Human resources in Yemen:An issue of concern [Archives:2004/729/Viewpoint]

April 15 2004

The issue of human resources in Yemen has become one of the priorities of the current Yemeni government due to the fact that humans are the pillars of any development. A whole ministry for vocational and technical training was set up to focus on the issue of developing more human resources needed to bring the desired development to the country. However, that is simply not enough.
Today, Yemen is suffering from a poor educational system that is almost obsolete compared to those in the developed world. We are not teaching our children the use of computers, proper English language, and are not updating them with scientific and historic information needed. This is mainly attributed to lack of funding and finances. However, it is also a result of lack of commitment and awareness about the importance of developing human resources in Yemen.
In a time billions of Yemeni rials are spent on military installations and equipment, in comparison, little attention is given to the educational and health sectors, which are essential for producing healthy, educated, and productive citizens.
When looking at the overall indicators of development in the Arab world in general, and Yemen in particular, we will come to a shocking conclusion that, on average, our people are less productive than peoples of most other countries. This is mainly due to the fact that they are not well-educated, do not have modern skills, did not cope with global changes and requirements.
But eventually, this is due to neglect of the state for so long. For many years, educational curricula have not changed radically to encapsulate the new and important information that is standard in the developed world. In more than 90% of schools around the country, there is not even one single computer, let alone provide computer lessons to regular students.
The United Nations Human Development Report published last year has indicated clearly the need to focus on the people first, then move on to other sectors. Our Arab regimes have marginalized their people in education, freedom, and decision-making ability. This is why Arab citizens have become less productive and energetic than most others throughout the world.
It is not too late however to reverse the course and concentrate more on the people by establishing more training schools, technical faculties, community colleges, and through encouraging the private sector to participate in training their staffers to become more skillful and meet the international requirements.
I believe the donor community has a role to play too. By providing assistance in supporting human resources in Yemen, they will be contributing positively to the development drive in the country. By investing in humans, they would be investing in the future of the country, which will in turn become a good world citizen that is more productive and efficient than it is today.