U-grades [ungraded], which is one of the biggest issues facing schools,” Dr Nazeer said. “It’s been dropping since 2009, from 22 percent in 2008 to 19 percent in 2009 and 16 percent in 2010.”
Most major subjects showed a positive trend in results except for arts, geography and history, Dr Nazeer said, “subjects which are only taken by few students.”
Dr Nazeer noted “a huge increase” in science results, including chemistry, physics and maths, across the country.”
Dhivehi results improved 14 percent this year, “but unfortunately Islam didn’t do as well as expected, with a 1.5 percent decline, continuing a seven year trend.”
He suggested a further emphasis on Islam and Dhivehi at O-level. Regarding the Ministry steering committee’s controversial suggestion that both these subjects be made optional at A-level, Dr Nazeer said “we have got the technical advice to finalise the curriculum framework, but the political decision has not been made yet. We are sending Cabinet a paper towards the end of next month.”
While education was not a government manifesto pledge, Dr Nazeer noted, “I don’t think it will be difficult to achieve the goal of 60 percent pass in five subjects by 2013.”
Further focus in 2011 would be the development of “holistic education”, he said, explaining that this represented the promotion of physical education and extracurricular clubs, as well as leadership activities and ensuring students had the “opportunity to use technology in the classroom.”
The Ministry was also submitting a paper to Cabinet outlining a proposal to encourage students failing five subjects to remain in the schooling system for a further two years, with the opportunity to gain certificates and foundation diplomas.
The Education Ministry has also revealed an Rf 38 million (US$3 million) design for a replacement for Arabiyya school, after the school was closed following the collapse of a wall last year.
Funds for the new seven-storey building, to be built opposite Ameeniyya School, will be included in next years budget, Director at the Education Ministry Mohamed Yousuf told newspaper Haveeru.
The proposed structure includes 28 classrooms, computer lab, library, prayer room and a hall for 400-500 students, Haveeru noted, adding that the building would be completed by the end of the year and students transferred in time for the next academic year.
Bids for the project will be opened on February 17 after a pre-bid meeting on February 7, the Finance Ministry has stated.