A range of issuesThe challenges of education in rural Yemen [Archives:2005/806/Culture]

January 10 2005

By Yemen Times Staff
Taiz Bureau

One of the educationists said that the main barrier against the educational process in the rural areas in Yemen is the appointment of illiterate school principals. They are appointed on the base of tribal and political distinctions.

As education in the rural areas goes on the opposite direction, its outputs will be negative. Students usually go to work in the fields and the rural girl is prevented from continuing her education owing to social factors.

All these barriers hinder education in such areas and make its pace very slow and unable to cope with the technological advancements.

Lack of teachers

We met Sultan Al-Sabri, a teacher at Al-Nor School in Arhab District and he talked about education barriers in the area where he works. He said in brief, “Our school suffers from the lack of teachers and when a single teacher is responsible for teaching many classes, he will not be able to give the student adequate information.”

There are many other barriers facing education in the rural areas such as the lack of restaurants to provide the teachers with meals. Due to this, the teacher resorts to embarrass himself and assigns some of the students to bring food from their homes to teachers at the school.

Another great barrier is reflected in the lack of visual aids that help the teacher carry out his duty easily and conduct some of the cultural activities that in turn develop the students' minds.

Education is a perseverance

Nadeem Hizam, a teacher at Shaheed Yahya Ghaifar School, Hajjah Province, talked on the matter by saying: “Development in Yemen should be based on the provision of specialized teachers in the rural areas, specifically the scientific majors. Schools in such areas have to be equipped with labs that are thought of as the pillar in the practical respect.

In the rural areas, education is perseverance as libraries are not available and students are not controlled during the periods of the study. Discipline is important, particularly in the stages of primary education and books are not provided to the students as early as possible. To sum up, parents usually enroll their children even though they are still under the school age. This has its negative impacts on the educational process as the under school-age children can not understand the presentation of the teacher well.”

Abdullah Ahmad Ali Saif, a teacher at Hittine School in Ibb said, “If we want to know the reality of education barriers, first we have to look at the reasons and backgrounds. The reasons can be attributed to the fact that teachers work in the opposite direction. We find that a geography teacher is teaching Arabic. Partisanship has its role in the appointment of school principles and this is counted one of reasons behind the deterioration of education.

Food for certificate

Ashjan Sa'eed, a female teacher at Shaheed Othman School in Saber District, Taiz noted, “When the students, both males and females, come on foot from remote distances, they feel bored and play truant.” She also said that students can not have the books in the beginning of the educational year and this slows the pace of the educational process.

When the teacher waits for the students to bring him food, how the result will be. Undoubtedly it will be negative. In other words, the teacher will feel himself compelled to allow many students a chance for success even they do not deserve so.

Halima Sa'eed Al-Udaini from Al-Asrum says, “schools are not large enough to absorb the enrolled students. Students often sit on the floor, particularly in the primary stages. Schools in such areas suffer from the lack of teachers, specifically in the scientific specializations.

Kayed Al-Mansri working at Khauzaija School at Maghbana said, “the family can be thought of as one of the education's barriers because when the student engages himself with matters other than education, this hampers the process of development. The student can not attend the school but at the end of the educational year, he wants a certificate.

Besides, many teachers who have just graduated from university seem not to be qualified enough to bring up a successful generation; they can not communicate with younger children in a better way. We find that a female teacher comes from the city while being pregnant and pursue her work at one of Maghbana schools and then return home on the same day. How can this woman do her duty?

Tribal school administrations

Teacher Abdullah Al-Saiwi noted, “reasons leading to the obstruction of the educational process in the rural areas in Yemen are primarily ascribable to 1) lack of awareness among students' parents about the importance of education, 2) students' work in farms due to the deteriorated living standards, 3) for the sake of success, students rely on their knowledge and relationship with the teacher, 4) the failure of the school administration to control the students because of the tribal climate, 5) lack of competent teachers due to the long distances, and 6) the educational inspectors do not visit such primitive areas to report what is going there.

Ahmad Hassan Principal of Abdullah Bin Rawah School in Mawyah explained, “schools in the rural areas suffer from the lack of books which are not provided on time, and it is realized that a single book is shared between more than two students. Students' parents form the primary reason behind the deterioration of education in the rural areas as they do not take care of their students.”

He added, “The majority of students look at those who graduated from universities but are unemployed and feel demotivated to continue their education.

Syllabuses and qat

Concerning the obstacles of education, Mohammad Al-Aili, one of the senior workers in the educational field and currently an inspector upon a number of schools in Taiz explained that the current syllabuses form great barriers for education. Many teachers find themselves unable to answer the exercises attached after every lesson.

Most of the school principals are qat sellers and this stands against the school administration.

To sum up, the lack of educational measures in the appointment of school principals, either in the rural areas or in the cities forms a tremendous obstacle against the educational process in Yemen.

Concerning the distribution of teachers, nobody can move to the area he desires unless he pays YR 50,000. In a great number of schools, we find that many teachers are massed without work.