President Abdulla Yameen will make creative arts – including music and dance – optional subjects in the next year’s school curriculum after pressure from religious conservative organisations and political parties.
Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali tweeted his gratitude towards the president, though he was unavailable to comment on the news at the time of publication. President’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz also tweeted about the decision.
Local media reported that religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf had met with the president to voice concerns as well as sending a letter identifying ‘anti-Islamic’ aspects in the new curriculum.
Speaking to Raajje.mv after the meeting, Jamiyyathul Salaf President Abdulla Mohamed said government ministers at the meeting denied the fact that creative arts was compulsory saying that it seemed unlikely that there would be any amendments to the curriculum.
The NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf put out a press statement last month describing the decision to make music and dance compulsory as an “insult to Islam”, contending that music is prohibited in Islam.
The meeting in question was also attended by the Islamic minister, education minister Dr Aishath Shiham, and the Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdullah.
The education minister had previously stated at a press conference of the Cabinet’s Social Council last week (October 23) that the whole curriculum was based on Islamic values and codes of behavior.
The religious conservative Adhaalath Party declared last week that it had been working ceaselessly to ensure that music and dance are not included as compulsory subjects in the new curriculum.
Meanwhile, Shaheem noted that Quran was included as a compulsory subject in the new curriculum and declared his support for efforts to “broaden Islamic education and Arabic language”.
Earlier this year, Islamic ministry unveiled its policies and plans for the year, placing great emphasis on strengthening Islamic education by focusing on schools and the youth population. The ministry has also revealed plans for an Islamic University in the Maldives.
Plans included sermons at school assemblies, special Islamic workshops, and a monthly Islamic magazine which is to be distributed to all schools and public libraries.
Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed said the government will mainstream Arabic education in the Maldives, focusing particularly on Islamic education and the study of Quran.