Aminiyya School board threaten resignation over introduction of grade one

The board of the girls-only ‘Aminiyya School’ have expressed concern over the Education Ministry’s decision to introduce grade 1 students to the school next year, claiming that the structural integrity of the building made it a danger to minors.

Ahmed Ali, a board member of the school, told Minivan News that the board members were concerned that the school building was “very old and weak”.

“The building is 32 years-old and was built with stones, it is very weak and if minors were brought in it would be very dangerous,’’ claimed Ahmed. “We have informed the education ministry several times about the condition of the building – last Sunday the whole board went for an urgent meeting with the ministry to discuss the issue.’’

The whole board, Ahmed said declined to bring minors to the school unless the building was renewed or refurbished to a strong condition and decided to resign if the ministry acted otherwise.

‘’The education ministry said there was nowhere elsewhere to keep the students,’’ said Ahmed.

The board also claimed it opposed the introduction of grade 1 students because of “social issues”.

“This is a school for females and some of them wear short skirts up to the knees,” said Ahmed. “If minors were brought in parents will have to come inside the school compound to fetch the students. If parents can come inside the schools compound, it won’t be only parents who will come in.’’

He claimed that other people would also come into the school “and harass the students.”

Deputy Minister for Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer said the ministry was aware of the concerns of the board.

“Their main concern was the building and it’s structural weaknesses,’’ said Dr Nazeer. “We have surveyed the building to determine its condition and have included the money needed to renew the building in our budget.’’

Dr Nazeer said when the parliament approves the budget, the project to renew the building will be commence.


NGO coalition sets up table in front of Arabiyya to hear parent’s complaints

The same NGO coalition that once worked against the banning of alcohol in inhabited islands has now launched a campaign against the education sector of the Maldives, today setting up a table in front of Arabiyya school to collect complaints from parents.

‘’We have received several complaints from parents from different eight schools in Male,’’ said Ibrahim Mohamed, an official of the coalition’s analysing committee. “Parents are co-operating with us and raising their voices, many of them have concerning issues.’’

Ibrahim said the parents were demanding the education sector uphold the religion and article number 36[c] of the constitution.

Article 36 [c] reads ‘’Education shall strive to inculcate obedience to Islam, instil love for Islam, foster respect for human rights, and promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all people.’’

“The education sector of the Maldives is now operated not only against the constitution of the Maldives also against the manifesto of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP),’’ Ibrahim claimed.

“The fact that President is not taking any action against this proves that he also has an agenda in this.’’

Ibrahim referred to article 67[g] of the constitution and said that making Dhivehi and Islam optional [at A-level] violated the article.

Article 67 (g) demands the preservation and protection of the state religion of Islam, culture, language and heritage of the country.

“It is against democracy to dismiss the voice of the citizens,’’ he said. “We regret that our president is dismissing our voice and refusing to meet us.’’

Yesterday the NGO coalition and some parents gathered near the President’s official residence and demanded to meet the president, before a riot police squad arrived and dispersed the crowd.

The series of gatherings triggered when the education ministry expressed an idea of making all government schools co-educational. Currently all but four are co-educational.

The NGO coalition, religious NGO Salaf, Adhaalath Party and the minority opposition People’s Alliance (PA) strongly condemned the idea.

Deputy Minister of Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer recently told Minivan News the ministry had not decided to mix female and male students in the secondary grades.

“But we have decided to establish primary grades in all the schools,’’ Nazeer said. ‘’So Majeediyya School, Dharumavantha, Ameeniyya and Hiriya will no longer be solely for secondary education.’’

Secondary education will be provided in all the primary schools as well, he added.

The Education Minister Mustafa Luthfy has come under pressure from religious NGOs and other concerned people, following the ministry steering committee’s proposal to make Dhivehi and Islam as optional subjects for A level students.


Salaf calls for resignation of Education Minister, again

Religious NGO Jamiyyathulsalaf has called for the resignation of Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfy, and claimed that Arabiyya is the only Maldivian school “with an adequate education policy.”

“The whole education policy of the Maldives has been designed in a way that moves the students further from the religion,” President of Salaf Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohamed Ibrahim said today.

“As a consequence, students have become poorly educated. If you refer to the results of the students who pass, anyone will understand that.”

Sheikh Abdulla said there was only one school in the Maldives that has an adequate educational policy.

“That school would be Arabiyya School. The School teaches Arab, Hadith, Sunnah of the prophet and the Quran,” Sheikh Abdulla said.

Sheikh Abdulla said the idea of introducing co-educational policy was completely unacceptable.

“There will be social and disciplinary issues that students would have to face if the policy was introduced,” he said. “There will also be consequences for teachers.”

He also warned that “a coalition of NGOs” was preparing to be on standby to come out and demonstrate against the change, if necessary.

Minister of Education Dr Musthafa Luthfy told Minivan News that co-education has been a part of the Maldivian education system for a long time.

“When we studied at ‘Edhuruge’ [traditional places of learning, where classes were held at a teacher’s house] there were girls and boys mixed,” said Dr Musthafa. “There are currently only four schools in the Maldives that is not Co-educational.”

Dr Musthafa said his idea was to develop an integrated educational system that comprised of science, commerce, arts and aesthetics.

“That is an educational system that will contain drawing, music, exercise and sports, plus praying, reciting of the Quran and other religious events,” he said. “This type of policy is known to increase students’ intellectual ability and skills. If anyone is in doubt, they can ask parents and school managements whether students have moved further away from religion or closer to it after I assumed office,” he said.

Luthfy has previously come under criticism after the Ministry’s steering committee suggested making Islam and Dhivehi optional for A-Level students. The controversial proposal led to late-night protests outside Luthfy’s house and an eventual no-confidence motion in parliament, which was annulled when President’s Nasheed’s entire cabinet resigned in protest at parliamentary obstruction.