Ekhwan Thabit SchoolWasn’t built in a day [Archives:2004/750/Culture]

June 28 2004

By Fahmia Al-Fotih
For the Yemen Times

A few years ago no one had heard about Ekhwan Thabit School. But today it has become one of the best schools and one of the most prominent educational edifices in Sana'a belongs to Al-Sabeen area.
One, who knew Ekhwan Thabit School 5 years ago would not recognise it today.
One who visits Ekhwan Thabit School will have an impression that it is a new-established institution. However, it is not new at all!
The school today is for girls but once it was for boys!
Many questions have come to my mind. So to fulfill my curiosity, I went there and met the school headmistress, teachers and guards.
Somia Shajera, a teacher “Ekhwan Thabit school was very dirty and a rubbish dump. The rubbish was everywhere. Most of the school's windows and doors were broken. Even the teachers seemed as is they were not real teachers. It was as if we were living in a zoo. There was no system at all. It was impossible to find system until Amatalslam Al-Koli, the headmistress, came and beautifully changed everything.”
She added “Once I preferred to teach in a village rather than teaching in Ekhwan Thabit. Frankly speaking, now the difference is vast. The school was lacked even a tree. Now, thank God, the school has become organized and it is now on everyone's tongue.
She further said “The guards were careless. You could not find them in their places regularly. Entering and leaving school was possible at any time. Anyone could enter the school, and you felt you were not in an educational institution. Now everything has been changed. You can find the guards in their proper places during working hours and there is a system to enter or leave the school. In short, there is a great tremendous change between Ekhwan Thabit yesterday and Ekhwan Thabit today.”
Hassan Ali Al-Syakhie, school guard, said “School was completely ruined; doors and windows were broken and bathrooms were very dirty. There wasn't a single tree in the school. Now the school is cleaner, provided with doors and windows and beautified with trees as you see in front of you.”
“We used to fight with parents but now there is stability and parents have started to understand the law and regulations. When the headmistress took over the school, parents strongly opposed that as they wanted the school to be for boys instead for girls. However, the headmistress, Amatalsam, wisely convinced them. We struggled to make this a good place.”
We met the headmistress, Ms. Amatalslam Al-Kholi, “First Ekhwan Thabit School was a boys' high school and we were in Al-Shami school for girls and were so close to Ekhwan Thabit. Naturally, it created and caused many moral problems and harassments, and instead of teaching we were so busy solving those problems and preventing harassment. I was obligated to put an end to all this. So I frankly displayed this case in front of the Ministry of Education and in the end they made Al-Shami school an elementary school and changed Ekhwan Thabit to a girls' school, and took the boys to another school.”
About the beginning in Ekhwan Thabit Ms. Al-Kholi said “I along with my staff and students moved from AL-Shami to Ekhwan Thabit and when we first came to Ekhwan Thabit School all we found was indifference and I found it a desert. I did not know how they were teaching then. There was no archive for students' files or official documents. It was a big battle to change. It took time to fix doors, windows, bathrooms, classrooms and repaint the school. It was a really hard job.”
About the needs of the school she said “The school is only two floors and we have noticed the crowded classes as an increasing number of girls want to continue their education in school near to their residence. So we wish we could add another floor. We also need to update the laboratory as we don't want our students to study theoretically, we want them to practice. We also need computers, as they are the only communication tool of today. Our library is short of books and I think we have to pay attention to students in this age and let them become accustomed to reading and independent research.”
The sad thing is about the school, Ms. Amatalslam Al-Kholi said, is that “The school is deprived from any support or help as it carries a commercial name. My school is not treated equally with public schools. So we are deprived of many things because of this false thought. We really do not receive any support from the people the name of whom the school carries. At the same time I cannot forget that here there are some personalities that always offer their help, such Abduallah Al-Basheer. But what I want to emphasise here is that all the things you see here are our own efforts”