Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where is the University of Maldives?

There are certain things that must either be done well or not done at all. Most people believe that creating a university comes in that category.

If making a University is as simple as fixing a name board, Maldives College of Higher Education (MCHE) would have become University of Maldives on 1 January 2007, the date announced by President Gayoom a year earlier. In fact MCHE is far better justified to make such an upgrade, compared to many other institutions already promoted in that manner.

MCHE has thousands of students enrolled in its 7 faculties, 2 specialized centers and 3 atoll-based campuses. It conducts more than 100 different academic programmes including 13 degree level courses and 16 Advanced Diploma courses. Many of the courses lead to good employment prospects and are very popular among the country’s youth.

So what is holding back the creation of the University? According to MCHE as well as Dr. Mahmood Shaugy, who is currently charged with coordinating the formation of the university, the most important single step that needs to be taken is the passing of legislation required to make the University autonomous. A draft law was compiled in July 2006. Later in December the same year, a draft Presidential Decree was submitted to the President’s Office.

What are the characteristics of a university?

Fixing a name board is not enough to make an institution a University; it has to have certain characteristics. The following information compiled by MCHE sheds light on some of the characteristics:
“The definition of a university given by CEPES, the European Centre for Higher Education, UNESCO, is more specific: ‘an institution of higher learning, participating in the evolution of knowledge which provides facilities for teaching and research, and authorized to hold examinations and grant academic degrees.’ Although the College has the authority to hold examinations and grant degrees, this authority, clearly, does not make for a university. For many people, the key characteristics of a university may be listed as the following:

  • A large proportion of university academic staff hold doctorate level qualifications. In many universities almost all the teaching staff have doctorate degrees. For example, at the International Islamic University, non-doctorate holders are not allowed to teach in the undergraduate programmes.

  • A variety of degree level programmes is offered. In almost all universities, faculties offer several programmes at undergraduate and graduate level. While an increasing number of universities do offer diploma programmes, certificate and advanced certificate programmes are rarities.

  • University divisions (faculty and centres) are engaged in research. In all universities, research forms a major activity of the institution. Staff time is generally shared between teaching and research. Specialized centres for research are part of many universities. Faculties are often evaluated and promoted depending on their research output. Researchers often publish their articles in university or international journals. Subjects on research methodologies are routinely found in the final year of degree courses. At the same time, there is a growing number of universities which do not concentrate on research activities, devoting their time on teaching. Nevertheless, research is a defining characteristic of all good universities.

  • The university has resources and facilities to deliver undergraduate programmes. Resources would include libraries and laboratory facilities where they are needed. It is not possible to deliver an undergraduate programme without involving the students in activities that are stipulated by the programme.

  • Most universities are managed with some degree of autonomy. The government of universities are characterized by self regulation with committees involved in major policy making. Usually a Council or Board of Governors make key decisions and approves policies. Often the Vice Chancellor or Rector is appointed by the Council. Academic decisions are made by a Senate or Academic Board. In general many universities operate in a climate which is removed from the main political currents of the external environment.

Quality Assurance Agency is the UK government body which evaluates submissions for University title by the British educational institutions. It has a published set of criteria to assist in the evaluation process. This criteria has been recently revised (August 2004) but remains essentially the same as before. When an institution aspires to become a university, QAA evaluates the institution’s performance using the criteria. Of all such criteria, the British QAA criteria appears to be the most comprehensive, rational and well-recognized.

When President Gayyoom announced that the Government intends to transform MCHE into University by 1st January 2007, the College set itself the task of developing a plan for the transformation. A guiding document was the more rigorous earlier QAA criteria which were used to evaluate MCHE. Against QAA guidelines, the Deans committee agreed that MCHE presently meets 78% of the criteria at an acceptable level.

In other words, of the 87 QAA criteria, the College needs to strengthen its performance in only 19 areas. Since the March 2006 evaluation, the College has steadily worked to meet the remaining criteria. MCHE now meets most of the QAA criteria. [For details please refer:]”


Anonymous said...

Very well put Dr Waheed.
Its insightful.

stable thinking process said...

Recently some opposition politicians have been contrasting Singapore and Maldives.Read on

Farooq M. Hassan said...

Not all dictatorships are bad per se. Similarly, not all democracies are good by virtue of being democratic. Good examples of the former are some of the Arab Kingdoms such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar. Others include Peoples Republic of China, and to some extent, Singapore. These countries have progressed and prospered under benevolent dictatorships. The people of these countries enjoy relatively high levels of prosperity, health care and protection. Crime rates are low and justice prevails.
While democratic governance embeds all the qualities and characteristics of good governance, it has not been so successful in several countries. Examples of such countries are Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh – just to name a few. Hence, one can argue that, it is not the form of government that is important, but the leader at the helm.
Yesterday, for example, a Chinese newspaper (China Daily) carried an article under the title “Saudi University Supercomputer lures researchers worldwide”. According to this article, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which will open next year near Jeddah in Saudi Arabia will house one of the world’s largest supercomputers, aimed at luring top researchers from across the world to the Kingdom. The supercomputer named “Shaheen” , is expected to reach 222 teraflops – a measure equivalent to a trillion floating point operations per second. Shaheen will be the sixth most powerful computer in the world.
The new university will offer research in biosciences and bio-engineering, material sciences and engineering, applied mathematics and computational sciences. What makes the university particularly more attractive to researchers is the pledge made by King Abdullah of unlimited funding for research and development. The KAUST ‘s partnership universities include Cornell University, the University of Oxford, Stanford University and Texas A&M University. Now does this ring a bell in your ears! Don’t you agree that a benevolent dictator may be better than a self proclaimed “democratic” ruler, who neither understands or respects democratic principles and institiutions,respectivey?

For students and teachers wh aspire for higher learning I have this to say. What has Maumoon really given us in 30 years!

Please remember that Maumoon is the one who created a ministry for science and technology and who dissolved it in less than 8 years -while still in its infant stage!

That is how much maumoon loves science and technology - considered as the key to sustainable development in the evolving knowledge economy.

Anonymous said...

An autonomously functioning university is smomething that will be alergic to this government. The whole system is based on special 'favours' to its cronies. So how can they tolerate a university does not admit and pass students they 'recommend' to pass?

Anonymous said...

A university in Maldives will be Gayooms worst nightmare. Through suppressing Education in he has been able to stay in power for the last 30 years.

It was his Eudcation Minister Zahir Hussain who said Education up to Grade 7(junior Certificate Level) is more than sufficient for the Maldivian students. After his retirement from the ministerial post the same person was the head of MCHE.

This is the mentality and policy of dictator Gayoom.

Anonymous said...

Shocking. A simple law couldn't be passed in more than two years to create univeristy. These guys will need another 30 years, not 5, to reach new heights.

This is the priority they give to the youth. No wonder all young boys are on the streets intoxicated.

Anonymous said...

yea its really sad, all our young boys are on the streets. All Gayoom did was bring a culture of drugs in to the country and now his culture of gang violence and street killings. May God save our nation from this man.

While in the rest of the world parents are making plans on their children education, our boys and girls are hopeless.

Anonymous said...

I would like to make a comment on what Farooq m. hassan commented on "what has maumoon really given us in 30 years"? He himself is one of many intellectual products of maumoon who was sent to saudi arabia during early 80`s.hadn`t he been sent to higher studies by maumoon`s reign he wouldn`t have been here to make ungrateful comments like that.

Stranger said...

my comment was for ANONYMOUS {October 23, 2008 7:23 PM}
who commented on what mr.farooq wrote...

Anonymous said...

Stranger said...

To ANONYMOUS {October 23, 2008 7:23 PM} who commented on what mr. farooq wrote...

what are the odds?
1 out of 100 dictators could be good....1 out of 100 democracies could prove bad....1 good deed by our dictator maumoon against 30 years of mysery and suffering in chains .....and you think we should vote for a dictatorship? WTF...hehehehe either you one crazy f***k or you must be thinking we maldivians do not have the faculty to think...please stop insulting our intelligence.

Farooq M. Hassan said...

To anonymous 7:23PM

Ungrateful? Grateful for what? My first degree was paid for by the Government of Saudi Arabia. My postgraduate studies were paid for by the Government of Belgium. These were not opportunities I got through the benevolence of Mr. Maumoon. These were opportunities I got through bilateral aid, for which I am grateful to my country.

On return, Like many of my collegues, I was never allowed to practice whatI studied and specialised. I was transfered form office to office for not being a 'yes man'. After the formation of political parties, I was denied promotions for refusing to join DRP. I was denied any work for one and a half years until I threatened to take the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Water to court as soon as the Civil Service Bill comes into force.

As mentioned earlier, I am indeed grateful for my country for giving the opportunity to study.I consider it as a duty and an honour to serve my country.

How can I be grateful to a person who does not honour or respect the laws of the country,or the very institutions that have been created as means of 'checks and balances'in the governing structure?

Finally, as Muslims, we do not have to be grateful for any ruler for performing his duty. However, as responsible citizens, it is incumbent upon us to make our voices heard, when and if the ruler fails to hear or fails in the discharge of his duties, or acts against the interest of the people he rules.

Anonymous said...

The Saudi universities supercomputer example is not relevant here, and they cannot be classed as a GOOD Dictatorship. The point is dictators will do in there power to suppress a nation.

The Saudis has been at the helm of power for almost quarter of a century. All what they did was to spoil the youths in their country, lazy youths who had every thing in luxury but lack aim and purpose, the end product was rampant religious extremism.

So the new idea brewed was, why not invest in Education to croup with the aimless people i the country. Oil is running dry, considering the rich resources the Saudis have no idea what to do with their hands.

After a quarter of a century in power, investing in Education and Industrial know how, now, is bad nation building, bad planning and a lot of wasted resources.

maas said...

I wonder how many of U actually know, why Maumoon is not willing to form the University?

It seems that he want the University to be his puppet as his previous councils and commissions.
This is evident when he appointed Dr. Shaugy in the manner...

He wants the University to be a gov. institute (co/Ab. Rasheed Hussein: Previous Higher education) and he would appoint 8 members to the council and from the college 6 members. More on to that Chancellor and vice chancellor to be appointed by president....

However MCHE council has fired back his amendments, college to be an autonomous institute...

So he ....

Anonymous said...

To ANONYMOUS[Oct 24,2008 2:35AM]
if all the maldivians were kept under suffering and misery for thirty years, that mean majority of Maldivians gone insane. and if you accept this as a fact, then it could be an insult to all maldivians.but if you are insanely jealous of maumoon,white would appear as black for which i feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

For the past 30 years many Maldivians have been waiting for a sound educational culture to prevail in the Maldives thorough respectable educational institutions. These dreams of many people have been systematically ignored by the current regime for basic reasons. The regime only wants the associates of their children to be educated and they don’t want to spread education to the masses for the soul purpose of creating an elite group who will be ruling the country to satisfy their interests. Children of Abdulla Hameed are now leading the most institutions of the country because through favoritism and corruption of the regime they were able to get the gist of modern education while the opportunities of many ordinary people were shutoff by the effects of Gayoom familys greed.
The elite group has necessary means to send their children to abroad for further studies while the children of ordinary end up in total frustration due to lack of funding for their studies. Some end up in Jail because there is no university for them. Gayoom wants to maintain this policy of discrimination for his family political gains. The ultimate goal of Gayoom is to turn the Maldives into a monarchy.
It will be highly unlikely that we see proper educational institutions flourishing in the Maldives as long as the regime of dictator Maumoon is clinging to the power.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous (October 24, 2008, 5:37AM):

Just wonder how much you know the Suadi society? Or, is it overpouring of hatred and jealousy?

Mind you, for a frog in a well, the world is finite!