The national Quran recital competition commenced on Saturday with more than 1,200 participants.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Islamic Centre, Vice President Faisal Naseem remarked that 'Hafizes' and 'Qaris', memorisers and reciters of the holy Islamic book respectively, are still brought in from other countries during the month of Ramadan despite the love Maldivians have for the Quran.
He declared that there are many gold medal winners of Quran recital competitions at international standards present in Maldives' community.
As a result, VP Naseem affirmed that the need to bring in foreign Hafizes and Qaris can be negated and resolved by working in accordance with a thorough plan to cultivate locals to fulfil the roles. He then called on schools to fulfil their roles in the effort.
"Just reciting the Quran is not enough. Behaviour and actions must comply with the teachings of Quran", he said, calling on schools to encourage students to deeply study and ponder on scripture.
Naseem further identified the Quran as the solution to prepare for one's passing, and advised to not stray from the right path. Further, he urged students to serve the country from their sector of choice.
Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Ahmed Zahir commented that the government was currently working to cultivate a disciplined generation, stating that it would require everyone's active involvement.
He added that the full benefits of education will not be imparted to students if there are disparities between the lessons taught in schools and what is observed at homes, and that there must be correlation.
This year's competition is split into three categories; a general category, a specialised students category, and a category for Hafizes.
The general and students categories are further split into two groupings; the recital by memory, and reading brackets. The students category is grouped into five stages.
Employees of companies and institutions are able to partake in the general branch of the competition.