'Govt will not influence MNU' - Minister

Minister of Higher Education Dr Ibrahim Hassan has stated that the government will not influence technical operations of Maldives National University (MNU).

He made this statement during a meeting with the newly appointed university council on Wednesday. The Minister said that the government will not influence technical operations of the university and that the Ministry would act as a regulatory body.

"However, if we wish to increase capacity of a certain field under human resource development, we will make the request to the university. The university will decide on how to proceed", said the Minister.

Emphasizing the importance of maintaining the quality of courses offered at the university, the Minister urged the university to refrain from any activities that may cause a decline in university standard. He further requested the university to seek government approval if the institute wished to design a course in a field that required government approval for employment upon graduation.

Stating that it is the duty of the country's citizens to maintain the peace and security of the nation, the minister said the peace of the country is directly linked to the speech and acts of the citizens. The minister also expressed his hope to establish MNU as the epitome of educational institutes.

"We advise university staff and students to refrain from activity that may create disunity", Minister Hassan said.

Earlier this week, the government instructed MNU lecturers to refrain from commenting on the controversial report on radicalization in the Maldives issued by non-partisan organization "Maldivian Democracy Network", and warned action against university lecturers who do so.

MNU's warning was issued following a press conference held by religious scholars of Maldives regarding the report. Several university lecturers were present at the press conference.

Titled '‘Preliminary Assessment on Radicalization in the Maldives", the report issued by MDN in 2016 challenged principles and teachings of Islam in the Holy Quran, and disrespected Prophet Mohamed (PBUH). The report outlined several verses from the Quran and 'hadith' of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) as examples of ideas that contribute to promulgation of radical worldviews. The contents of the report prompted harsh criticism against the organization by the public and Islamic scholars.