Third Committee

Agenda item 68: Human Rights

Intervention by the Republic of Maldives to the Report of the

Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education

Statement by Ms. Aisha Naeem, Senior State Attorney, Attorney General's Office of the Republic of Maldives

United Nations, New York, 25 October 2016

Thank you Mr Vice-Chair,

My delegation would like to thank the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education Ms Koumbou Boly for presenting Mr Kishore Singh's last report. We would also like to congratulate the Special Rapporteur on her recent appointment.

We note with appreciation, the Special Rapporteur's efforts to highlight the need for States to embrace the concept of education and learning as a continuum. We fully support your view that States should take steps to develop laws and education policies that embody the concept of lifelong learning.

The Constitution of Maldives explicitly recognizes the right to education to all persons, without discrimination of any kind. It also guarantees everyone the freedom to acquire and impart knowledge, information and learning. Furthermore, free primary and secondary education is guaranteed to both girls and boys under the Constitution. We are proud of the fact that the Maldives has achieved universal access to school education from preprimary to secondary level and that our people enjoy the highest literacy rate in the region at over 98%. Given that children and youth form a large portion of our population, the Government's education policies are aimed at ensuring that no child is left behind and to promoting lifelong learning, including but not limited to promoting technical and vocational training targeted at youth at both formal and informal levels.

While much progress has been achieved, certain challenges still remain. Given the dispersed nature of our communities and the fact that the majority of the 187 inhabited islands have a population of less than 1000 people, the Government is faced with the constant challenge to overcome the disparity between communities in the provision of education and technical and vocational training.

In your Report, you have stressed the importance of recognizing technical and vocational education and training as being crucial to equip youth and adults with knowledge, skills, and other competencies. We would appreciate if you could elaborate upon some of the common challenges that are faced by Small Island Developing States like the Maldives in delivering essential education programmes including vocational and technical training and any suggestions you may have to address such challenges.

I thank you.