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The Maldives (or Maldive Islands), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls belonging to the Maldive and Suvadive archiplagoes in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is located south of India's Lakshadweep islands, and about seven hundred kilometres (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka. The twenty-six atolls of the Maldives encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, 250 islands of which are inhabited.

The population of the Maldives is nearly 400,000.

The capital (and largest city) is Malé, with a population of just over 100,000 (2006). It is located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll, in the Kaafu Atoll.


(sourced from the brief entry at

Traditionally children aged three and up in the Maldives were educated in Islamic "Makthab" classes, generally using a single large room or the shelter of a tree. The children learned simple arithmetic, Dhivehi and some Arabic, and practised reciting the Qur'an. These private schools still exist, but western-style schooling is becoming more pervasive.

The first western-style school in the Maldives was the Majeediyya School, a secondary established in 1927. The school was originally co-educational, but it was felt necessary to create a second school for girls (Aminiyya School) in 1944.

Until 1978 formal education was concentrated in the capital, Malé, but in 1978, the President determined that every atoll should have a school. The first was opened in South Miladhunmadulu Atoll in March, 1979.

As of 2002, the Presidents' Office claimed that universal primary education has almost been achieved and the literacy rate had improved from 70 percent in 1978 to 98.82 percent. In 2005, there were 106,220 students in schools, or 40% of the total population

Higher Education

The only public degree-granting institution on the island is Maldives College of Higher Education, established on January 1, 1999, as part of a restructuring and rationalization of all government-run post-secondary education in Maldives. Operated under the aegis of the Department of Higher Education and Training. The college offers a range of degrees, diplomas, and certificates, with particular emphasis on engineering, health science, education, tourism, and management. The average enrollment at MCHE is around 4,000 students in long-term (that is, more than one academic year) programs, and around 2,000 in short-term (shorter than one academic year) courses. It is a subscriber to OBHE.

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