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Title: Evolution and development of tertiary education in the Maldives
Author: Muna , Aminath
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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Education has always been highly valued in the Maldives. Every historical document, from times ancient, testifies to the deference and respect that the learned person has received from the society. Historically, an education comprised of acquiring knowledge on the religion of Islam, which constitutes the foundations of culture and society in the country. For centuries, the purpose of education has been twofold: the proliferation and maintenance of religious knowledge in the country, and the transmission of essential skills for a maritime people. The shape of the existing organized system of education began to emerge only in the latter half of the twentieth century. The appearance of vocation-oriented postsecondary training centres is closely linked to the needs and priorities of programs for national development. The growth and amalgamation of these centres culminated in the establishment of the Maldives National University in 2011, and led to the rise of private tertiary education providers. This dissertation traces the historical progressions that led to the evolution and development of tertiary education in the Maldives within the framework of the small states paradigm. It investigates the economic, social and political forces that guided and steered the emergence of this sector. While many influences and trends that parallel those in other small states can be seen, some crucial differences exist. Vulnerability to climate change and the narrow economic base of the country are shared characteristics. On the other hand, the isolation of Maldives among a group of larger neighbouring states has profound implications for the development of the national university. Key issues of access, quality, governance and collaboration emerged from a detailed qualitative case study of the Maldives National University. The case study reveals the achievements, challenges and priorities of the new national university. In the light of this analysis, it is argued that there is a pressing need to strengthen tertiary education by creating a sustainable policy framework for transforming the sector to better cater for its growth, quality improvement, research profile, governance and autonomy. Unlike many small states Maldives is isolated and consequently faces further challenges in exploiting the potential benefits of regional cooperation and alliances. This has related theoretical implications for tertiary education that are identified and that need to be explored and addressed in future studies on tertiary education in small states.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available