Vocational subjects on the school menu for 2010, says education minister

The ministry of education has revealed that they are focusing on introducing vocational subjects into the syllabus at 101 schools in 2010.

The vocational subjectswill include trade-specific skills such as computer hardware, electrical wiring, cooking, baking and hospitality.

“We believe technical vocation subjects are important, and they have worked in other countries as well,” said Education Minister Dr Mustafa Luthufy.

“Some of the courses have a small fee because we need to bring in specialists from that particular area, but we are working to instill skills in the teachers so that they may take these classes,” he added.

Education standards in the country had slipped, he confessed, revealing that UNESCO would be conducting a one and a half year research project to find out the cause of the slip.

“Some of the things they will be looking into include how children are being taught, the relationship between teachers and parents and the teacher training syllabus,” Luthufy said.

He said the ministry also planned to “align the education system closer to Islam” by training more teachers in Islamic studies and the Quran, Luthufy said, in the hopes of “instilling religious spirit in students.”

Waning student interest in science was another concern, said Deputy Education Minister Dr Abdullah Nazeer.

“We want to introduce science education into the atoll schools to improve critical thinking,” he said.

“We want to expand the streams available to schools in the atolls, At the moment the O level and A level is dominated by the commerce stream.”

The ministry also announced plans to privatise more schools, introduce more foreign languages and train more Maldivian teachers.