22 November 2011

Catchment area: Catching the Addu City

Two years back, I told you that there is a grave mistake in our education system which needs to be fixed. Now that story is gone.

A new era, a new situation and a new case is now on the table. Now the big talk is the catchment area talk.

This is a new policy implemented by the education ministry in Addu City under which, the students were entitled to enter the secondary schools of the geographical area they belong to. Under this system, Hithadhoo students will be divided between Hithadhoo School and Muhibbuddin School. In the other wards of city, the students should join the schools in that particular area. Sounds very fair. Yet problem arises when many students or more specifically their parents wants the kids to join Muhibbuddin School. So the catchment area has become a big issue. Here are some arguments on both sides.

Some arguments for Catchment area policy:

-The government of Maldives wants the education system to be in a way that from grade 1 to 10, the students should be able to study in a single school.
-Government has already established secondary schools in Addu enough that they could accommodate students under this policy.
- Given the present situation, the secondary schools in Addu can not be established if students are given option of the schools they wish to go.
-No school or no student could be given a special priority, and thus the entrance criteria to all schools should be same.

Some arguments against Catchment area policy:

- I will know where my kid should study!! Ministry simply can not decide the future of my kid!!
- New Schools are new to secondary education: my kids can not be sent there for "test driving". In other words parents do not have faith in the new policy or new secondary schools.
- Muhibbuddin has established resources. The already existing secondary schools in Addu city still lacks many resources.
- No other secondary school in Addu so far proved a success. There are many schools in Addu city where they have been teaching for secondary level, yet so far not much a success was seen.

Now the questions is, is the catchment area right or wrong? Well. excuse me. I am not the right person to say it. I was a teacher in Muhibbuddin School and also a teacher in Hithadhoo School (a newly established secondary school).  So I'd rather not enter into that argument and just present what I see here and what I wish to see.

Facts that I could see around:

-Muhibbuddin has almost 2 decades of preparing students for O Level. It sure will be an under estimate to say the newly established schools could be better or even equal to Muhibbuddin School.
-New secondary school policy under which student study from grade 1 to 10 is good and has to be established at any cost. (I am not saying at the cost of the student's future)
 -The teachers in the new secondary schools are qualified and perfect for the job just like in  Muhibbuddin School.
-If the new secondary schools are left to stand on their own, and students are given the chance to join any school, the already established secondary schools too will be abolished.
-The resources in new secondary schools are not as week as some think. There is pretty good resource for a secondary set up, though there is a lot more that could be done.

My belief.
I am not saying miracles do happen in this 21st century. Yet, I believe, we need to do what has to be done for the betterment of all the students.

The first thing we need to do is to stop the unhealthy competition in Addu schools and move on in a way that we'd compete as a city, and not as individual schools. This will  be good for both schools and students. The worse case that the secondary education in Maldives has faced is the famous Top 10. I am not saying it is bad to mark the success of the students, yet, it is leading to the sacrifice of too many. Throughout the nation, the schools are not allowing the low performing students to sit the CIE in the name of school, but rather asking them to join as private candidates, so that they get more points for "best schools award". With the introduction on technical science in schools, this has become ever easy. Don't expect even  Muhibbuddin School to be a darling when it comes to it!!!

Second thing we need to do is to implement the catchment area. Yet that is not enough. We must come up with a mechanism under which, all  the secondary schools in Addu city can learn from the lesson of Muhibbuddin over the past 2 decades. Let me tell exactly what I feel. We all are preparing the students for CIE. We all want our students to get good results. We all wish our performance to improve day by day. If then, let us break the invisible, yet strong walls between schools. We need to accept the fact of Muhibbuddin's success rather than trying to bring a school in Addu down to knees. What I really wish to see is a day when the same scheme of work is used in all secondary schools of Addu city,and at least once a month, all the subject teachers in Addu city get together and do a mass coordination for the whole month.

At last, the left outs. A lot of students are going out of our education system as failures. If you could believe me, with this present unhealthy competition in Addu city schools, the  number is going to be increasing steadily. The technical science is a good concept. Yet, no school in Addu city, is equipped with any sufficient resource to cater the low ability students. As a last thing, let me ask you. Just like you think of top ten, will you not give a thought to the kids of this city who are sacrificed in the process yet ignored by all. Will you only bother the catchment area?


  1. Rafiu, thank you for highlighting this issue.
    We all want to make Addu "the finest" in all areas, be education or otherwise.

    We want our kids to the be “finest kids” in the Maldives.

    No one seem to disagree with City Council or Education Unit on Catchment Area. Its been universally accepted.

    The issues are:
    1. Some people can change their ID cards to Muhibbuddin School’s catchment area, where some others can’t.

    2. The catchment area policy that is implemented in Addu differs from the actual MoE catchment area policy.

    3. People who settle in Hithadhoo ward are deprived of sending their kids to the schools.

    The question the “rayyithumeehaa” ask is:

    “ Magey dharifulha kiyavaa dhinumattakai Hithadhoo ga thaneh kuyya hifaigen hureema hithadhooge school akah magey dharifulhu nuvadhevenvee keeve baa?”

    Misuvaalu noos veriyegge haisiyyathun, Mr Mayor ah Adhi MoE ah dhannavaalaafa ebeyfulhunge jawaabu mi blog medhuverikoh Addu ge rayyithunnaai hama genesladhevvun edhen.

  2. the bitter truth is that the funding of the newly established secondary schools are not sufficient to attract parents and students who are academically gifted. and if parents want a quality education in Addu then the best bet is still Muhibbuddin School or it is back to the old days where we migrate to male' and sacrifice everything to educate our children. Can you explain what has happened to Islamiyya school. irushadiyya school and feydhoo school are long established secondary schools, what does the ministry have to say. Its not the brilliance of the student that makes education effective, it is the resources, the leadership and the commitment from the schools that can make a difference. Has the ministry or the education unit been able to prove the parents that the schools have anything more than the geographical accessibility of the secondary schools...

  3. Its not just the Top Ten's which is the issue, even the so called 5 passes is another issue for quality education. Why should the schools bother about more than 5 passes... or why shud they bother about U's.

    We talk of quality but we are doing nothing to improve quality of education.

    We need to overhaul the education system.

    Qulaity Education comes with "quality funding" which is hard to come by.

  4. technical science was introduce not to increase the school perfromance.its purpose is to give such kids wats best for them. they do the core subjects just like other students and they gona sit for o'level examination in those core subjects.

  5. ever child has the right to study any school they want, y u didnt higlight this point.

  6. "Technical Science" is another 1st from Muhibbuddin team. Though this is helping atleast some students to do better in life, MoE officials in Addu cannot digest this. Instead of supporting to develop the idea further, they are trying to dissolve it, giving a ridiculous argument that its not offered in other schools in the country.

    Well, Madam Fathimath Naseer and Mr Mayor, please answer these questions yourself.

    1. Can ALL students achieve equally?
    2. Students who cannot get mere 40 in 3 subjects, can they study Chemistry or Economics?
    3. Is there any help provided to Muhibbuddin to develop Technical Science?

  7. Technical stream??? is there any as such? could you justify how technical this technical stream is??

  8. introduction of the so called "technical stream" and the discrimination policy is not acceptable in this modern era (to who ever trying to justify it)the so called technical stream has nothing of technical and has put the students in a stat of uncertainty and frustration. Mr shathir that he is the only thing technical in muhibudheen school.

  9. @Anonymous Sat Nov 26, 12:02:00 PM MVT:

    ''technical stream'' is just another name for ''vocational education'' Are you saying vocational education is not acceptable in this modern era? tsk tsk!!
    Check this link http://www.cie.org.uk/qualifications/vocational

    ''Cambridge's vocational qualifications assess the practical application of career-based knowledge across a range of business areas, providing candidates with a valued qualification that demonstrates their ability to both educators and employers.'' In their website they have the following two subjects on offer.
    1. Cambridge International Diploma in Business.
    2. Computer Literacy And Information Technology.

    The subjects offered at Muhibbuddin School technical stream are localised and they are;
    1.Front office
    2.Practical Electricity
    3.Information and Communication Technology.

    Certificate III achieved in any of these subjects is equivalent to an O level which is also categorized as certificate III in The Maldives Qualifications Framework and gets 40 credit points.

    Justify now whether the low achievers have a better future with a certificate in any of these subjects or with 'U's in their O levels.

    My question is if we are so hell bent on providing equal opportunities for all why do we have streams in the first place? Why don't we offer all students the same subjects?

    If ''technical stream'' discriminates then having streams like ''social science stream'', ''science stream'' and ''business stream'' do discriminates.

    As for students being put on a state of uncertainty and frustration why don't you interview the five students who graduated this year after studying in technical stream for just one year.

    I personally believe Technical or Vocational education is a wonderful concept for low achievers with Islam, Dhivehi, Maths and English taught at their level.

  10. top 10 is one way a gud thing. students and parents alike work hard to get into one of those positions. in schools the teachers too want students to achieve such positions. this helps the cream to perform better.

  11. meanings of 'technical' given in CAD is
    1.relating to the knowledge, machines or methods used in science and industry.
    2.relating to the knowledge and methods of a particular subject or job.
    3.relating to practical skills and methods that are used in a particular activity.

    meaning of 'vocational' given in CAD is providing skills and education that prepare you for a job.

    In other words technical stream is just another name for vocational education.

    Stream subjects offered at MS in the 'technical stream' are;
    1. Front office
    2. Practical Electricity
    3. Information and Communication Technology.

    Students who complete these courses get a certificate III equivalent to O level certificate which is also categorized as a certificate III in The Maldives National Qualifications Framework.

    I will leave for the readers to justify which will be better for low achievers in their terminal examination. A certificate in one of those 'technical' subjects or a 'U' in O level?

  12. CAD ought to be CALD, Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  13. Is it practical Electricity or Principles of Electricity?

  14. In Muhibbuddin school the so called 'technical' stream students are given high priority as are the gifted students. these students are provided with the best teachers who not only are good in their subjects, but show the students care and support they were neglected since they started their career as a student. these students are already labelled as failures or delinquents and muhibbuddin tries to show them there is another option in life, that the proper skills and aptitude will provide them with a much brighter future.
    The technical subjects are acknowledged by MOE and they award these subjects awards in the awarding ceremony...so the options are limitless for these sidelined students and muhibbuddin is doing a great job at letting these kids have a high self esteem and confidence with great skills required for them to achieve well in life...

  15. އެމީހުންގެ އިނާމު ދިނުމުގެ ޖަލްސާ ޓީވީއިން ވެސް ދެއްކި ސަރުކާރު ސްކޫލްތަކުން އެންމެ މޮޅު ސްކޫލް ގެ ވަނަ ލިބިގެން" ibrahim shathiru 2010. ebeyfulhaa gaathu ahaabala kaakuthoa ënmemolhu school"ge namuga vanahovee. amilaya gadhi ganegen, evanayaveethee TV in dhekeeye ves migolhaa boa abakiyaye. dharivaruna faidhaa kuraanehen konmeves kamaka haradhukuran veenu. ekudhina kiyavai dhenee front office eko, dhen electricity yo, dhen ICT o!! hehe teacherun ulhunee ekudhina mimaadhaa thakuga kiya vadhenvee echeves neygigen? kekeke ahulaageefenvaru dhakamun muhibudheen heevanee zoo hen!!! obinovey!!! shaathiru gaathubunebala lalaaa!!

  16. 2008 gai raajeyge ekirarashu ga hingaa vocational certficat cause thake mee ICT, front office, comp hardware... micostha 2010 aharufeitee addu muhibudheen adhi feydhoo school ga, kaakutha bunee mee shaathiru hedhi technical streamekey. hehehehe??? thi technical vefa huree thinamuga hurihaa addu secondary schooluthaves 2010 ga.2009 aharuves thihenkiyaigen ulhey bayaku ulhey raajethereyge iskooluthakuga....

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