Illiteracy Eradication: Abortive Official and Public Efforts [Archives:2001/38/Culture]

September 17 2001

Farouk Al-Kamali
Yemen Times
The nations of the world have successfully accomplished getting rid of computer technology illiteracy, while the Arab countries, including Yemen, still do their best to get rid of illiteracy in writing and reading. It is certain that we will remain in the dark. Not only because our economy is deteriorating, but also because we don’t take care of people and we haven’t achieved human development in all aspects of life. The majority of the Yemeni people are still illiterate, particularly the “Big Guys,” general managers, and half of the members of the Parliament. The worst of it is that the tribesmen themselves are not able to read a letter properly whereas they could do other things successfully such as exploding pipelines or kidnapping foreigners. It is embarrassing to our government to try to get rid of illiteracy after all these subsequent governments, particularly after the 26th September Revolution up to this moment, and therefore the attempts are in vain. We are threatened by the huge number of illiterate in the Arab countries. According to the international level concerning human development issued from United 
Nations Program, the number of illiterate have reached 59.8 million in 1985 in the Arab countries. The number is subject to increase to 65.5 million people in 2005. In Yemen, the number of those who wanted to join illiteracy eradication programs has decreased to 65.1 percent. The number of Yemeni children between 6-15 years old has reached 4,580,000. Of this number only 2,847,941 join schools, while the number of the students who don’t go to schools have reached 1,732,059. A symposium was held by the National Organization for Illiteracy Eradication titled ” together for illiteracy eradication” on Al-Saeed Cultural Hall in Taiz last week. Ezz Al-Deen says “The notion of illiteracy is modifiable. It can be modified with the passage of time. Two decades ago the issue of the illiteracy was accepted by the majority of the people, while the notion of the illiteracy is rejected by nations. The progress of any country is measured by its human development in all aspects of life in culture, sciences, and economics. With some other countries still under the yoke of its illiterate rulers, the number of illiterate people is horrible. The world has changed in all aspects of life and we as Yemenis are still preoccupied with the packet of cigarettes and the bunch of qat. The world has achieved dramatic shifts in technology and information while we as Yemenis still watching space world channels not for one or two hours but for tens of hours. But this is not enough; they are also wasting time chewing qat. If we think deeply about the possibility of these hours, how they could be well-exploited to get rid of illiteracy by educating the male and female adults. Undoubtedly, the results would be satisfactory. We still dream as Yemenis, of good free education, or at least a very simple school to our generation. Nevertheless, Yemen is still underdeveloped culturally, socially, and economically.
The establishment of an illiteracy eradication body can exert a lot of effort in the field of getting rid of illiteracy in our country. ” Illiteracy centers are not adequate and the teachers are not highly qualified enough and therefore they receive low salaries.” Fawzia Noaman said. “I wonder why we bear the burden of general education and yet, we don’t have even one school with good teachers. The country is unable to do as that of the French woman,Odeil Juli do in Al-Makha. She could integrate the illiteracy eradication program with the Ministry of Health. She also trained girls from Al-Makha and from remote places like Al-Wazeaia and Thubab. She provided all facilities for the trainers.”, she added.
Showki Al-Kadhi, the Chairman of the National Organization of Illiteracy Eradication, sees that the problem of illiteracy eradication is disappointing. The potentials are poor in quality and the number of drop-outs from schools is remarkable. ” The government has no interest at all in getting rid of illiteracy, with the absence of coordination and the public interaction.
Others see that the main cause of illiteracy is poverty. To get rid of illiteracy we have to get rid of poverty first.
In conclusion, we thank Odeil Juli for her exerted efforts in the field of the illiteracy eradication.