It wasn’t that long ago when I myself was a student going from Iskandharu to Kalaafaanu to Aminiya and then finally CHSE. It was during those times that a lot of teachers from Sri Lanka worked in our schools and I am sure that most of the students owe a huge vote of thanks for those teachers who spent most of the year away from their family and loved ones in a foreign country trying their hardest to prepare a generation of Maldivians who would be able to take our country forward in its journey towards progress. It was a time when trained Maldivian teachers were few and far in between, and those that did graduate from various institutions as teachers were of better quality.
For reasons that remain unknown, which some say have something to do with the huge amounts of money that personnel dealing with the recruitment of foreign teachers can make on the side, teachers from Sri Lanka became a thing of the past and lo and behold their arrived the Indian teachers, most of them whom I have to say scores zilch in the quality of education that they can offer. I don’t mean to demean the work that these teachers carry out in our country, but apart from a very selective few most of these teachers have a much worse grasp of the English language than most of the students. No laughing matter I assure you. I still remember what our class had to go through when our Chemistry teacher left the country when I was doing my A’Levels during our final year. After days of no classes, they brought in an Indian teacher who was really clueless on how to deal with a bunch of students who would walk all over anyone if half the chance is given. And the most depressing factor was that no one could really understand the lessons that she was trying to convey to us, which led to Chemistry periods being a time where anyone could do as they pleased whilst she went on teaching to the white board. Students started complaining and at last the Ministry of Education decided to send her off to some island to teach secondary level students, which appalled me to no end when I realized that the unfortunate students in that school would have a very weak foundation of the subject, which in the end would cause a lot of distress to the students.
And how about the crop of teachers that are educated by our very own Faculty of Education? I mean them no disrespect but I have my share of nephews and nieces who need help in various subjects and I have seen the level to which our education system has fallen. Students do not really require a brain these days, they just pretty much have to learn by heart the series of passages and lessons that are outlined before the start of every semester or term exam. How will young minds ever learn the benefit of thinking, pondering and arriving at their own conclusions about various subject matter if the need never arises for them to put their brains to good use? Even a mathematics exam, which is supposed to make one do the dreaded task of thinking and analyzing is not as it should be. I have a friend who is a Mathematics teacher in one of the primary schools in Male’ and according to her students are so set in their ways that a mathematical equation or question that requires them to think out of the box causes unimaginable horrors even to fellow Mathematics teachers. I remember when I was such a student myself and feeling the joy of coming up with the answer of a ‘difficult’ question, i.e. something that the teacher had not spoon fed related to the subject matter at hand.
Furthermore, these students passing their GCE O’Level exams, barely scraping by are the ones who mostly choose to become teachers because teaching is the only profession that would enable them to earn a relatively good salary whilst working in their home island. How a teacher who herself has problems solving a simple simultaneous equation pass on that knowledge to her fellow students is just beyond me! I cringe at the thought of the quality of the educated professionals who would come to be in positions of power in our country in the near future. If the personnel responsible for hiring foreign teachers weren’t so money hungry in the first place, our students would have been getting the quality of education that they rightfully deserve rather than what we are left with today.