The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has voiced concern over the government’s failure to provide textbooks to students and hire the required number of teachers before the start of the academic year 2024. In a statement issued on Sunday, extending its best wishes to students and parents for the new academic year, the party criticised the education ministry for its lack of preparation, pointing out that the ministry shortened school hours under the pretext of bad weather due to its own unpreparedness.

According to the MDP, teachers, parents, and school principals have raised concerns over the ministry’s failure to provide textbooks to all students and the shortage of teachers in some schools. Concerned parents and principals have been warned against expressing discontent with threats of punitive action by the education ministry, the party alleged.

The academic year’s start and end dates, set by the Mohamed Muizzu administration, may result in students missing a significant portion of their studies, the MDP warned. The party called upon the education ministry to ensure that its decisions are in the best interest of the students.

The new academic year commenced with over 96,000 students, including 40,300 female and 42,700 male students, with 83,000 enrolled in government-run schools. The education ministry reported that the academic year began with 12,662 teachers, comprising 10,729 local teachers and 1,933 expatriate teachers. Teaching will be conducted in 162 single-session schools and 55 dual-session schools this academic year, according to the ministry.