The parliament, on Monday, greenlighted the Education Bill which mandates schooling for all Maldivian children between the ages four to 16.
Lodged by the parliamentary representative for Fuvahmulah South constituency MP Mohamed Mumtaz, the bill was approved with a total of 55 votes.
The parliamentary Committee on National Development and Heritage amended and forwarded the bill to the floor on October 13, after the first draft was sent back to the committee for review.
The newly passed bill also includes provisions that enable foreign children residing in Maldives to receive a free education provided that certain guidelines are met.
While the government will begin funding preschool in compliance with provisions that mandate children to enter the education system at age four, the new education bill requires all private education centres currently operating across the country, including preschools, nurseries and tuition centres, to register with the state.
Such institutions will receive a two-year period following the implementation of the new regulation to formally register with authorities.
Furthermore, the bill states that Dhivehi Language and Islamic Studies will be compulsory subjects for all Maldivian students starting from preschool until the end of higher secondary education.
Notably, the newly passed education bill mandates all teachers working in Maldives to register with the government.
In order to facilitate the measure, the Minister of Education will form a Teachers Registration Board within one year of the implementation of the bill.
An individual holding the position of deputy minister or above at the education ministry will be appointed as the registrar of the board. The remaining members on the Teachers Registration Board will consist of an educational management expert, a teaching professional, an educational psychologist and an expert in the compilation of curriculums.
Teachers currently working in Maldives will be given a two-year period to register with the board and acquire a license.
The bill will come into effect at the beginning of the next academic year following its publication in the national gazette. The Ministry of Education has announced that the new academic year will commence on August 10, 2021.