An advice to teachers: You have rights, but are required to improve performance [Archives:2008/1148/Opinion]

April 21 2008

Abdullah Al-Bahri
Matters sometimes get confused when talking about the rights deserved by and duties required from a Yemeni teacher. Such confusion grew with the appearance of many Yemeni teachers on the T.V. screens, complaining of their being underpaid, as well as raising other petitions.

Those teachers joined several protests in different provinces, claiming the government to increase their salaries and improve their living standards. But what happened after their demands were met? We found that some irresponsible individuals are still instigating teachers to escalate their protests through exploiting the available democratic atmosphere and the wider scope allowed for self-expression. Many teachers behaved in an expected manner, not understanding why some irresponsible individuals encourage them to escalate their protests and strikes.

Yemeni teachers would rather understand that the primary goal of those, instigating them to go on strikes and protests, is to hinder progress of the educational process. In my opinion, those irresponsible individuals – having nothing to do with the real rights claimed by teachers, exploit the currently notable poor performance in the educational facilities to achieve personal interests. They are not really concerned about improving teachers' performance and developing the educational process.

As students' parents, we are not against teachers claiming their rights or raising a list of demands to be met by the government as much as we are concerned about teachers' performance in schools, which we see as not matching the list of demands raised by them.

Yemeni teachers are advised to improve their seemingly poor performance and behave responsibly before complaining about being underpaid or unsatisfied with their living standards.

Those teachers, who never hesitate to join any demonstrations, sit-ins or protests over allegedly unmet demands, surely know that there are numerous flaws and negatives associated with their performance at schools, and therefore admit that such negatives affect performance of our children.

Most of the school year's days are wastefully spent in such irresponsible practices that require male and female teachers to stop teaching and take to streets to protest against the government. As far as I am concerned, the poor education quality countrywide is – in one way or another – directly related with such irresponsible actions. Even worse, hours spent by teachers in classrooms come below the minimum working hours stipulated by the relevant laws and legislations.

We have to bear in mind that good education quality is key to comprehensive development in all the political, economic and social areas. And, any educational issues that remain unsolved are responsible for vulnerable and slow development in the various areas.

Concerned about their children's future, parents need to press the government, represented by the Ministry of Education, and education officials in the different provinces to step up joint efforts with the aim of reviewing and assessing teachers' performance at schools, and identifying at which rate our children are progressing. Having done so, it will be easier for them to suggest workable solutions and remedies to any persistent education-related issues.

Source: Al-Thawra State-run Daily.