Addu Education- Speaking the unspeakable

Addu scholars were famous around the nation. Addu people were educated. They had a lot of knowledge. This was how the Addu people was described often in past when it comes to knowledge and education.
Maybe we can say it is the case even now. At least the only two professors in the country are from Addu. The best school outside Male' is in Addu, former Southern Secondary School or the present Muhibbuddin School. This is the famous model school.

However, today, I am going to write on what we often did not talk, simply because I feel the time to speak out has come. Before I go on with my article let me make two things very clear. First, I was a student of Muhibbuddin School. I did my O Level and A Level in my Muhibbuddin School. I love my school, yet I love my nation as well. Speaking the truth and expressing what I feel, is something I'd always want to do. Second, this article is not to attack anyone by any means, but I feel the system is going on a wrong path, thus I express what I feel.

As I mentioned earlier, the outstanding performance of Muhibbuddin School is very well known around the nation. However, what is untold and hidden is the real cost of this performance.

Unlike any other school in Maldives, there is an entrance exam in Muhibbuddin School for any student to enter the school. This was the practice in school during the past 15years. Only the students who gets above 40 are given chance in school after doing an exam on Maths, English, Science and Social studies. This is believed to be to get a standard set of students to do O Level. If that is the case, it is very well and good.

However, the real story is different. The students who fails in the entrance are sent to another school, Islamiyya School. What does this mean? This simply means a segregation of students. A failed system which many believes is not fit to this civilized world of 21st century. This also leads to a school with failed students, who themselves have no more self confidence as they feel been "banished" as failures.

As someone who studied in Muhibbuddin School and someone who taught in Islamiyya School, I think I have a pretty good idea of both the places. The students of Islamiyya School are been labeled by the whole society as failures. I say this not because I heard someone saying, but because I got the chance to be part of the system.

The performance of Muhibbuddin School is good. Yet a simple question. Why does Muhibbuddin School fails to become the top school in nation every single year when they take the best students. The students some describes as the CREAM. If then is it worth to take this cream and put the educational life of many other students in misery?

Now the question may be why I speak of this today!

This week, the government (as far as my knowledge the southern province with the views of some school heads) decided that this system will be continued. The announcement came after a previous talk on dividing the students who finish grade 7 between two school, which would have ended the previous practice of segregation of students and making a students out of failed students. I am writing this article because I feel, this is the wrong decision in a wrong manner at a wrong time. Five years of segregation has proved itself very wrong. Enough of students have been sacrificed. We should not waste another 3-5 years to do our experiments. Of cause when I say this is wrong, I should give my standing on what is best for us.

What I believe.
1. The entrance examination is not wrong in itself. I totally agree that students of good standards only can survive the O Levels. If then, we should not make a school to produce Us in O Level when we know that failure is certain. The failed students should be given a second chance, and students who pass should be divided equally between two secondary schools.

2. The failed students should not be send out of the education system as done before the Islamiyya School was made as a second secondary school in Hithadhoo. They should be taught some work along with the essential studies like Islam, Dhivehi Mathematics and English. This could be possible. Government can use the already existing building of Addu Comprehensive School, where the building is just standing idle.

Now you may wonder if this article will help bring any change. Frankly it will not. Yet, we should be aware that when we say we have such a famous and outstanding school, we need to realize that it is at a high cost. I believe the fame our Muhibbuddin School gets is at too high a price to our society. Too many students are been sacrificed, for the sake of too few students.

At least one day, when the society realize this grave reality and gives a pressure to stakeholders to stop this failed segregation, I will tell the decision makers....I told you. But you chose to take fame and pride at the cost of the whole society.

[I know some will describe me as letting down my atoll or my own school. But I feel the price our society is paying is too high. ]