Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa (The Republic of Maldives) is a group of 26 atolls located in the Indian Ocean south-southwest of India. The population is 385,925 and the literacy rate is 96.3%. It is the smallest Asian nation in terms of area and population and one of the smallest predominately Muslim countries in the world. Maldivian Dhivehi (a dialect of Sinhala which uses the Arabic script) is the official language, and English is widely spoken, especially in the government.
The first human settlers on the islands of Maldives, were most likely fishermen from the southwest coast of India, can be traced back to 300 BC. Over time, the islands were visited by Arab and Tamil traders. An Islamic sultanate was established in 1153 and governed until 1968. Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. On July 27, 1965, Maldives was granted independence. In 1968, the sultanate was dissolved and Maldives became a republic.
Currently, the Maldives education system is overseen by both the Ministry of Education and the Department of Higher Education.
Primary and Secondary Education
Primary school is 7 years beginning at age 6. Lower secondary school is 3 years. At the end of the 3rd year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Secondary School Certificate (SSC). Upper secondary school is 2 years. At the end of the 2nd year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC). Students in British-patterned schools attend primary school for 8 years. Secondary school is 3 years. At the end of the 3rd year, students sit for an external examination leading to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). Upper secondary school is 2 years, and, at the end of the 2nd year, students sit from an external examination leading to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education Advanced Level (IGCSE A-Level).
Post-secondary education is offered at many public and private technical and vocational schools as well as at the Maldives College of Higher Education which is the only institution that awards a bachelor's degree. Two-year programs lead to the Advanced Diploma. Bachelor's degrees are awarded after 3 years of study and a Bachelors (Honours) is awarded after one year of study following a Bachelor's degree.
Graduate programs are not currently offered in Maldives.