The Education Ministry Tuesday hit out at reports that a popular professor has been banned from giving lectures at local schools.
Mihaaru said that Professor Hassan Ugail, the first Maldivian scientist and PhD holder in mathematics, was banned by the Education Ministry. The report was later edited to say he faced “challenges” to appear at local schools.
“It’s a blatant lie. We are very sad to hear this kind of news being spread without checking. I asked Mihaaru journalists if they had any documents to show or if they’d contacted the Education Ministry prior to publishing that we’d banned Professor Ugail. They don’t have anything to show,” said Minister of State for Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer.
Education Ministry procedures say all guest lectures at schools must get prior approval.
“Schools get requests at different times on different guest lectures. Parents send their kids to school with the utmost trust in the ministry. We work with the police to check every person who is operating within the school. So when an outsider wants to come in to interact with the kids, we have to check why they’re coming.
“We do guest lectures after following the appropriate procedures. We have not for 1) banned Professor Ugail from entering schools or 2) asked schools to be uncooperative towards Professor Ugail,” he said. “We admire him a lot. We’ve visited his lectures. So why would we ban him?”
Mihaaru reported that Ugail had received the ban information from the schools.
“I do this work in the light of my education to teach Maldivians. I am very sad that this has happened this way,” Mihaaru cited him as saying.
The Maldives Independent was unable to reach the professor at the time of going to press.
The ‘ban’ report was picked up by other news outlets and was also met with a fierce social media backlash.
Earlier this year the government seized back an island leased to Ugail’s Korallion Lab for use as a marine station to conduct research on coral reefs.
Knowledge is far more powerful than fear. Alas, those who fear will always try to suppress the spread of knowledge. #ThoughtOfTheDay
— Professor Ugail (@ugail) November 14, 2017