President of Aden University to Yemen TimesAden university surmounts centralization [Archives:2004/731/Community]

April 22 2004

Ridhwan Al-Saqqaf
President Saleh's Decree No.7, 2002, ratified the loan agreement between the Government of Yemen and Islamic Bank for Development to finance the establishment of a Faculty of Engineering at Aden University, in addition to erecting buildings for a Hospital for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Faculty of Pharmaceutics, the Faculty of Administrative Sciences and a university dormitory for female students. this comes as a dream come true for the citizens of Aden.
In the light of this construction and the development achieved by Aden University, Yemen Times, represented by Radhwan Al-Saqqaf, Director of Yemen Times Office in Aden, visited the President of Aden University, Dr. Prof. Abdulkareem Rassa, and conducted the following interview.

Q: Since your appointment in September 2003, what have been your first steps at the university?
A: First off all, I welcome Yemen Times. I began to get acquainted with 18 different faculties and 12 science centers affiliated with the university, 1500 members of the teaching board and 2200 administrative staff. I have visited 17 of the faculties and next week I will visit the 18th faculty in Yafa.
The University Presidium has laid a strategic working plan starting with decentralization and devolving authority to the faculties' and divisions' councils, since they are the core of the university. All previous decisions in the past were centralized.

Q: What about the current development and modernization process which as we hear received the approval of the teaching board and students of Aden University alike?
A: That is true, we have laid down a strategy to reform Aden University education with regards to academic and higher studies for scientific research. Concerning students' affairs and the general secretariats for financial and administrative affairs, each sector is carrying out their mission perfectly.
Measures to reform academic affairs, educational technique and modernization and the evaluation of curricula were in place, and had been updated, since these curricula had been taught for 30 years. We are currently conducting a workshop at the Faculty of Medicine to change the curricula of the Pharmaceutical, Dentistry and Medicine Divisions of the faculty.

Q: What about higher studies in the university and foreign relations?
A: The higher studies at Aden University are distinguished from all other Yemeni universities in terms of higher studies programs and bachelor and doctorate studies, as well as in terms of the organization of internal and external scholarships. The University has opened channels with Arab universities in Qatar, Sudan, Syria and United Arab Emirates. As far as students are concerned, we have a plan to install a network to facilitate exam programs. These are in the frame of correcting the deficiency of control programs, which must be preserved for confidentiality and justice among students. We began developing and updating the curricula of the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Literature and the Faculty of Administrative sciences and now are preparing and changing curricula. There are direct channels to enable teachers to become professors.

Q: In the beginning, you expressed your joy at the decree of President Saleh to establish a Faculty of Engineering. Could you elaborate on this educational structure?
A: Following the endorsement of President Saleh, approved by Parliament in its latest meeting, of a 9,790,000 USD loan from the Islamic Bank for Development, a consultation company has been selected and the rest of the companies will be published. The construction of the project will last three years.
In the light of the close attention shown by President Saleh, the preliminary studies have been prepared following the directives of President Saleh to the Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, six months ago, to establish an educational hospital for the faculty of medicine in an area of 5500 square meters, consisting of 400 beds, on the premises of the university at Al-Shab City. There are also directives of the President of the Republic to build a pharmaceutical faculty and dormitory for female students.
The Faculty of Engineering, with a capacity of 4000 students, will reduce the number of students dispatched abroad and consequently reduce government expenditure by millions of USD.
Work is proceeding to complete the literature faculties at Loder and Zenjubar, in Abyan and Shabwah Governorates respectively.

Q: What attention is being paid to academic woman?
A: I am very much interested in the improvement of the situation of academic woman at Aden University. We have a female chairman for a division in the Faculty of Economics, at the Faculty of Medicine an undersecretary for hospital affairs and a woman is on her way to becoming a dean during the next period. The woman now competes strongly in academic work and sometimes excels in many scientific fields.

Q: What about the culture at the University?
A: Many cultural activities have been carried out at the university through hosting major Arab poets such as Sulaiman Al-Aisae, who was honored by the university, and Arab novelists Abdulrahman Al-Rabeae and Leila Al-Othman.
We also have a plan to host a number of pioneering Arab writers, poets and intellects. We have opened contact channels with Western European countries. Aden University has received and invitation from a network program at a French university to visit France. There is German and French support for cooperation with the university and an agreement has been reached with Britain to grant four scholarships in economics and political science. Some teachers have visited America, as well as opening of contact channels with Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. These are some of paths for international relations.

Q: What are difficulties and obstacles facing you?
A: Of course, there is no work or success without having to be confronted by some difficulties. Thank God, we have overcome major obstacles due to the attention and care exerted by President Saleh and the Prime Minister.

Q: do you have a final statement to conclude this interview?
A: We have put an end to centralization inside the university, and through your esteemed newspaper, I would like to point out that appointments do not take place through the President of the university. Job opportunities are rather, whenever available, through specific divisions and are regularly announced in newspapers.