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Maldives

History & Background

The Republic of Maldives, or Dhivehi Jumhuriya, is situated in an archipelago of approximately 1,190 low-lying coral islands in the Indian Ocean about 300 miles southwest of India. The islands cluster into 24 natural atolls, grouped for administrative purposes into 19 atolls. The entire land-mass of the nation covers about 115 square miles, spanning an area of 500 miles north to south, and 80 miles east to west. The 197 inhabited islands afford sandy beaches, lagoons, and lush tropical vegetation, with an abundance of coconut palms and breadfruit trees as well as limited arable land. The climate is hot and humid, averaging 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and most of the sixty inches of annual rainfall comes between May and November. Male, the capital island, is in the central part of the archipelago, approximately 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka. Maldives is one of the world's most economically disadvantaged and environmentally endangered countries. Its monetary unit is called a Maldivian Rufiya. Its economy relies on a fast growing tourism sector, alongside the more traditional activities of fishing and fishing-related industry, boat building and repair, handicrafts including coir products, fish products, lace, and lacquer work. The geographical characteristics of this island nation require the dispersion of educational facilities across inhabited atolls and islands and the use of boats for transportation between them.

The nearly 300,000 people in the Maldives have heterogeneous cultural roots based in their Indian, Sri Lankan, Arab, and African origins. The history of Maldivian settlement dates back to the fourth or fifth century B.C. when Southern Indian and Sri Lankan Buddhists first arrived there. In the twelfth century, with new migration from Malaya, Madagascar, Indonesia and China, Islam came to the Maldives and has been the official state religion since then. Between the sixteenth century and the present day, governance in the Maldives has gone through various Islamic and European phases. The seafaring Portuguese took control of the islands in 1558 till their ouster in 1573. The Dutch held the island Sultanate as a protectorate in the seventeenth century. The British took over this position from the Dutch in the nineteenth century (in 1887) following their takeover of Sri Lanka. In 1932 the first democratic constitution was proclaimed while the Sultanate remained. In 1953 a Republic was proclaimed which later reverted to a Sultanate in 1954. Eventually in 1965 full independence was gained from the British. Thereafter in 1968, a new Republic was inaugurated, the Sultanate was abolished, and the Maldives took membership in the United Nations. Later, in 1982 it became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. March 29, 1976, the day the last British troops left the Maldives, is celebrated as Maldives Independence Day. In 1988, an internal coup attempt aided by Tamil mercenaries was thwarted with the help of the Indian Armed forces. Today in this multicultural Republic, Dhivehi is the official language although Arabic, Hindi, and English are also spoken. Traditional education provided in Dhivehi and based on the teachings of the Quran as well as modern education provided in English guided by international curricular standards are both offered.


Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceMaldives - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education - NONFORMAL EDUCATION, SUMMARY