In 2004, a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean hit the coasts of several countries in South and Southeast Asia, resulting in massive damage and more than 100 reported casualties in the Maldives. With unwavering aid and support from internal communities and UNICEF, the island country has experienced significant achievements in its health, poverty and economic status, but particularly in the field of education.
The Maldives is the first country in South Asia labeled as an ‘MDG Plus’ country by achieving five of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals before 2015.
Because early childhood education is obligatory and free of charge, the country’s net enrollment increased from 51.2 percent in 2001 to 99.6 percent in 2016.
Higher secondary enrollment increased dramatically from 2013 to 2016 due to the successful implementation of the No Child Left Behind policy.
Student passing percentage in GCE O’Level 5- subjects rose significantly from 27 percent in 2009 to 56 percent in 2015. Goals have been set for education in the Maldives to achieve the national target of 60 percent in 2017.
As a direct response to the tsunami disaster, UNICEF brought resources to ‘hard-to-reach’ children through Teacher Resource Centers (TRCs), as a part of its Tsunami Recovery Programme. TRCs allow students to access a global e-network of teacher training and educational resources.
UNICEF ensures that education in the Maldives reaches all children with special needs. In addition, Life-Skills Based Education (LSBE) targets secondary school children and includes lessons on HIV/AIDs, civic education and vocational training to prepare Maldivian youth for adulthood.
Since the Maldives unified its education system in 1978, the literacy rate has risen from 70 percent to 98 percent.
The work of teachers and caregivers in Maldives continues to put improved learning standards in place. Just as the nation’s overall conditions of life have reached a high since the struggles brought on by natural disaster, education in the Maldives will hopefully only advance in the future.
– Mikaela Frigillana