Maldivian society is marked by a high growth rate (2.8 percent) and a declining mortality rate resulting in a youthful population with 46.5 percent of the people being under the age of 15. This creates a heavy dependency ratio of the young on the working, causing particular economic challenges for the nation in the provision of education. Double and in some cases triple shift schooling, maintaining large student-teacher ratios, hiring part-time staff, administering schools in clusters, inviting private sector partnerships and parent/community contributions (where possible) are some of the measures that are being used to deal with the situation.
In Maldives, education has had a long history starting with the traditional, home-based teaching of Dhivehi, the Arabic script, and the Holy Quran in home-based centers known as the edhuruge or kiyavaage. Since the early part of the twentieth century, government schools for boys and later for girls were created in Male and by mid-century in each inhabited atoll. These schools, called maktabs maintained the traditional curriculum along with mathematics. In the 1960s the introduction of English medium schools by the government had the effect of relegating traditional education to a second-class status. Since 1978, the government has pursued a unified education policy by establishing two government schools, Atoll Education Centers and an Atoll School in each atoll and a policy of equitable distribution of facilities and funds to them. These schools are also unified by a common curriculum for grades 1 to 7, in keeping with the national priority of providing universal basic education (defined as grades 1 to 7). The curriculum covers Dhivehi, mathematics, environmental studies, Islam, English, fine arts, physical education, handwriting, and study of the Quran. The school year runs from February through December and the net enrollment ratio in basic education is reported to be 95 percent. Literacy figures are reported to be over 98 percent and gender parity for basic education at 49 percent for females and 51 percent for males.
Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceMaldives - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education - NONFORMAL EDUCATION, SUMMARY