Describing some Teachers at Sana’a University: ACADEMIC DICTATORS [Archives:2000/08/Viewpoint]

January 21 2000

As a newspaper widely read by the student community, we have been receiving several complaints about the current conditions of Sana’a University. Some of them are so extreme that I felt that the least I should do is launch a survey to identify the problems and seek for solutions. 
One of the most frequently received complaints is the treatment of some instructors to their students. The most horrifying story we have heard in some time is what a female student said, 
15 minutes before the start of the exam, a girl next to me was reviewing her notes as a final preparation for the exam, which would start at 9:00 in the morning. Then just as we were about to remove the books and notes off the table, the instructor came into the room. In a loud voice he said, come on, prepare yourselves for the exam, I said take away these books as the students started removing their books off the tables, he noticed that the girl was not as fast as she should, perhaps as she knew that there was more than 10 minutes left. Suddenly, and with an intimidating action, he threw the girls books on the floor near the rooms door. The girl then stood up and gathered her books and politely asked the instructor Professor, why did you do this? Why did you threw my books? then he said, So, you didnt like it, heh? and he demanded her to go out of the room. She refused his orders. Then in an unexpected reaction, he grabbed her from her arms and pushed her out of the class. 
This dramatic scene left the other girl who told us the story astonished, angry, frustrated, and sympathetic, all at once. The humiliation that the girl went through in being kicked out of the room for no obvious reason, and in front of all the students is surely a serious matter that could affect her life forever. 
What is even more frustrating is the reaction of the other students, who stayed in their chairs as if nothing happened. They all might have thought of their own interest, and their interest to pass the exam requires that they all obey blindly what their master (instructor here) says, and they should always try to satisfy him in every way they can. Otherwise, they may have to suffer of the consequences: academic failure. 
This incident is probably one of so many that happen simultaneously in many Sana’a University departments and colleges. The mentality of an instructor in having the power to humiliate, insult, or by dismissing a student from entering an exam, and hence depraving his/her from a students basic academic rights, is surely not a good point in favor of the university. 
What is happening? 
Why are instructors turning vicious these days? 
Is it their low salaries that they often complain about? 
Is it that there are no monitoring procedures to see how these instructors are treating their students? 
Is it because students rights are not respected by the administration of the university? 
All these questions will be asked several academic professors and administrators in Sana’a University, and we expect an answer to them all. Yet anything they say will never justify what is being done to the poor students. Are these monster instructors who we are submitting our students to? Are these teachers who we have trusted to take care of and teach our children? 
Dont these teachers know that their profession is an extremely noble responsibility that contains within it a huge burden of being compassionate and friendly to their students? Have they forgotten that these students should be as close to them as their own children? Dont they understand that teaching them with respect and dignity, making them loves their academic studies more and more, and being their idols, are in fact, vital for their academic success? 
To all these dictators who call themselves teachers, I would like to say, Yemen Times is coming to get you. We are about to launch a huge campaign against the ones who abuse their academic position, and think they are untouchable. Once we understand who they are by students testimonies (without revealing the student names), we plan to submit a report to the administration, and expect speedy and tough action. On the other hand, not all instructors are of this type. I cannot deny that there are noble and honorable instructors, and I expect these to side by the students for their rights. 
I know the President of the University, and know that he will stand by the students in their rightful fight against the dictators disguised as normal university instructors. We will track them down, and thats a promise we are proud to give to our readers, especially our student readers! But please note that we are not out on a witch hunt.  We will do everything possible to verify complaints before taking action.    Walid Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf         
Chief Editor