President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih emphasised on Thursday the administration's commitment to establishing the Islamic University of Maldives (IUM) as a distinguished regional institution for Islamic education and a centre dedicated to promoting the noble values of Islam. Accompanied by First Lady Fazna Ahmed, the President delivered these remarks at the 2nd session of the IUM Convocation 2023 held at IUM's Conference Hall.
Speaking at the event, President Solih underscored the significance of IUM in cultivating virtuous Islamic values among its students. He highlighted the collaborative efforts between IUM and the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in safeguarding the Maldives against the spread of religious extremism.
The President reiterated the administration's commitment to establishing and enhancing modern education by providing comprehensive educational opportunities across the nation. He revealed that a significant portion of this year's annual state budget, specifically MVR4.6 billion, or 10.9 per cent, has been allocated to education development.
Notably, MVR857 million has been designated from these funds to advance higher secondary education. On this note, the President further highlighted the administration's extensive initiatives to cultivate human resources that meet national requirements, exemplified by programmes such as the free degree programme and low-interest student loans.
President Solih underscored that the Pay Commission and the Ministry of Finance had recently finalised the salary revision for lecturers at IUM, signifying an imminent improvement in their remuneration. The President also announced that the administration would soon implement an enhanced salary and vacation policy framework for Imams. He also assured that the improved allowances for individuals with special needs would be disbursed in June as scheduled.
During the ceremony, 709 students successfully graduated from diverse academic programmes at the university. Among the graduates, nine students were honoured with the Best Student Awards. 78 Imams completed their studies through the degree programme initiated by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in collaboration with IUM in 2020.
The President presented awards to the graduating Imams and the recipients of the Best Student Awards. The First Lady presented awards to the recipients of the Master of Teaching and Learning programme.