Higher education requires,Rebalance its outputs in line with labour market [Archives:2005/844/Business & Economy]

May 23 2005

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The higher education and scientific research represents one of the basic pillars of the process of development in Yemen. Nevertheless, the university study this year has seen a recession in the course of educational process because of the strike staged by University professors who demanded the government for an increase. Thus, the matter needs more reconsideration in all the process of education in order to restore balance in a manner compatible with outputs and requirements of the labour market.

Taking into consideration the importance of this sector, Yemen has allocated approximately 25% of its annual budget for education and its strategic projects. So that Yemen has become among the few countries that increase the proportion of what expends on education compared to what it expends on other essential sectors. However, the university education is still suffering from defects in its outputs, as mentioned in field studies.

As a result of university teachers strike the scientific gain has declined. The Yemeni government has taken strict measures and resolutions for the aim of restructuring the university education in the private sector after the higher education has throughout the past fifteen years produced positive results. The number of universities has jumped from two in Sana'a and Aden in 1990 to seven universities in 2004. Those universities are established in the governorates of Taiz, Hadramout, Hudeidai, Thamar and Ibb. The number of private sector universities in 2004 amounted to eight universities at a percentage of about 700% compared to 1990.

Due to increase of labour market needs for various specialties, the number of theoretical and scientific faculties at government universities rose from five scientific colleges and eleven theoretical ones in 1990 to 88 colleges and higher institutes in 2005, among them 32 scientific colleges and 56 theoretical colleges. Meanwhile the number of specialised departments at different government and private faculties amounted at the present time to 587 departments and specialties, among them 211 scientific specialties and departments and 376 theoretical departments and specialties at an increase rate of 443.5% compared to 1990. The number of academics at universities, majority are Yemeni efficiencies of various specialties , rose from 1073 teaching staff members in 1990 to 4356 members in 2005.

Undoubtedly, the expansion in higher education during the past years in quantity and quality has contributed to accommodate the biggest number of secondary school graduates and thus the number of students joining government universities has risen from 39990 students in 1990 to 174250 students in 2005, among them 46545 female students. The number of students joining private sector universities until 2004 amounted to 19178 students from both genders.

These figure, however, do not mean that higher education has witnessed tangible development. The need still exists for taking more steps to readjust and upgrade its standards and specialisations in coping with requisites and requirements of labour market. The concerned parties have realised this failure and headed for linking outputs of universities to requirements of development and needs of labour market. Therefore, the ministry of higher education and scientific research has prepared a special strategy for higher education in which it has defined programs and needs of higher education and to develop it over the forthcoming five years.