Amran students leave schools due to absence of teachers [Archives:2008/1220/Culture]

December 29 2008

Saddam Al-Ashmori
For the Yemen Times

People in some districts of Amran governorate complain that the absence of teachers hinders the education process in schools, particularly in the rural areas where teachers are especially at a premium.

Nasser Al Ahmed, Aqel (a zone or village leader) of one of the villages in the Amran governorate, said that whenever he goes to the local school he finds students playing in the school yard instead of studying in the classrooms. “We have a primary school in the village and plenty of students, but teachers are usually absent and the government takes no action against them according to law,” said Ahmed. “We have complained about them to the education office last year and demanded that current teacher be changed. However, we were surprised to see the same teachers this year and the same bad situation, as teachers are still absent most of the days of the week.”

Citizen Hamid Ali a villager said that the reason for this problem is that teachers are often from the same village that they teach in, and they neglect teaching and pay attention to their family and farming. “I have four children studying in the school,” said Ali. “Last year, they would come back from school early in the morning two or three days each week because teachers were absent. We went to schools to discuss the problem with the school administration, but teachers didn't even deal with us properly. They told us to search for other schools if we were not satisfied with the situation. I am really worried about the future of my children.”

Student Yusuf Al-Naqeeb, a sixth level student said that teachers stop teaching early as they are very often busy with their farms. “When we go to school and find no teachers, we go back home,” said Al-Naqeeb. “In my previous school, we had a teacher who owned a qat farm. We would see him while on our way to school early in the morning holding an axe and heading for his farm.”

Khaled Abdu said that some teachers lack conscience as they don't pay attention to their job as teachers and prefer to do their own work in the farm. “The situation of education is shameful as teachers are very often absent. Even the quality of teaching is very poor,” said Khaled. “In some schools, all students pass the exams even though they cannot read their names. The reason is absence of monitoring by the incumbent bodies in the government.”

Some students maintained that the absence of teachers and negligence towards their education prompted them to leave school early. “I left the school when I was in the ninth grade along with forty of my classmates. The reason is that the manager of our school was a farmer who wasn't educated himself,” said Al-Naqeeb. “Therefore, it was easy for us to pass. But because the exams for passing the ninth grade came from the Ministry of Education and not from the school, we failed.”

For his part, Amin Al-Qudaifi, head of Amran Education Office, said that there are many difficulties that the office faces upon monitoring schools. “We inspected schools early this year but we couldn't cover all the schools. We couldn't reach 1294 schools due to the large area of the governorate,” said Al-Qudaifi. “In addition, we don't have enough money in our budget to enhance monitoring in schools. We receive only one hundred thousand YR per year. Therefore, we were obliged to involve the local authority in monitoring through reporting about violations and education problems.”

Al-Qudaifi said that the office fired 170 teachers who neglected their teaching jobs and it may fire another 100 teachers if they continue absenting themselves from schools. He added that the office now suffers from a shortage of teachers and that it needs at least 170 new teachers to fill the positions of those who were fired.

He pointed out that the education level of teachers is poor as the graduates of universities and institutes are not qualified enough. “We have more than 1000 teachers whose education level is weak. They need more training. Therefore, we have a plan to train 300 new teachers every year,” said AlQudaifi.

Yemen Times tried to contact some government officials to ask them about their role in this issue but they refused to comment.