The Asia Foundation

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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.

Current Focus

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.



Anton Nallathamby
Books for Asia Director (Sri Lanka)

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