In his weekly radio address, President Mohamed Nasheed defended the Minister of Education, Dr Musthafa Luthfee, describing him as “one of the most competent ministers” in his cabinet.

The President’s remarks come following the proposal of a no-confidence motion against the Education Minister by a group of MPs on Monday. The motion was filed after the Ministry floated the idea of making the study of Dhivehi and Islam, along with all other subjects, optional for school grades 11 and 12.

Defending the Education Minister’s performance, President Nasheed said, “I don’t accept at all that Dr Musthafa Luthfee would wish to undermine Islam and our language.”

The President noted with satisfaction that the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) was not directly behind the bid for a no confidence vote against the Education Minister.

“My hope is that the DRP and the government will be able to discuss [the issue] and come to an acceptable solution,” he added.

On making the subjects Dhivehi and Islam optional or compulsory, President Nasheed said the matter should be decided based on expert assessment rather than politics.

The proposal to make Dhivehi and Islam optional for grades 11 and 12 was made during the national symposium on curriculum reform held in September last year.

Ministry of Education says the issue is under consideration and open for public debate and no decision has been made on whether to make the subjects compulsory or optional for students.

In his radio address, the President paid tribute to State Dignitary N.T. Hassan Didi, who is also a renowned painter and photographer. Mr Didi passed away on Thursday.