Sana’a University heeds student demands after five-day sit-in [Archives:2008/1185/Local News]

August 28 2008

Almigdad Mojalli
SANA'A, Aug. 27 ) An official from the General Union of Yemeni Students at Sana'a and Amran Universities has announced that following a five-day sit-in, Sana'a University's rector has heeded the demands of protesting students.

The demands included raising the enrollment capacity, decreasing the required high school grade point average (GPA) and adding 125 seats to the public system of the Faculty of Science, all with the goal of increasing student enrollment. Sana'a University administration also has accepted registering 200 more students in the public system at its Faculty of Commerce and Economy and 300 in the parallel system. According to a statement by the General Union of Yemeni Students, university administration canceled 1,865 seats in the public system and 104 in the parallel system, thereby decreasing the university's capacity and causing the students to protest between Aug. 19 and 25. Ridwan Masoud, head of the General Union of Yemeni Students, claims that the university is restricting access to education for less privileged students by decreasing acceptance rates in the parallel system and raising those for the public system. He adds, “The required fee for a single Yemeni student in the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy is $2,450 annually, which restricts the access of less financially able students to these scientific specialities.”

Masoud also warned of the university's procrastination in enrolling students seeking to enter the Faculty of Education in Arhab. Student enrollment has been suspended since Aug. 18, which, according to Masoud, will lead to “big problems” because the faculty has registered only 300 students thus far while the required number is 1,250.

The protesting students also demanded the university administration announce the results of admissions testing for 1,365 students, who must score more than 80 percent in order to enroll in the Faculty of Computers. Delaying the announcement of their results will cause these students to lose the opportunity to register at other faculties.

Every year, Sana'a University witnesses sit-ins and demonstrations during its registration period. Last year, clashes between students and university security guards resulted in injuring two students, which prompted the General Union of Yemeni Students to demand the university administration replace its military guards with civil ones.

When contacted by the Yemen Times, Sana'a University refused to discuss this matter.