President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced on Wednesday the administration’s decision to extend student loans to all qualified applicants who have submitted their loan applications. He made the announcement while speaking at the 'Top Achievers' Award 2021-2022,' honouring students with the highest scores at the 2021-2022 Higher Secondary Examinations. He was joined by First Lady Fazna Ahmed and Vice President Faisal Naseem at the ceremony in Dharubaaruge.
Addressing the ceremony, President Solih highlighted the significant advancements made this year in the administration's loan allocation process for individuals seeking to pursue higher education programmes within the Maldives and abroad. This administration places great emphasis on providing higher education opportunities as a key priority in its efforts to foster the development of responsible and productive citizens and youth for the betterment of society.
The President stated that 1,225 students had met the eligibility criteria for the loans, and the administration intends to extend loan offers to all of them. He emphasised that in the event an eligible student is unable to secure a student loan, the administration would investigate the situation and take measures to ensure that students can avail themselves of the benefits of the student loan programmme. He added that the Ministry of Higher Education would issue additional details about the student loan initiative soon.
President Solih underscored the administration's commitment to providing skills development opportunities to youth, recognising their significant role in fostering national development. By equipping young individuals with essential capabilities, the administration's initiatives empower youth to actively contribute to the growth of their communities and the overall progress of the nation. The President added that the National Apprenticeship Programme (NAP) has provided such opportunities to 665 youth.
Acknowledging the remarkable achievements of students who completed their higher secondary examinations, President Solih extended his congratulations to them for their success, even amidst the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. He emphasised that their accomplishments serve as a renewed beacon of hope for the country's future and highlighted the administration's commitment to providing various other higher education opportunities to support the students' educational aspirations further.
At the ceremony, President Solih presented awards to students who secured first place in the higher secondary examinations, while the First Lady presented awards to students who secured second place. The Vice President recognised top achievers in their respective subject categories, commending their outstanding placements from second to tenth globally.
Of the 2,849 candidates who participated in the higher secondary examinations last year, 445 students attained positions in the national top 10 rankings. Among them, 20 students achieved top 10 rankings globally across different subject categories, with six students securing first place in the world rankings.