University allowed to use Jamaaludheen building until June

The President’s Office has said students will continue to use the Jamaaludheen building until June in order to protect the interests of the students.

In a tweet posted last night, President’s Office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz said that President Abdulla Yameen had decided to extend the deadline given to vacate the building used by the Maldives National University (MNU).

Muaz announcement came just hours after the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure announced that the building was structurally unsafe, explaining the government’s previous request that police vacate the premises.

The decision had prompted concern from the university, the student union, and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), who suggested that the lack of an alternative building would disrupt students’ education.

Muaz told Minivan News today that there are no contradictions in the matter, as the government still believes that the building is unsafe even though the deadline has been extended.

Housing minster Dr Mohamed Muizzu yesterday shared pictures from an assessment of the building done in 2013 with the media, showing severely corroded and damaged columns in the building, which is currently used by over 1,300 university students.

“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.”

After ministers yesterday said the university had been unresponsive to offers of alternative teaching space, the President’s Office said today that the university would be given no more chances regarding the matter.

“President Abdulla Yameen is concerned for the education of the students,” said Muaz. “This government is not one which would forcefully strip the students from the building.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of MNU and former Permanent Secretary of Housing Ministry Dr Mohamed Shareef had said that the university has been informed of the president’s decision and is looking into alternatives for after the deadline.

Dr Shareef refuted the government’s claims that the university has been provided with alternatives to vacate the premises.

“The government spoke about land in Hulhumalé and Gulhifalhu. However, these plans were very vague and not written down on paper,” he said.

The deputy vice -chancellor also said that the university is trying to get an independent third party to do a risk assessment of the building to determine the safety of the students.

Related to this story

Jamaaludheen building unsafe, says Housing Minister

Opposition concerned at “interference” with educational institutions


Maldives National University to start classes for preschool and primary grades

The Maldives National University has announced that it will be providing  English language classes will be held for students in preschool and primary grades.

The programme will start today (July 2) and is scheduled to end on July 24. The classes for primary grades will include writing, listening and speaking skills in the English language.

The preschool sessions are based on the UK brand ‘City and Guild Intensive English Language Programme’.

The entry fee for the programme is MRV750 per student and classes will be held for a duration of four hours every weekday.


Ministry of Environment holds panel discussion to reflect on World Water Day 2014

The Ministry of Environment and Energy yesterday (April 1) held a panel discussion as well as a question and answer session to mark the occasion of the World Water Day 2013, which fell on March 22.

According to the press statement, the presentations covered a range of topics from water and energy, the history of water and sewerage systems in Maldives, the current plans and policies of the government including summary information on projects, meteorological aspects related to water security, water as a human right, issues related to water quality, and how water is related to climate change.

The event was held mainly for the students studying environmental management, journalism, and teaching at the Maldives National University (MNU). Their participation was intended to enrich their knowledge and to orient them towards environmental issues in Maldives, the ministry’s press release stated.

The event was held in association with the Faculty of Science at MNU, with a welcome address given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr Ali Shareef, followed by the speech by the State Minister for Environment and Energy Hasan Shah.

Minister of State for Environment and Energy Abdul Matheen Mohamed has previously told Minivan News that the government is emphasising integrated systems in order to make the best use of the water resources currently available in the country.


Housing Ministry issues seven day ultimatum for National University to vacate Jamaaluddeen building

The Housing Ministry has sent a seven day notice to the Maldives National University (MNU) to vacate the old Jamaaluddeen School building, which houses the university’s Faculty of Sharia and Law (FSL), Faculty of Arts (FA) and Centre of Continuing Education (CCED).

Speaking during a press conference on Thursday, Housing Minister Mohamed Muiz said the notice was given following a cabinet decision on the matter. He added that the Attorney General had also advised the government in favor of the decision.

“The building that the National University is currently using is very old and no longer safe to carry out any activity. That is why I submitted the matter to the cabinet,” he said.

Muiz said the building should be vacated immediately as it was unsafe for students to study there.

“The government will not be responsible for any damages incurred by students, lecturers or anyone who uses the building. We have told them to vacate the building and remove their property as well,” he said.

Muiz said his ministry had repeatedly requested the MNU Council vacate the building, even after another building was shown to them.

Minister Muiz claimed that the government intends to demolish the building as soon as possible after MNU vacates it.

Speaking to Minivan News, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Maldives National University Dr Fayyaz Ali Manik confirmed that the university had received the letter from Housing Ministry.

“We have received the letter. However, it is not a very easy decision to make. We don’t have any choice but to stay in this building,” he said.

Fayyaz said the University had requested the government find an alternative venue to house the faculties that are currently in old Jamaaluddeen building, and denied claims by the Housing Minister that alternative premises were offered to the National University.

“We have not been given any other building. They never mentioned it,” he said.

Fayyaz reiterated that a final decision on whether to move should be decided by the university council.

“I think we got the letter this afternoon. So it would be up to the university council to decide on the matter. The council includes people who are not currently working in the university. So it may take some time to decide the matter,” he explained.

Speaking to Minivan News, President of the Law Students Society (LSS) Student association of Faculty of Sharia and Law, Mauroof Ahmed, said the students were very concerned about the issue as it directly affected their studies.

“This morning we got the news that the Housing Ministry has ordered MNU to leave this premises within seven days, and if the university fails to do so, that they will evict us by force,” he said.

“Our concern is not over leaving this place, but we want an alternative place where we can continue our studies,” he said.

Mauroof added that the LSS were planning to take their concerns to relevant authorities through student petitions.

“I even strongly believe that the FSL building is not in good shape. Every day we are putting our lives at risk by going there to study. But then again the housing ministry can’t just order us to empty the place in seven days without providing us with an alternative building,” said another student.

The Maldives National University was initially formed in 1998 as the Maldives College of Higher Education (MCHE). The institution was established to rationalise resources and assure the quality of all existing post-secondary government institutes.

In 2011 the MCHE went on to become the country’s first university, formed under the Maldives National University Act.

In November 2012, MNU announced that it would be launching the first PHD programs offered in country. The subjects offered include law and pedagogy. The university has also announced that it will also be launching programs on political science in 2013.


New book analyses Maldives’ curricula

Dr Mustafa Luthfy has published a new book entitled, School Manhajaai Thauleem (Maldives School Curriculum and Education) in Dhivehi. The book was published independently, and released on September 28.

“It took me two years to write, I am very relieved that it has been published,” Luthfy said.

Luthfy has worked in the education sector since 1976, and previously was a student studying education. “I thought I would write what I thought and understood about Maldivian education for the benefit of people who come after me,” he said.

The book addresses curricula in the Maldives since the 1940s, and analyses tensions in its development. Luthfy cautions that the book is not a history, but instead is meant to serve the education sector from a socio-political perspective.

“Education is significant not just to itself, but even to understanding and developing political, societal and global trends,” he said.

Luthfy added that the book has been well receieved as “one of the best books written in Dhivehi.”

Luthfy currently holds the position of Maldives National University Chancellor (MNU) and was formerly Education Minister for the Maldivian government.