Maldives ranks first in Asia/Pacific for education spending and divorce rate: OECD report

The Maldives has the highest divorce rate and ranks number one in the Asia Pacific region on education spending as a percentage of GDP, according to the ‘Society at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2011’ overview of social indicators released by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) last month.

The Maldives spends the highest proportion of GDP on public education (8.1 percent) across the Asia/Pacific region, the report found, which was 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).

Maldives was also among developing Asia/Pacific nations that experienced rapid declines in fertility rates, slowing down in 2008 to fertility rates comparable with OECD countries.

The divorce rate in the Maldives is meanwhile “three times higher than the average of the Asia/Pacific countries and economies.”

A four percent decrease in the marriage rate was however the sharpest decline in the region, while a five percent rise in divorce rates was the fastest.

On the level of employment, the Maldives ranks alongside Sri Lanka and Indonesia where “more than one in four economically active young people is unemployed.”

Moreover, female unemployment in the Maldives “is more than three times the male rate.”

The pension system meanwhile covered 24 percent of the labour force and 16 percent of the working age population.

The report noted that Maldives, along with Vietnam and Thailand, was not far behind Australia in the percentage of pre-school children attending an early education programme. However, similar to Tajikistan and Laos, Maldives has “a slightly higher attendance for boys.”

Average years of total schooling in the Maldives as of 2010 was 6.1, well below the OECD average of 12.7.

Of the population indicators measured in the report, the gender ratio in the Maldives was 103 males per 100 females.

Life expectancy at birth of the total population between 1990 and 2008 was 71.6 years, slightly higher than the Asia/Pacific average. Japan was ranked first with 82.6 years.

As of 2008, infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births was 12.7, higher than the OECD average of 4.6.

On the availability of water and sanitation, 98 percent of the population had access to the utility services.

Suicide rates in the country was the fourth highest in the region at 22.4 (deaths per 100,000).

Voter turnout meanwhile averaged at 71 percent. However 85 percent of the population voted in the historic presidential election of October 2008.


11 thoughts on “Maldives ranks first in Asia/Pacific for education spending and divorce rate: OECD report”

  1. "Maldives was also among developing Asia Pacific nations that experienced rapid declines in fertility rates, slowing down in 2008 to fertility rates comparable with OECD countries."

    This is welcome news. However, this trend may be reversing with the more hardline relgious "scholars" multiplying like rabbits (with their young wives and numerous concubines etc).

    It's very encouraging to note that we're spending well on education. However, we need to get better returns for our money. The failure rates and drop out rates are far too high. The percentage of students who complete a tertiary education are well below the OECD average. In order to progress to the next stage, we need to overcome that.

  2. Spending yes. Effective spending no.

    Our expenditure is high because it goes towards employing semi-skilled people and implementing wayward projects.

    Our education sector needs to be audited for effectiveness and rethought altogether.

  3. One interesting statistic - average years of schooling 6.1 years - caught my attention. This means that the Maldivian population continues to be under-educated, un-learned, and less able to provide the intellectual and managerial support the country needs to further its development. With so much human capital lost to the country, it is not likely that productivity will improve, leading to a continued reliance on foreign workers and the associated loss of earned income, especially in the tourism sector.

  4. Regards from Aotearoa/New Zealand

    Is it correct that the Maldives recently moved to an all English or mostly English medium of instruction in schools/ What has the effect of this been ?

    John McCaffery
    Senior Lecturer
    Te Kura o nga Matatini o nga Reo me nga Toi
    School of Arts Languages and Literacies
    ( English/ Literacy /Languages/TESOL/ Biliteracy/ Bilingual/ Immersion Education )
    Faculty of Education, Epsom Campus. Office N Block, N601
    University of Auckland
    Private Bag 92601, Symonds Street, Auckland 1, Aotearoa/New Zealand
    email: [email protected]
    Ph: Mob: 027 20 83 766 Work: 64-9-6238899 ext 48709 Fax; 64-9-623 8811
    Greetings from Aotearoa/New Zealand: Kia Ora ra: Talofa lava: Malo e lelei: Kiaorana: Fakaalofa lahi atu: Taloha ni: Bula vinaka: Namaste: Ni hao ma: Mauri, Mauri Mauri.....

  5. @bryam on Fri, 13th Jan 2012 1:50 AM

    "One interesting statistic – average years of schooling 6.1 years – caught my attention. This means that the Maldivian population continues to be under-educated, un-learned,"

    and easy fodder to firebrand preachers claiming to be Islamic Scholars!

  6. McAffery:

    If by recent you mean the 1960s, yes we switched to an English medium in the last Century.

    Since then things went progressively downhill. With our meager resources we tried to stretch access to education nationwide which adversely affected the quality of that same education.

    When I was young we had less of a regimented education and more space to use our imagination. The Sri Lankan teachers who taught us English spoke it well and knew good grammar. They were also well read and able to speak at length in English.

    Our local human resource on the other hand is ill-trained to give our students a proper understanding of the medium they study in. This is not my field and everything I've said is anecdotal but any casual observer would agree. Our spending on education is geared towards securing financial assistance from foreign institutions by displaying numbers on paper. We are not alone in using this tactic in the developing world.

  7. Huge amount is paid to expatriate teachers annually.That is why the total amount is very high. Let the local teachers take all subjects.

  8. Well..I think overall the indicators are good. No one can be perfect in every thing. But we need to work more to decrease the divorce rate and infant mortality rate. They are important.

  9. @ Mc Caffery,

    It was not recent. Its English medium for all subjects except for 2 which is Local lan.guage and islamic studies. The government provides free education upto A Levels. Students sit for Cambridge Exams for O Levels and A Levels. General population can read and undestand English unlike their neighbouring countries.

  10. If we spend $110 million for education, we need better results. First of all we need better paid teachers. We need more students becoming teachers.


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