Jamaaludheen building unsafe, says Housing Minister

The Jamaaludheen building being used by the Maldives National University (MNU) is unsafe for students, says the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Dr Mohamed Muizzu.

Speaking today at a joint press conference with the Ministry of Education, Dr Muizzu said that many risk assessments had been undertaken regarding the safety of the building in recent years, deeming the building unsafe.

“Cosmetic work has been done in the building to cover up these damages,” he said. “It is very irresponsible of certain individuals to say that the building is safe when it clearly is not. The building is not structurally stable from an engineering perspective.”

Last week, the President’s Office requested that police vacate the premises within seven days, prompting concerned responses from the university, the student union, and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

A subsequent statement released last week by MNU read that the sudden decision to vacate the premises is not viable without a building to move into, and that the university is saddened by the fact that the decision will halt the education of many students.

Dr Muizzu this morning shared pictures from an assessment done in 2013 which showed severely corroded and damaged columns in the building, which is currently used by over 1,300 university students.

However, Dr Muizzu reiterated claims previously put forward by the President’s Office saying that several alternative plots of land had been offered to the university, and that the university had not responded to them.

“We offered various plots of land to the university in recent years,” explained Dr Muizzu. “The university was even offered large spaces in the Hulhumalé development second phase and at Gulhifalhu as well.

Also speaking at the press conference, Minister of Education Dr Aishath Shiham urged all concerned stakeholders to engage in discussion to solve the matter in order to protect the interest of current students.

Dr Shiham stated that the government is currently holding discussions with the management of the university, expressing confidence that the matter will be resolved by February 19.

“The university is a place run on the government budget, for the purposes of further developing our education system. Therefore, we should all be working on this matter together and our biggest concern should be protecting the rights of the students,” she concluded.

The opposition MDP expressed concern last week regarding the matter saying that the students are scared and are in need of answers after hearing police were going to clear the building.

“These students are unsure as to whether they could return to their classrooms they have been studying in,” said MDP Education Committee Chair Dr Luthfee, who served as the minister of education during MDP’s administration.

Dr Luthfee also expressed concern at the situation of the private Mandhu College, which has seen an exodus of students following an eviction notice from the education ministry. The college has refuted claims it has breached the terms of its lease.

The Education Ministry has been met with firm criticism in recent weeks, with Teacher’s Association of Maldives (TAM) president Athif Abdul Hakeem alleging the ministry of intimidation and opposition accusing the ministry of interfering with higher education institutions.

Related to this story

Opposition concerned at “interference” with educational institutions

Mandhu College denies violating agreement as eviction looms

Mandhu College experiencing 40 percent dropout rate

TAM President accuses Education Ministry of intimidation


Government introduces Arabic lessons as part of Islamic education drive

The Ministry of Education yesterday introduced Arabic language as an optional subject for grades 1 – 12 in twelves schools.

At a inaugural ceremony held in Hiriyaa School yesterday, 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.

Jameel said the introduction of Arabic language will bring a ‘special happiness’ to the people of Maldives, will strengthen the Islamic faith, and will introduce good behavior.

Stating that different ideologies have to be introduced into the education system in order to ensure the peace and stability of the country, Jameel pledged to introduce Islamic ethics as a subject in all schools within the year.

Reading and writing of Arabic script have traditionally been taught in the Maldives at a very young age, either at home or from private teachers. Most people, however, have little or no understanding of the meanings of Arabic language – an issue of concern often raised by local religious scholars.

The schools in Malé city which have introduced the new subject were Thajuddeen School, Muhyuddin School, Dharumavantha School, Aminiya School, and Hiriya School.

In Addu city, the new lessons have been introduced at Maradhoo School, Feydhoo School, Hulhudhoo School, and Shamsuddin School. In Baa Atoll, pupils at Thulhaadhoo School and Naifaru Madrasatul Iftitah will also have the option of taking Arabic lessons.

The ministry has said that the first twelve schools were chosen based on the fact that Arabic teachers were already present within the schools’ staff, and that the subject would be introduced in all schools within the year.

Speaking at the ceremony yesterday, Minister of Education Dr Aishath Shiham said that Arabic language is “very close to our hearts” and that learning the language is very important.

Jameel, Ahmed, Education State Ministers Sheikh Abdul Aziz Hussain, Sheikh Ali Zahir and Dr Abdulla Nazeer took model Arabic classes for Hiriya Schools students yesterday.

The introduction of Arabic language in all schools of the Maldives is part of the government’s stated education policies. The government has also pledged to prepare a scheme for the introduction ‘economically beneficial’ foreign languages within the first hundred days of the government and to choose two islands within this period for the establishment of Arabic medium schools.

With the exception of Arabic-medium Madhrasatul Arabiyyathul Islamiyya, the medium of instruction in all Schools of Maldives is English language – local Dhivehi language and Islamic studies are taught in Dhivehi.


Education Ministry pledges to introduce Arabic to more schools

The Ministry of Education has pledged to introduce Arabic to more schools in the next academic year.

Speaking to the press today, Minister of Education Dr Aishath Shiham said Arabic will be available at “many” schools throughout the Maldives next year.

In addition to Arabic, the Education Ministry intends to expand civic education in the curriculum and introduce Like Skills Education as a separate subject to educate students on life skills such as conflict resolution and responsible citizenship.

The government intends to equip five schools in Malé with facilities to educate children with special needs and establish two centers in the atolls to train children with special needs, Shiham said.

The Education Ministry is still seeking 74 Quran teachers in order to ensure that all schools are able to offer Quran as a subject, Shiham also said.