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The Educational System in Maldives

Discuss about the Educational System In Maldives Vs. Finland.

Educational system is a financial organization whose capital purpose is to equip education to children. Every country has its own educational system that is followed all over. According to the educational system in Maldives, the children of ages three or above used to receive education in traditional schools called edhurge. Here children were made to sit in a single room or under the shade of a tree in order to provide education (Rasheed, 2015). Children just earn some simple arithmetic and recite the Quran. According to Rasheed, (2014) this schooling system did not exist for long. They were replaced by the western style of education in 1980s – 1990s. Initially the education was provided to the boys only but later on the government felt it important to build schools for girls as well. With the help of UNESCO, Maldives government implemented the Educational Development Project since 6th October 1976 (Hudgins et al., 2017). This program includes Curriculum development, Teacher training, Community Education Programme, Printing and Textbook development.

Finland is a progressive country in case of its educational system. It not only innovates its system but the innovation also yields results. According to Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Finland is among the highest performing countries. PISA is an important organization which measures the education systems worldwide (Sahlberg, 2017). Educational system in Finland is followed by providing subsidiary meals to the full time students. Nowadays the educational system of Finland includes daycare projects meant for babies, then kindergarten. After kindergarten, they are given a secondary education followed by higher education and adult education. According to Doeser, (2017) Finland also follows the Finnish strategy for providing education to the students. This strategy has been introduced in order to achieve excellence and equality in the educational system. Finland is believed to have the best education system in the world. This report discusses the educational systems of both the countries in details in the discussion part. It further compares and contrasts their educational systems. Some recommendations are also been given to improve their systems.

Maldives’ educational philosophies are based on their goals of national development, these goals are as follows:

  • They aim to develop people possessing occupational skills, attitudes and knowledge for the development of their nation (Shareef, 2016). They also aim to protect environmental resources.
  • They develop students within the education system based on Principles followed by Islam (Ibrahim, 2017). They remind the students that along with being a part of the country they are also a part of Muslim Ummah.
  • They ensure comprehensive primary education as well as equal opportunity of education for every citizen. This is done to promote equity and justice.
  • According to Tang, (2015) they provide educational opportunities to all the citizens for lifelong.
  • In order to improve their quality of life they conduce a spirit of self-direction and self-reliance.
  • In order to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage and strengthen their national consciousness, they promote the cultural values, national language and tradition (Bent, 2015).
  • Along with the education they also look after citizens’ physical as well as motional development, moral and social development.
  • The three main topics have added up to the system of education in Maldives in these days, they are Islamic instructions that are provided through tutors, Informal training which is received by the students from their families and then direct learning that happens face to face and modern western schooling (Joshi & Yadav, 2016).
  • The traditional education system comprised of schools of three types, they are edhuruge, madhrasa and makhtab (Yamada, Fujikawa & Pangeni, 2015). These schools were private and self-financing. Communities present in that island run them.
  • Though the overall attainment through the traditional method was quite less but it managed to achieve many educational objectives.
  • The traditional systems has helped in removing a certain amount of illiteracy from the country as well as preserve the tradition and national culture.
  • According to Minowa, (2015) Kiyavaage was a group of children in a home. This group was taught to read and learn Quran as well as read and write Dhivehi, which is a local language.
  • A huge change took place in the traditional form of learning in 1932, this was when the first Constitution was introduced for the country. The involvement of government resulted in formation of a group in December 1932 to look after the education system (Di Biase, 2018).
  • In 1940s and 1950s outstanding developments in the education system was noticed (Thirlwall & Pacheco-López, 2017). This was for the first time that education was regarded as a medium of national development.
  • People were encouraged and motivated by the government to provide education to their children. Many islands had built schools with the help of their own resources.
  • English medium schools were introduced in 1960, it marked beginning of the pattern of public school system. In most of the parts of the country, introduction of this new education system has been beneficial but in some parts it did not achieve success. This was due to the government’s withdrawal of support from those areas (Meierkord, 2018).
  • The policy changes in late 1970s have led to outstanding growth in educational opportunities. The recent historical development in the system took place in 1978 when a decision was taken to apply a unified educational system and to provide an equal facilities for all. The policy majorly focused on Primary as well as Middle schools. According to World Health Organization. (2015) they focused in improving training given to teachers and establish new schools.
  • Their main objective was to provide basic education to maximum citizen within the year 2000.
  • They assured improvement in the quality of growth along with quantitative growth. They also took care of the relevance of education with the local environment.
  • They tried to increase the number of trained people for national development.
  • They realized that it is important to strengthen the management and organization of the system.

Finland follows a wonderful design for establishing the best education system which consists a philosophy of better development and lifelong learning. This gears towards not only self development but also the development of nation. The main philosophical points included in Finland’s educational system are as follows:

  • The education is free for everyone. They also provide fully subsided meals for all the students. This encourages the people to send their children to school, specially the people with financial problems (Niemi, Toom & Kallioniemi, 2016). Families with less or no income annually find it impossible to send their children to schools due to the fees. Free education and meals for children encourages their parents to continue their school.
  • As per Aro and Lyytinen, (2016) parents with new born babies are provided with books to read out to children. This inhibits the habit of reading in the parents and the children stay in touch with studies since a very young age.
  • It is compulsary for all the children to learn two foreign languages along with Finnish (Bärlund & Kauppinen, 2017). This learning of languages helps them to adapt in foreign countries.
  • Children are taught to live in harmony with everyone and respect every culture, faiths and traditions from a very young age.
  • They not only provide the best education to the children but also keep their educational system updated. Introduction of new methods of learning are never missed out.
  • Most of the parts of the world is facing a major issue of unemployment, this is due to the field of expertise of the students. Most of the students do not get employed in the field they are expert. This leads to job dissatisfaction. Finland has undertaken a radical reform which improves gradually. They follow the method of traditional teaching. They teach subjects like Maths, History, English and some more in a discreet manner and focus on topic areas. Topics which would actually help them in professional life as well.
  • They include topics such as business planning along with a combination of some languages, communication skills, writing skills and Maths (Laine & Hämäläinen, 2015). They may also learn about European Union, this will be a combination of economics, languages, history and geography.
  • The inclusion of these subjects help the students to link between the subjects they learn and ways in which can be applied in real life.
  • Students are made to work in groups from an early age, this helps them to improve communication skills, help in solving problems themselves by discussing with each other, thinking new ideas and gain knowledge and to embed a psyche of collaboration (Kurhila and Vihavainen, 2015).
  • Students under this educational framework will also improve their planning and assessment of the phenomena-based topics (Williams, Brien and LeBlanc, 2017).
  • There is a lot to learn from the Finnish education system. Education systems across Asia includes highly skilled professional but they focus more on exams and scholastic achievements. According to Goldstein, (2014) Finland believes in a principle called fewer classes and more breaks. Students in Finland have very few classes per day. Continuous study leads to the stagnation of body as well as brain. These breaks help in relaxing their brain for better learning.
  • They take less tests and allow the students to learn more. The tests that are taken in most institutions make children worry about it the whole year (Wong, 2017). The purpose of their studying is to score good marks. Students are judged on the basis of their grades. In Finland students do not have to worry about exams.
  • They teach their students fewer topics but in depth. It is very common that in schools students are provided with a huge number of books, each book having vast syllabus (Bergh, Ros & Beijaard, 2015). This system of education does not allow the students to learn the subject well. In Finland students are taught fewer topics but in depth.
  • Finland believes less homework yields in more participation. According to OECD, the Finnish students are given the least number of homework compared to the students of other institutions all over the world (Säävälä, Turjanmaa & Alitolppa-Niitamo, 2017). This has actually showed outstanding results. Finnish students score far better than the students in other schools.
  • They include fewer students in a particular class in order to give proper attention to every student. In order to give proper individual attention to every student they include very less number of students in a class.

The Educational System in Finland

Educational philosophies in Maldives and Finland differ a lot in many fields. They focus in developing potential individuals with the necessary occupational skills, attitude and knowledge for the national development. Their education system is based on principles of Islam. Maldives mostly concentrate in providing the children the religious education. They continuously remind the students that besides being a part of the nation they are also a part of Ummah. They focus on teaching the students to read Quran and write the Islamic language. For them the religious knowledge is the first priority. At every step, the students are reminded of their religion and the policies their religion follow. They do not focus on teaching the students some subjects that would help them in their professional life in future. The idea of education was also introduced from a group who were taught to read Quran. The introduction of western system of education also includes the teaching of Islamic principles as their main aim. Their education system deprived of encompass democracy, nationalism, equity, independence and some more factors after some stages. According to Rasheed, (2015) the curriculum developers of the Maldivian education system have overcome various difficulties faced by them. These problems are some curriculum developers were not trained enough especially on the aspects of applying modern technologies in the education system, they are not allowed enough access to internet. The teachers hardly interacted among themselves; regular feedback was not received from the teachers (Shareefa, 2015).

Educational Philosophies in Finland are far better than the educational system of most of the countries in the world. They believe in the fact that less formal schooling yields more options. The best part of their education system is that Finland allows their children to be children, they teach them through playing rather than making the students to sit still and attend classes in a locked up room. In most of the countries the children are burdened with books since a very young age but in Finland children are taught formally after they are completely prepared for it. Students are allowed to choose between the subjects they want at the age of 16. They allow the students to take more rest and spend less time in school. The school usually ends at around 2:00 pm. They shift the school timings whenever necessary, sometimes school starts early and sometimes late. Specially the students belonging to Finnish education system are provided more freedom and flexible school timings. They have several breaks in between the classes. They provide enough rest to the students as well as teachers which makes them more efficient in learning as well as teaching. They also believe that the less instruction time the more planning time. According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Finnish education system the teachers teach approximately 600 hours annually (Jenset, Klette & Hammerness, 2018). In the US education system teachers teach around 1080 hours annually. Thus leaves the teachers as well as students exhausted. The students do not get enough time for self-studying or for extracurricular activities. This learning system decreases the productivity of the students and teachers. In Finland, a particular class has the same teacher for more than four years. This is done to ensure the quality of teacher. Continuous change of teachers make the students uncomfortable to open up with them. Once a student gets comfortable with a particular teacher they are free to share their problems and clear their queries regarding their academics. Finland believes that the art of teaching cannot be gained by studying. It is a passion and gift.

Comparison and Contrast of Educational Philosophies

Finnish education system aims in providing equal access of good quality education to everyone. People should be allowed same educational opportunities irrespective of their age, ethnic origin, wealth or their lifestyle. Education is free at all the levels. Finnish education system provides a life-log learning policy. Adult education is very popular in Finland. This helps in improving the employment rate, extends working life and improves productivity. The adaptations that can be done in the Maldivian education system from the Finnish system are as follows.

  • According to the Finnish education system the education is made free at all levels. They provide daily meals as well as transport facilities to the students. Adult education is the only level in the education system where payment is required. Maldivian Education system can adapt this characteristic in their education system. The free meals provided may encourage the financially poor families to send their children to school.
  • Finnish education system maximizes the productivity of a child. They provide proper educational guidance to the children. Guidance includes providing support, guide them and help them with the problems faced by them. This helps them to perform the best. Maldivian education system does not maintain proper staff for guidance to the children. Inclusion of this feature of Finnish education system may help them in having a better system.
  • In Finnish education system the students are taught the subjects that would be useful for them in the future. Useless subjects are excluded. Very less amount of subjects are taught but in depth. This can also be followed by the Maldivian educational system.

In order to improve the education system of Maldives based on the learning from Finnish education some recommendations are mentioned below:

  • The structure of the education system should be designed in such a way that people can trust the system. Trust is the main key of the structure as well as the system. Instead of creating lots of structures, hoops and rules and tests in order to make sure the system is working properly, the system should be simply trusted. The parent’s should trust the teachers that they would help the children to learn. The teachers should trust the students that they would learn for the sake of learning.
  • Good teachers should be hired to assure that the children are receiving good quality of education. In most of the institutions of Maldives the teacher do not have cooperation among themselves. This is a major change that should be brought into the education system of Maldives.
  • The schools should focus on teaching the students particular subjects that will be helpful for them in future. Along with focusing on religious studies, academic knowledge should also be provided to the children. In Maldives the children are taught to read an learn Quran, these classes can be given in a different institutions and schools can focus more on teaching the students to deal with real life problems.
  • A single class should have less number of students. This will help the teachers to concentrate on every student equally.
  • Students should be made to participate in various co curricular activities. This helps in building confidence and personality among them. Participation in these activities should be made compulsory.
  • Amount of home works provided to the students at the end of the school should be reduced. Lot of home works keep students involved in their academic field only. They do not have time left to do something different and innovative. The assignments provided to the students should be open-ended. They should not be graded according to their academic performances. This makes a child demotivated if he does not score well.
  • The subjects that are taught to the students should be decreased. Selective number of subjects should be taught to the students. This will not scare the students rather increase their interest in learning. In most of the institutions students are pressurised in order to complete the syllabus but in Finnish way of education, incompletion of syllabus does not affect the students or teacher. They assure that the portion taught to the students is clear to them.
  • Finnish style of educating does not believe in testing students. They believe the less amount of tests taken from the students, the less they are stressed. This helps the students to learn efficiently. This feature can also be introduced by Maldives in their education system. Taking fewer tests from students and concentrating in more learning. Tests are also the cause of demotivation among students. Children should not be judged on the basis of their grades.
  • According to the Finnish education system the students should be provided with less classes and more breaks. Educational institutes in Maldives can follow this concept of keeping less classes compared to the brakes in order to relax the students. Too much classes does not provide any brake to the students as well as teachers. In order to increase the productivity of teachers and students they should be provided with enough brakes. A 10-20 inutes brake should be given after every class.
  • The teachers should not be changed frequently. According to Finnish education system the teachers are supposed to teach the same group of students for several years. This should be followed by the schools in Maldives. A bond is created between the teacher and student which is broken when a teacher is changed frequently. A student does not feel comfortable in sharing doubts if a teacher is new.
  • Less classes are beneficial to students as well as teachers. The teachers should give the freedom to leave if they do not have any classes to take. For example if a teacher does not have any class in the afternoon, the teacher may leave. This gives job satisfaction to the teachers and increases their efficiency.
  • According to Finnish education system, the students should spend less time in school and rest more. The students should not have more school hours, they should be attending school in order to attend classes necessary to them.
  • The students should not be given more instruction on what they should do and what they should not. This gives the students more time to plan for themselves. The more time students spend for academic purposes, the less time they get for themselves.


From the above report it can be concluded that the Finnish education system is the best education system all over the world. Institutions accepting this system of educating children have seen changes in the productivity of teachers as well as students. Students are more relaxed than before. Less classes help them to take rest and relax their mind. They get enough time for extra co curricular activities. This automatically leads to better lifestyle along with good academic results. The education system followed by Maldives is based on the Islamic principles. They focus on teaching the students religious concepts than academic knowledge. The children are taught to read and learn Quran from a very young age. In Finland the students are taught to deal with real life problems. They are taught to work in groups and have better understanding of problems faced in cooperation. The children are not sent to schools unless they are considered to be matured enough for the same. Application of Finnish education system in Maldives can help the students to attain better results along with outstanding performance.


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Bärlund, P., & Kauppinen, M. (2017). Teaching heritage German and Russian through authentic material in Jyväskylä, Finland: A case study. L1 Educational Studies in Languages and Literature, 17.

Bent, S. (2015). Marshall Islands. ArtAsiaPacific Almanac, 10, 152.

Di Biase, R. (2018). Moving beyond the teacher-centred/learner-centred dichotomy: implementing a structured model of active learning in the Maldives. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 1-19.

Doeser, F. (2017). Strategic Culture, Domestic Politics, and Foreign Policy: Finland’s Decision to Refrain from Operation Unified Protector. Foreign Policy Analysis, 13(3), 741-759.

Goldstein, D. (2014). The teacher wars: A history of America's most embattled profession. Anchor.

Adaptations for Improving the Maldivian Education System

Hudgins, J. A., Hudgins, E. J., Ali, K., & Mancini, A. (2017). Citizen science surveys elucidate key foraging and nesting habitat for two endangered marine turtle species within the Republic of Maldives. Herpetology Notes, 10, 473-475.

Ibrahim, M. (2017). Maldives commercial laws reform: Accommodating the tenets of Islam (Doctoral dissertation, University of Malaya).

Jenset, I. S., Klette, K., & Hammerness, K. (2018). Grounding Teacher Education in Practice around the World: An Examination of Teacher Education Coursework in Teacher Education Programs in Finland, Norway, and the United States. Journal of Teacher Education, 69(2), 184.

Joshi, M., & Yadav, R. (2016). The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in South Asia. In Reorienting Educational Efforts for Sustainable Development (pp. 35-52). Springer, Dordrecht.

Kurhila, J., & Vihavainen, A. (2015). A purposeful MOOC to alleviate insufficient CS education in Finnish schools. ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), 15(2), 10.

Laine, K., & Hämäläinen, R. (2015). Collaborative business planning in initial vocational education and training. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 67(4), 497-514.

Meierkord, C. (2018). English in paradise: the Maldives: English is rapidly establishing itself as a second language in a society transforming from fishing to tourism and trade. English Today, 34(1), 2-11.

Minowa Kana Megumi (2015) Art Education in the Primary Curriculum of the Islamic State: An Example of the National Curriculum of the Maldives Republic in 2001. Art Pedagogy: Journal of Art Education Society , 36 , 407-419.

Niemi, H., Toom, A., & Kallioniemi, A. (Eds.). (2016). Miracle of education: The principles and practices of teaching and learning in Finnish schools. Springer.

Rasheed, A. A. (2014). Historical institutionalism in the Maldives: A case of governance failure. Maldives National Journal of Research, 2(1), 7-28.

Rasheed, A. A. (2015). Development, development policy and governance in the Maldives: A political economy perspective.

Rasheed, A. A. (2015). Development, development policy and governance in the Maldives: A political economy perspective.

Säävälä, M., Turjanmaa, E., & Alitolppa-Niitamo, A. (2017). Immigrant home-school information flows in Finnish comprehensive schools. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 13(1), 39-52.

Sahlberg, P. (2017). Lessons from other places. Alternative Approaches to Education: A Guide for Teachers and Parents, 182.

Shareef, M. (2016). ESD in the Small Island State of Maldives. In Reorienting Educational Efforts for Sustainable Development (pp. 137-150). Springer, Dordrecht.

Shareefa, M. (2015). Institutional And Teacher Readiness For Inclusive Education In Schools Of Hithadhoo, Addu, Maldives: A Study Of The Perceptions Of Teachers. MALDIVES NATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH, 45.

Tang, Q. (2015). Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. UN Chronicle, 51(4), 11-12.

Thirlwall, A. P., & Pacheco-López, P. (2017). Economics of development: theory and evidence. Palgrave.

van den Bergh, L., Ros, A., & Beijaard, D. (2015). Teacher learning in the context of a continuing professional development programme: A case study. Teaching and teacher education, 47, 142-150.

Williams, R., Brien, K., & LeBlanc, J. (2017). Transforming schools into learning organizations: Supports and barriers to educational reform. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, (134).

Wong, T. (2017). The future of education. Independence, 42(1), 4.

World Health Organization. (2015). Regional strategy on strengthening health workforce education and training in South-East Asia Region (2014-2019).

Yamada, S., Fujikawa, K., & Pangeni, K. P. (2015). Islanders’ educational choice: Determinants of the students’ performance in the Cambridge International Certificate Exams in the Republic of Maldives. International Journal of Educational management Development, 41, 60-69.

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