Books for Asia in the Maldives
The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program has distributed more than 26,000 books in Male, the capital, and outlying islands since the program was first introduced in 1985. Maldives comprises 1,191 islands in the Indian Ocean.
Status of Education in the Maldives
By 2002, the Maldives achieved universal primary education for grades 1-7 and 97 percent literacy rates among men and women. Efforts are now underway to decentralize the education system and reorganize the island nation. A renewed emphasis on the quality of education is taking shape as is expanding accessibility to education on even the remotest islands, some of which are only accessible by multi-day boat trips. Currently, lower secondary schools (grades 8-10) are located on 138 islands and higher secondary schools (grades 11-12) are only available on 14 islands. The official and common language is Dhivehi, which is related to Sinhala, a language of Sri Lanka. English is used widely in commerce and increasingly as the medium of instruction in government schools.
Books for Asia is ramping up donations to the Maldives to exceed 20,000 books per year. Via the National Library, Books for Asia aims to expand its books distribution to public libraries, as well as many more primary and secondary schools in Male and outlying islands to develop a strong reading culture and improve curriculum development and teaching standards. University-level textbooks will also be provided to the Maldives College of Higher Education, the only public degree-granting institution on the island.
Project and Partner Highlights
The Ministry of Education Maldives: As Books for Asia’s main distribution partner in the Maldives, The Ministry’s extensive network in both Male and the Atolls allows Books for Asia to successfully reach libraries on all levels: in schools, higher learning institutions, public libraries, and government institutions.
The National Library of Maldives: With additional support from Books for Asia and training from the Sri Lankan Library Association, the National Library will strengthen its role in the country as an advocate for strong library systems and resources to the general public, teachers, researchers, and policy makers.
Major publisher donors: John Wiley & Sons, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lynne Rienner, W.W. Norton & Company, and Island Press.
Anton Nallathamby, Books for Asia Director (Sri Lanka)
Sharmini Nagendran, Program Officer (Sri Lanka)