President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday appointed new chancellors to the Maldives National University and the Islamic University of Maldives.
Dr Hassan Hameed was appointed chancellor of MNU. Dr Mohamed Zahir Hussain was reappointed chancellor of IUM.
Hameed resigned as MNU vice chancellor in July 2015 after the former ruling party amended the national university law to authorise the president to appoint nine members to a 13-member governing council, including the chancellor and the vice chancellor.
The president could previously only appoint the chancellor, who also heads the governing council. The vice chancellor and two deputy vice chancellors were elected to the council while an independent committee selected additional members from candidates who apply following a public announcement.
At the time, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party warned that allowing the president to appoint council members would compromise the university’s independence and politicise the institution
The new appointments come after parliament – which now has a supermajority for the ruling MDP – reversed the changes last month with amendments to the laws governing the state universities. According to the revisions, the president would also be allowed to appoint a vice chancellor. The deputy vice chancellors would be appointed by the council.
President Solih ratified the amendments on August 5.
Before the new chancellors were appointed, Dr Ali Fawaz was dismissed as MNU vice chancellor earlier on Tuesday. He was replaced by Dr Mohamed Shareef, a former state minister for housing who also served as MNU’s deputy vice chancellor. Dr Ibrahim Zakariyya Moosa, IUM’s postgraduate dean, was appointed vice chancellor to replace Aisha Khaleel.
According to the university law, the vice chancellors would be in charge of administration.
Prior to his resignation in 2015, Dr Hassan Hameed served at the university and the former Maldives College of Higher Education since 1998. He was elected for the position of vice chancellor in 2011.
A former education minister, Dr Mohamed Zahir Hussain became the first chancellor of the Islamic University of Maldives shortly after it was established in early 2015. He was chancellor of the national university at the time.
Former president Abdulla Yameen removed him as IUM chancellor in August 2016.