|dc.description.abstract||Education, a vital component of human capital, is essential for the growth of nations.
Developing countries, faced with limited resources and budget constraints, adopt
strategies that they believe will improve access to education and at the same time reduce
costs. This thesis explores the desirability of one such policy option, double-shift
schooling, with respect to de-shifting, its reverse policy. Whether de-shifting is a
desirable policy direction is assessed, based on other countries’ experiences, alternative
strategies and the current education situation in the Maldives, a country presently under
this transition. Some of these alternative strategies are explored for their effectiveness in
improving the quality of education.
In the case of the Maldives all schools were operating a double-shift system prior to
2009 and the government is now attempting to convert all schools to single-shift, by the
end of 2013. Although the Maldives has achieved 100 per cent enrolment at primary
school level, this access has not been transferred to secondary level. Statistics indicate
low levels of achievement at all stages of education. The education situation in the atolls
is of particular concern, where the majority of schools suffer from a lack of locally
trained teachers and learning resources.
In general, it has been found that double-shift schooling does not affect the academic
standards of students. However, several costs, both direct and indirect, tend to make the
quality of education in double-shift schools appear to be inferior, in comparison to
single-shift schools. De-shifting, which involves large costs, does not guarantee an
improvement in the quality of education, since there are several other factors which
significantly affect academic performance.
For the Maldives, findings from the study indicate that in addition to the high costs
involved, scarcity of land, may affect the progress of de-shifting. The attitude of
teachers, whose working day is lengthened without financial compensation, is also a
concern. Moreover, there are other areas within the education sector which are greatly
in need of immediate investment. These include, improving access and equity at
secondary level, especially in the atolls, and improvement in the training of local
teachers. Unless such aspects are addressed, de-shifting, although desirable in the long
run, may fail to deliver the benefits that it claims.||en_US