Private Education where to? [Archives:2008/1207/Community]

November 13 2008

By: Mojeeb Hamood Shubaa
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There are many different opinions about the education system in Yemeni society. There is some agreement that its experiment with modern education started during the sixties, after the revolutions of September and October in Yemen. The beginning of the education system was distinguished at that period by the variety of structures, frames and sources or beginning points.

Every year in the beginning of the school year, we notice that there are lots of private schools open here or there .The numbers of the private schools especially in the capital Sana'a have been increasing more and more so that we can say soon that the number of private schools will be as high as the number of public schools which are run by the Ministry of Education, or perhaps even more than them. Although the huge number of private schools are increasing daily, we have to wonder whether they are impacting of the sector of education in our society and supporting and contributing to the society and the quality of outcomes for pupils, or if it is only falling under the investment mentality to look for trade winnings without caring about the educational message of that learning foundations which they implement.

The publican Decision No. (11) was issued in 1999 to organize the rules for the construction or establishment of private education foundations. The clauses of this law state the general rules or conditions appropriate for giving permission for establishing as well as determining the supervisional committee in this sector by the Ministry of Education. The curriculum, entrance system and examinations at these foundations are specified in this law as well.

Here, the question concerning the situation of these foundations is, “Do these foundations (private schools) respect and engage the articles of the law? Or do they ignore and neglect that in order for them to pay sole attention to how they can raise the range of profits or winnings?”

If we could visit most of these schools which belong to the private or special sector and check the method of management for them, we would find that there are some positives to be found at several of those foundations such as the low number of pupils in one class. Whereas, at the public schools classes sometimes reach to more than a hundred pupils inside one class. Furthermore, most of the private schools start teaching foreign language such as English or French from the first grade of primary school. Because of the huge number of pupils at public schools, we are aware that the administration and staff suffer a large difficulty to observe their students and evaluate the performance level of the education process.

In fact, the difficulties which face public schools are endless for one reason or another, such as the late submission of syllabus books or the late arrival of some teachers.

In spite of some positives that have been found in private schools, we find clear faults in the quality of learning at such schools. They are supposed to try and correct and improve themselves to a higher level, not to be foundations looking only for investment profits, ignoring the noble objectives of the education message that urges development of the outcomes of learning. There's no fault in looking for investment winnings on the condition that this doesn't affect the learning process.

Here are some of conventions that most of private schools fail in. The law of private learning states that the private schools have to select a suitable building which must have all of the conditions to make them appropriate for use as educational foundations. However, we notice that most private schools don't care about selecting the perfect buildings, they only rent demographic buildings which aren't suitable for being buildings of learning. These buildings have no yard large enough for sports activities, no small hall for teaching the pupils the prayers. Sometimes these schools use the basement floor instead of the yard. Also, the narrow size of their classes are not suitable to be classrooms.

Selection of teachers and staff in private schools

No doubt that most private schools submit to the investment side to choose their teachers and staff. They look for the cheapest teachers who may have less experience. There are some private schools now which search for the best and the most qualified and experienced of teachers, but these schools are few.

Although private schools receive a high amount of fees, they give the members of their staff meager salaries and try to oblige their teachers to perform endless duties. The additional problem in most of the private schools is that these schools choose their staff from the school graduates who have little to no experience in teaching. And in spite of that, they are the ones who teach the first grades which need educated, qualified teachers.

The situation of the pupil and the teacher in private schools

We notice that most pupils who go to register for private schools are the students who couldn't find good luck at the public schools. So we find that they transfer into private schools in order to pass the examinations to get the certificate of success. They pay so they can succeed.

On the other hand, because these schools consider the teacher as a worker and the pupil as the customer, we find discrimination between the pupils and teachers in private schools. According to the private school system, the pupil is more important than the teacher because the student pays while the teacher takes. As a result, these schools are trying to adulate the pupils or students; this is the opposite with their treatment of the teachers, with whom these schools are extremely strict.

Finally I'd like to thank every private school that makes the education occupation a noble goal towards building a great generation, for they mustn't make the aim of private education to collect the fast winnings of money by any way. I appeal them to think well and review themselves, and to try looking forward to find great results in our future generation.