Dr. Khalid Abdullah Tumeem to Yemen Times”Greater exposure to practical affairs needed to be parteners of social evolution” [Archives:2004/700/Education]

January 5 2004

Harnessing the youth energy is one of the foremost challenges before any society. Sana'a University has been alive to this crying need and has been galvanizing efforts to utilize the untapped potential of its youth, the architects of tomorrow. The department of youth affairs, Sana'a University, under the stewardship of Dr. Khalid Abdullah Tumeem, Vice Rector, is making sustained efforts to further streamline the youth activities of the university.
With a view to getting a better understanding of the man and his mission, Dr. Ramakanta Sahu had an intimate interaction with him.
Q: Sana'a University has earned an unenviable reputation for being supportive of promoting youth talents.
What are different programs you have mounted over the current year?
A: First of all I should thank Yemen Times, the esteemed newspaper that has established itself as a powerful organ to project all-round developments of our county including those in the educational sector.
As far as the achievements of Sana'a University are concerned, Sana'a University was established in 1970 as the first university in the Republic of Yemen. Over the years it has distinguished itself as a center of academic excellence mostly because of highly scholarly and competent staff members.
It is no wonder that Sana'a university has been at the forefront of educational development in the Republic of Yemen. One of the distinctive features of Sana'a university is the accent it puts on the spectrums of youth welfare activities, including housing, athletics, social relations and academic services.
Now, we have a plan to achieve these aims by consolidating the good work initiated by our predecessors.
Our future plans include organizing intra and inter university debates and matches. Naturally, for this program we want to qualify the students academically as well as behaviorally, so that, the students are be able to build their personality concretely for the benefit of the self as well as our country.

Q: You'll agree with me that there should be closer interaction between the teachers and the students. What do you suggest to develop this relation for the benefit of the university as well as for the society?
A: This is a very good question because the relationship between the teachers and the students is of crucial importance.
Therefore, we want to develop a healthy mutual relation between the two communities through new programs and activities. So we don't want to let the students to confine themselves to classroom lectures only. On the other hand, we want them to be stake holders for the substantial growth of the university.

Q: What is your point of view about a system of evaluation of teachers by their students and the evaluation of the chairmen of the departments by the teachers in the department?
A: The evaluation of students by their teachers is very important in so far as it would help us to identify a reliable tool of practical value to identify teachers that can leave a true impact on their students for their, the university's as well as for the society's benefit. The relation between the staff members and the student community should be positive and constructive so as to enrich the university. At the same time, we should apply the regulations of the university practically and honestly, in order to achieve the aims of the university.

Q: Is it possible to institute a system of rewards for the high achievers?
A: Actually, the provision of reward and punishment is based on sound principles but we should strictly follow the regulations of the university and make more efforts to promote talent within the framework of the provisions of the university.

Q: What are some of the major problems facing you and what are your priorities?
A: Actually, I have to candidly admit that there are some problems, but we are still trying to find out and discover the acute problems crippling our premier institution in order to offer the best solutions in accordance with the university's regulations and the present circumstances.
It is important to forge a network of good relations between our department of students affairs and the colleges in our university as well as our office with the other offices of the university, such as, academic affairs, higher studies, public relations and other administrative wings of the university.
However, we have to face the problems squarely and find out the best and the most practical solutions for them.

Q: As we know you have a vision to bring the university on par with other prominent world universities. What measures do you suggest to modernize the university?
A: I think this is a question with wider ramifications. As such I prefer to submit this question to the Ministry of Higher Education for their views.

Q: How to ensure larger participation among students in youth promotion programs? Do you have separate programs for boys and girls?
A: I think we have to formulate a program or an agenda of action within the framework of the prevalent resource constraints of our country. Therefore, we are drawing up an action plan for practical programs, specially for faculties such as medicine, dental science and so on.
In order to achieve the goals of the curriculum, the students should get more practical experience before graduation.

Q: What are your last comments and suggestions for a qualitative development of the university of Sana'a?
A: The development of the university could not be achieved by one person or one individual administrator. It is the outcome of teamwork and concerted efforts of the entire administrative set-up the university, starting from the officials up to the Rector of the university. They should work hand in hand honestly for the benefits of our university as well as the society.
As our leader President Ali Abdullah Saleh supports the most promising students by instituting awards for youths and meritorious students, we have to utilize this opportunity properly to ensure human resource development of our country.

Q: What is your evaluation of Education page in Yemen Times? You would be glad to know that meanwhile we have completed more than 200 lessons.
A: Actually, I follow the lessons published in this page. It is an excellent attempt because it is a manifesto for the educational development in the universities as well as in our country.
I hope that this page will continue to build on its image and march ahead on the path of excellence, specially, as it is concerned with vital educational issues.

Q: Any last comments?
A: We hope that Allah will help and support us to achieve the aims of Sana'a University and uphold its honor and glory which it has so laboriously accumulated over the years among the universities in Yemen.