Decision on deputy principals yet to be made: Education Ministry

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education Dr Abdulla Muhsin has said that no decision regarding deputy principals has yet been implemented.

“I cannot confirm nor deny that a decision has been made regarding the post of deputy principals, the ministry is evaluating the impacts of a decision”, said Muhsin.

Following reports that the ministry was introducing new criteria for the post of deputy principals, Muhsin stated the ministry has asked schools to fill forms regarding the responsibilities, qualifications, and other work related aspects of deputy principals.

He also noted that it has not come to the point where the ministry must make announcements regarding the post of deputy principals.

Local media reported that under the new criteria set up by the ‘Staff Requirement 2015’ an individual must have completed at least a Bachelors degree to qualify the post of deputy principal.

Further, it has been reported that the ministry decided that just one deputy principal would be assigned to schools with between 500 to 999 students, and that only schools with more than 1000 students would be allowed to have two deputy principals.

Meanwhile Sun Online reported that Deputy Education Minister Azleen Ahmed described the decision to restructure the school management structure in such a way that deputy principals are assigned to schools in accordance with the population is “a strategic change to the education system”.

State Minister of Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer, speaking to state television last month, said that the ministry’s aim was to eradicate the deputy principal level in the organisational structure in order to bring the principals closer to the teachers.

The government subsequently reversed the decision followed opposition Maldivian Democratic Party along with the Teachers Association of Maldives (TAM) leading a public outcry against the move.

“The majority of the deputy principals are performing administrative level tasks at the school which should be done by administrative officers instead. We want to task the deputy principals with more academic related work,” said Nazeer.

Speaking to Minivan News regarding the implementation of the new curriculum last week, former Education Minister Shifa Mohamed expressed concern over the government’s “indecisiveness and lack of consistency” with regards to changes brought to the school management structure, claiming the government had decided to remove the post of deputy principals and leading teachers, who play a decisive role in implementing the new curriculum.

“Deputy principals and leading teachers did not have the guarantee that they would have a job by the start of the academic year. That will surely affect their performance,” said Shifa.

Aside from the proposed changes to teachers’ roles, the government announced this month that teachers’ salaries would be increased by 35 and 15 percent depending on the qualification they held.

Discontent at low salaries was among a number of grievances that brought the TAM to within hours of striking before the government agreed to begin negotiations last September.

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