Abdullah Mahdi, Chairman of the Independent Parliamentarian Bloc to YT: “Institutes must be converted into schools” [Archives:2001/21/Law & Diplomacy]

May 21 2001

Integrating the educational system was proposed two years after unification. It was the parliament at the time which came out with this decision which was neither passed nor rejected by the president because it was politically motivated. Constitutionally, if there is no direct rejection from the president, the decision becomes valid after 30 days from date of issuance. The different governments that were formed since then overlooked implementation of this decision.
These institutes were established during the regime of President Al-Hamdi, whose purpose was to create a certain kind of social, ideological or political balance in the country. The huge number of these institute graduates was believed to suppress extremism whether in the north or the south of Yemen. It was also aiming at establishing a strong educated army encountering the Marxist winds blowing from the south. Since their establishment in 1975-1976 they have prospered in many fields including the military. They have also purchased weapons. We are not then surprised at the fact that these institutes are political, military and ideological institutions. These institutes are also known for their affiliation with a political party. Although this party represents extremism, extreme right center, it is still officially supported. Following presentation of the agenda of the new government I said that we would support the government’s effort to unify the educational systems if its really serious in this. But if the whole matter is just a political conspiracy we will not agree. Even if the two administrations are united, the graduates of these institutes have been educated on a specific political and ideological policy that ensures their affiliation to the Islah party. So, if the government is serious in this issue it must convert such institutes into schools. Maintenance of these institutes means that there is a political agreement between President Saleh and Sheikh Al-Ahmar. If not, how one can explain the appointment of a representative of these institutes in the Ministry of Education. In my opinion, the whole story is a result of an agreement between the President and Sheikh Al-Ahmar who are the main controllers of the country.
To conclude, the agreement between the President and Sheikh Al-Ahmar is a new turning point in the field of cooperation. As for the media campaigns, they are no more than ingenious means to force each side to abide by the demands of the other. Specialized institutes are everywhere in the world. And religious subjects were taught in mosques and then in other institutions just to be a ground for political activities such as the case of Al-Iman University.