In a recent announcement, Education Minister Dr. Ismail Shafeeu expressed his stance on discontinuing the national top 10 selection based on the results of O'level and A'level exams. Dr. Shafeeu highlighted that the initiation of the top 10 selection process during the tenure of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom aimed to emphasize the significance of education when there was a shortage of schools in islands, and girls were not attending schools at the time.
The landscape of education has since evolved, with schools now established on every island in the country, and Cambridge examinations being conducted regardless of the population, noted the Minister. Despite the initial purpose of fostering awareness about education, Dr. Shafeeu asserted that it is essential to reassess the relevance of the top 10 selection process in the present context.
He questioned the appropriateness of awarding the best students in O Level and A Level at elaborate ceremonies, expressing his personal disbelief in such practices as both a parent and a former teacher. Dr. Shafeeu emphasized the need to evaluate the consensus within the education sector, citing his experience in providing university teachers' training and collaborating with other professionals in the field.
As a parent, Dr. Shafeeu acknowledged the immense pressure students face due to the top 10 ranking system, leading to adverse effects on their mental well-being and fostering unhealthy rivalries between students and also schools. He pointed out that such rivalries could disadvantage students in need of extra care and attention, resulting in their disqualification from exams.
Calling for a revamp of the education system, Dr. Shafeeu proposed that efforts be made to shift the perception of the top 10's importance among students and parents. He acknowledged that change is often met with resistance, particularly when challenging established traditions. Despite previous attempts by other governments to abolish the top 10 selection, Dr. Shafeeu acknowledged the significant resistance from parents.
The Education Minister urged for a collaborative effort with policy-level professionals to bring about positive changes in the education system, emphasizing the importance of curbing traditions that may no longer align with the best interests of students and their well-being.