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II Part Analytic Section

2.5 Progress wards goals and targets

It has already been mentioned that there has been an expansion of schools in Maldives. There has been rapid growth in the number of all types of schools and also the enrolments in them since 1990, as shown on Table 2.

Table 2: Schools and enrolments in Maldives

 

Government

Community

Private

Total

Schools

1990

50

181

31

262

1999

66

172

46

284

Enrolment

1990

25608

29689

7296

62593

1999

49721

42524

8836

101081

Source: Basic Data on Student Enrolment in Maldives (1990) and Educational Statistics (1999)

Figure 7: Enrolment Trends in Basic Education – Male’ and Atolls (1996-1999)

Figure 8: Student Enrolment, 1999

However the expansion is not uniform. The total population on most islands is not enough to sustain even a small school. The following table gives the distribution of schools by size of enrollment.

Figure 9

Distribution of schools by size of enrolment - 1998

Nearly one third of the schools have an enrollment less than 300 pupils. More than 80% have an enrollment less than 500 pupils.

A strategy adopted to cater to this widely dispersed small populations, has been the creation of services for an atoll. With respect to formal education, Atoll Education Centres (AECs) and Atoll Primary Schools (APSs) were started as model schools to provide a curriculum to the children on the atolls similar to what was offered in Male schools. Apart from being schools they also carried out other functions such as assisting in the in-service education of teachers and literacy work. There is no inhabited island without a school. Children have access to a school on their own island. Nearly all of them have classes up to grade 7. The very few that do not have up to grade 7 at the moment will be upgraded very soon. However the very small school enrollment in the large majority of schools needs to be noted.

There are schools on islands where the school-age population would, under normal circumstances, be considered far too small to sustain even a primary school. Moreover what started, as 5-year primary schools had to be extended to the full seven years if access to a basic education of 7 years was to be maintained. The pursuit of quality required that a variety of teachers be provided. This explains what may be regarded as an extremely favourable teacher to pupil ratio (24:1 in 1998). In the context of the Maldives, the provision barely meets the needs. National level indicators based on aggregated data will give an invalid picture.

In the Maldives, the island of Male is an exception. It is the capital of the country and sustains nearly a third of the school-going population in the country. Like in other countries, the inevitable development of the capital attracted more and more from the periphery. Hence formal school provision started in Male and being the only island on which it was available then, children and their families migrated to Male. Policies over the last few decades favouring the development of the atolls, which still continue and are given very high priority, have made very significant improvements in the formal educational provision in the atolls.

The unique physical features impose severe constraints on the provision of services. Transport of any materials has to be sent by sea. Any visits by supervisory staff have also to be by sea except for a few islands where travel by air is possible. The weather is such that some islands are not approachable for days. Unlike most other Ministries of Education, the transport item is a very significant component in the Maldives’ education budget. Even with the financial provision, time is spent mostly on the sea and not on the islands.

Although the physical features imposes severe constraints on the provision of basic services, the people of the Maldives have a deep and abiding commitment to education. This has been spoken of and referred to. A recent survey provides empirical evidence of this abiding and strong commitment. A survey on poverty completed in 1998 has developed a Human Vulnerability Index for the Maldives. As a part of the exercise for developing the Index it was necessary to allocate weights to various needs in terms of their priority to the people. Accordingly the national sample, covering all the inhabited islands, was asked to rate the selected dimensions with a rating of 1 denoting the highest priority. The table from the study which indicates this rating is given in Annex 15.

It can be seen from the table that even in the most vulnerable islands, education has the highest priority for females. The response of males is also nearly the same. There is no doubt that it is this strong and abiding commitment to education which has enabled the Maldives to make very significant progress, during the last decade, to the goals it had set itself, despite all the natural difficulties.

2.5.1 Expansion of early childhood care and development activities

Modern pre-school exists in Male’ and informal institutions in the atolls are now being replaced by modern, privately-financed or community financed facilities in some islands. All pre-schools in Male’ are non-Government institutions, but, unlike in the atolls, in Male’ all teachers are Government supplied and facilities and support costs are often added. The result is a considerable regional disparity of quantity and of quality of provision. Pre-primary curriculum has been effective in increasing children’s readiness for primary. However, there is concern that an increasing amount of Grade 1 content is being shifted down into kindergarten. The policy on the medium of instruction is to use either English or Dhivehi depending upon the availability of resources. However, there is some feeling that it should be Dhivehi.

There is a steady increase in the number of formal pre-primary schools in Maldives, as shown in Table 3. Government Pre-Primary schools are very few. A Vast majority of schools are run by community or by the private sector.

Table 3: Pre-primary schools in Maldives, 1999

 

Government

Community

Private

Total

1990

Schools

-

-

-

-

Enrolment

 

4300

4300

1999

Schools

-

97

40

137

Enrolments

115

8307

3609

12031

A recent survey on poverty provides information about the physical existence of nurseries on the islands. The following table (Table 4) is an extract from the study. The figures given have to be interpreted in the context, that the absence of a nursery does not necessarily mean that there is no other provision for early childhood care and development. Many of them have Edhuruges. It is well known that modern structures are emerging alongside the traditional structures, which are also changing themselves.

Table 4: Percentage of atoll population without a nursery

Name of Atoll

No Nursery

Haa Alif

47

Haa Dhaal

32

Shaviyani

77

Noonu

29

Raa

61

Baa

31

Lhaviyani

100

Kaafu

60

Alif Uthuru Buri

78

Alif Dhekunu Buri

59

Vaavu

66

Meemu

76

Faafu

75

Dhaal

93

Thaa

45

Laamu

63

Gaaf Alif

72

Gaaf Dhal

38

Gnaviyani

100

Seenu

27

Atoll average

55

Source: Republic of the Maldives: Vulnerability & Poverty Assessment. Ministry of Planning, Human Resources and Environment in cooperation with UNDP. Male. Republic of Maldives, 1998. Unpublished. Table 5.1, page 42

On the whole, slightly more than half the total atoll population has no access to a nursery or a modern pre-school.

Unfortunately since no such survey was made earlier, it is not possible to comment on the changes over time. But it is safe to say that in the early 90s there were hardly any nurseries. Hence the current provision, is a significant achievement.

Table 5: GER for early childhood development programmes and Gender Parity Index

Year

GER

Gender Parity Index (F/M)

1995

 

 

Total MF

46.6

1.1

Male

45.0

 

Female

48.3

 

1996

 

 

Total MF

45.7

1.1

Male

44.5

 

Female

46.9

 

1997

 

 

Total MF

48.4

1.1

Male

47.2

 

Female

49.7

 

1998

 

 

Total MF

53.5

1.0

Male

53.2

 

Female

53.8

 

The total enrolment in Nursery, Lower Kindergarten and Upper Kindergarten was 4695 females and 4897 males making a total of 9592 in 1993, as against a total of 11,508 for 1998. There is no gender disparity. The Gross Enrolment Ratio in early childhood development and care programmes confirm that in the country as a whole, namely, that about half the populations in the atolls do not have access to a nursery, as conceived in modern terms. But as described and mentioned earlier there is invariably an Edhuruge or Kiyavaage (similar to the Edhuruge) on every island. Hence even when there is no modern nursery as such the children are cared for in these traditional institutions.

Information on net intake rate for this indicator was collected in March 1999 and it is presented in Annex 1. Figures in this table confirm what has been said in the previous paragraph that 33% of the 3 – 5 age group of the population does not have access to an organized early childhood development programme. However, it should be noted from the table that, in addition to the 67% who have attended an organized ECD programme, another 22% have attended either an Edhuruge’ or a Kiyavaage’. When we add up these two groups the ECD on average reaches nearly 90% of the children, leaving only 10%. Special attention from the Ministry of Education has to be given to the development of ECD in Kaafu and Laamu atolls.

Since the mid-90s, organised and more formal pre-schools have been increasing in the country. If this trend continues it is likely that within the next 5 years the gross enrolment ratio would reach 90%.

2.5.2 Universal access to and completion of primary education by the year 2000

The major existing policy affecting primary education is the goal of grade 1-7 education for all students by the year 2000. The components of this policy must be schools that have the complete extended primary grade cycle; 100 percent participation in grade 1, and 100 percent completion of grade 7 by all who starts grade 1. None of these components are completely realized at present, although the conditions are close to being met in Male’ schools. In atolls, a large number of incomplete (less than grade 7) schools exist. Some of these represent "feeder" schools to other institutions (on the same island or on a nearby island) that are complete through grade 7. However, most indicate a barrier to the availability of students to continue their education.

For primary education, grades 1-5, universally of availability (if not full participation) is a near reality. All islands have some form of primary education and nearly all have at least a full five-year cycle. No one is denied access to primary education where it is available.

In 1999, 47 thousand children are enrolled in Primary level. There is a marginal decline in enrolment in the recent years, as gradually the number of over and under age children in primary school is reduced. Though data are not available, it is possible that it may also become to likely decline in birth rate, and a small increase in migration rates to other countries particularly India. People are found migrating to India from atolls for primary education as that could be cheaper than migration to Male’ from atolls.

Figure 10: Enrolment in Basic Education

But the situation is satisfactory with a fairly high enrolment ratio. UNICEF with the assistance of local consultants undertook a national survey in 1995 to assess the achievements and situation of various mid-decade goals using a Global Multiple Indicator Survey Guidelines. The results of this survey indicate that Maldives indeed has achieved all mid decade goals, with respect to universal primary education . The following table (Table 10) from the study gives the educational status of the children.

Table 6: Educational status of children (n = 1962) in UNICEF Mid-decade Survey

 

%

Currently in school

94.9

Currently not in school

5.1

Never in school

3.0

 

 

by grades of those in school (n = 1 861)

 

Kindergarten

3.0

Grades 1 – 5

69.0

Grades 6 and 7

21.7

Grades 8 - 10

5.5

Higher

0.8

Source: UNICEF. Maldives Multiple Indicator Survey Report, UNICEF, Male, 1996,

Table 18, page 18.

The survey clearly indicates that by 1995 the Maldives had achieved near universal primary education. Hardly 5% of the children were outside the school. It may be noted that other essential services needed by the children were also available.

2.5.3. Improvement in equity by gender and location in access and quality of education

The major inequality lies between the level and quality of schooling received by atoll compared with Male’ children. Some 75 percent of Maldivians live in the atolls.

Table 7: Percentage of Schools Places in Atolls by Level and Type, 1996

Type

Pre-school

Primary

Lower Secondary

Upper Secondary

All levels

G1-5

G6-7

G8-10

G11-12

 

Government

 

69.7

72.9

40.5

0.0

66.5

Community

54.0

94.6

76.8

1.7

 

81.5

Private

84.5

77.4

31.8

6.6

 

49.3

Total

60.5

82.0

70.0

26.3

0.0

71.6

Source: Educational Statistics, Ministry of Education. Republic of Maldives. 1998.

As Table 7 indicates recent MOE policy to expand access in the atolls has substantially reduced the quantitative inequalities between Male’ and atolls. There is still disparity of provision at pre-school and secondary levels, but there is an approximate proportional parity at primary level. It should also be noted that many of the children in Male’ schools are from the atolls.

Inequality, therefore, lies more in quality. Resourcing per student is Rfs. 2,486 for Male’ primary schools compared with Rfs. 1,369 per student in the atolls. Teaching in English, which provides opportunity for further study and employment, is universal in Male’ schools but varies according to the resource available.

2.5.4. Gross and Net Intake rates in primary education

For reasons already stated these indicators are reported only for the years 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 for the country as a whole. The intake rates are very high. Further, as enrolment ratios are nearly universal as we note later.

Table 8: Apparent (AIR) and Net Intake rates (NIR) in primary education – 5 year cycle

Year

AIR

NIR

AIR

NIR

 

 

Gender Parity Index

1995

 

 

 

 

Total MF

115.6

1.0

Male

117.3

 

Female

113.9

1996

 

 

 

 

Total MF

114.2

1.0

Male

114.2

 

Female

114.3

1997

 

 

 

 

Total MF

114.4

92.3

1.0

1.0

Male

116.2

92.5

 

Female

112.6

92.0

1998

 

 

 

 

Total MF

116.0

96.8

1.0

1.0

Male

117.8

97.6

Female

114.0

95.9

There is no gender disparity. The NIR confirms that nearly all the children who should enter at grade 1 are entering school. See Annex 1 .

The number of students not entering grade 1 is declining each year and hence attendance is becoming universal. Maldives has no compulsory education policy and, given the high demand for education, the lack of such a policy does not appear to have any significant effect. In rare cases, families may keep children out of school or remove them before they complete grade 7. These matters are handled at the island level by the island chief and the senior teacher or principal case bye case.

2.5.5 Gross and Net enrolment ratios in primary education – 5-year cycle

The enrolment ratios are estimated for the recent years 1996, 1997 and 1998 and are presented in table 9.

Table 9: Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios in primary education – 5 year cycle

 

Enrolment Ratio

Gender Parity Index

Year

GER

NER

GER

NER

1996

 

 

 

 

Total MF

125.5

1.0

Male

126.7

 

Female

124.2

1997

 

 

 

 

Total MF

123.9

90.1

1.0

1.0

Male

125.4

90.2

 

Female

122.3

90.0

1998

 

 

 

 

Total MF

123.4

92.7

1.0

1.0

Male

125.3

93.2

 

Female

121.5

92.1

These figure suggest that nearly all-eligible age group children are enrolled in primary education. The figures also suggest hat still large scale over and under aged children are enrolled in primary schools, and as a result, the GER is higher than 100%. The following table (Table 10) makes this clear.

Table 10: Distribution of primary students by age – 1998

 

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Age

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

Under

Age

106

100

159

179

340

331

409

351

369

334

Official Age

3468

3762

3277

3431

3056

2989

2576

2623

2409

2432

Over age

549

681

759

923

1235

1551

1723

2181

2997

3592

Source: Ministry of Education data

It is evident that the major contribution to the high GER are the under and over-age pupils. In all grades this is true. For example, in Grade 1 more than 50% of the female children belong to this category. It is further higher in case of male children. Even in Grade 1, 15% of female children are either under or over-aged in all cases. Over aged children are larger in number than under aged children.

2.5.6 Public current Expenditure on primary education

The system of accounting does not permit the disaggregation of the total public expenditure on education into primary and secondary. With some assumptions, stated earlier, an estimate may be made.

Public current expenditure on primary education (a) as a percentage of GDP; and (b) per pupil as a percentage of the GDP per capital

As a percentage of the total expenditure on education, the share of primary education has increased from 23% in 1990 to 38.9% in 1998. But it has fallen from 43% in 1996 to 39% in 1998 though the proportion is still around 40%.

Figure 11: Expenditure on primary education per student

Figure 12: Expenditure on primary education as a percentage of GNP

As a % of GNP, the share of primary education has considerably increased from 1.4% to 2.4% in 1998. Further, it should be noted that the enrolment in primary education has decreased over the past few years.

2.5.7. Teachers in the primary Schools

There are presently 2135 teachers in primary Schools in the Republic. However only 63% of the teachers are trained. Further, the teacher characteristics given in the Tables 16 and 17 reveal that there are very few graduates among teachers. Most of them are under-graduates. Nearly 30% of the teachers are also temporary teachers. A small percent, 5-6 % of the teachers are also expatriates. While all teachers are paid same salaries, expatriates are paid in addition housing and other living allowances.

Figure 13: Teachers in primary education by qualification

Table 11: Teachers in Primary Education by qualification, 1999

 

 

 

 

 

Trained

 

 

 

 

Permanent

 

Local

Expatriate

Total

 

Graduate

2

31

33

 

Non- Graduate

1244

68

1312

 

Total

1246

99

1345

Untrained

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate

2

2

4

 

Non-Graduate

139

2

141

 

Total

141

4

145

Temporary

 

629

16

645

Total

 

2016

119

2135

Table 12: Percentage of Teachers in Primary Education certified to teach

Year

% with minimum prescribed academic qualification

% Certified to teach

Gender Parity Index

Academic qualification

Certification to teach

1997

 

 

 

 

Total MF

63.5

63.0

0.9

1.0

Male

65.8

65.0

 

Female

62.3

62.0

1998

 

 

 

 

Total MF

66.4

66.1

0.9

1.0

Male

69.1

68.2

 

Female

65.0

65.0

Even as of 1998 around a third of the primary teachers do not have the required academic qualification to teach. Most of these teachers are in atolls and the following table (Table 13) gives the absolute numbers of teachers in the different categories separately for Male’ and the atolls for 1998. The situation in the atolls has arisen due to the interaction of a variety of conditions. Owing to the relatively low educational level of the population as a whole there were not enough qualified people to be recruited for training. This has to await the expansion of secondary education in the atolls. Hence many unqualified and untrained teachers were recruited as it was essential to staff the schools. The unqualified and untrained are generally appointed as temporary teachers so that it is administratively easier to replace them with qualified and trained teachers as they come out of the teacher education system. Hence it is evident that the appointment of untrained and unqualified teachers was a temporary measure. They will be replaced but this will take time since it takes time to raise the general educational level of the population. This is indicated by the increasing proportion of trained teachers in the system as is indicated in the table above.

While the best Male’ schools offer instruction by trained Maldivian teachers and even some classes by graduate expatriate teachers, some island community schools exist that have never had a trained teacher or anyone qualified to teach in other than Dhivehi. The following table (Table 13) gives the distribution of trained and untrained teachers between Male and the atolls teaching in grades 1 to 5.

Table 13: Distribution of teachers teaching in grades 1-5, between Male and the atolls by training – 1998

 

Trained

Untrained

Temporary

Total

Total

1316

126

550

1992

Male

339

36

20

395

Atolls

977

90

530

1599

Source: Educational Statistics – 1998.Ministry of Education, Republic of Maldives. Adapted from Table on p.43

The combined totals of the "untrained" and "temporary" categories are 620 for the atolls and 56 for Male. As a percentage of the total number of teachers the figures are 78% for the atolls and 14 % for Male. Improving the quality of the atoll teachers is a distinct priority. (see Annex 16 for information on the teacher training facility in the country)

The increasing demand for secondary education, a direct consequence for the success of the universalisation of primary education, will have dramatic implications for teaching requirements and instructional aids, facility utilization, text book needs, and the social demand for upper secondary education as well as for employment commensurate with the grade 10 and grade 12 school leavers’ expectations.

Taking all teachers trained, untrained, permanent and temporary in primary Schools together, the pupil – teacher ratio could be estimated, which is about 25 pupils per teacher an average. This is indeed a satisfactory situation, particularly in comparison with other developing countries.

Table 14: Pupil – Teacher ratios in Primary Education

Year

Pupil – Teacher ratio

1997

24.8

1998

24.5

Interestingly, there is not much variation in the pupil – teacher ratio in several atolls, including Male’. The ratio range between 15.7 in Vaavu and 25.3 in Haa Dhaalu in 1999.

Figure 14: Pupil Teacher Ratio

However variation do exist between Schools. For example, a Supervision report reported that Schools in Alifushi, Maduvaree and Inguraidhoo have a very high pupil-teacher ratio, 38:1, 38:1 and 41:1 respectively whereas A.E.C in Meedhoo has a considerably low pupil-teacher ratio of 19:1. A number of teachers work in both sessions in those schools with high pupil-teacher ratio.



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