“Secondary school graduates must not teach without prior proper qualification.” [Archives:1998/29/Culture]

July 20 1998

Two prominent Egyptian professors have just visited Yemen. They were here to give lectures at Sanaa University and the High Institute for Police Officers both of which they visit three times a year.
The ties of these two professors with Yemen go back to the early days of the country’s fledgling republic when Egypt was assisting Yemen in its modernization.
Mohammed Bin Sallam of Yemen Times talked to them and filed these interviews.
Dr. Fouad Mohammed Al-Nadi, professor of law at Azhar University, is one of the first professors sent by Egypt to teach at Sanaa University where he worked until 1982.
Q: What is the purpose of your visit to Yemen?
A: I have come to teach general management and information systems as a visiting professor at the High Institute for Police Officers.
Q: What are your impressions now of Sanaa University?
A: In the early 1970s, the college of law at Sanaa University had only 700 students. Now there are over 15,000. Things have changed for the better not only in Sanaa, but all over Yemen.
Q: How does the level of education itself compare now with the time when you first came in the 1970s?
A: There is really no comparison, at least in terms of numbers. This is also true in terms of resources and capacity which were very limited then.
The quality itself must be good, because when Sanaa University graduates come to Cairo to do higher studies, they show a great ability and succeed in attaining good grades with distinction.
Q: The primary and secondary education, however, are in a bad state. Won’t this affect the educational level of university students?
A: There are several reasons behind the deterioration in primary and secondary education in Yemen. Many people are appointed as teachers without having the necessary qualification as educators. Maybe the reason is financial.
The country needs teachers, but has no resources. So, secondary graduates are asked to do their national service by teaching. This is a big mistake in the country’s educational policy. To become a teacher you must be a qualified teacher. Otherwise, the whole education system – from primary level to university is threatened with deterioration.
Dr. Hassanain Obaid, professor of criminal law at Cairo University and the deputy rector for the Bani Suwaif branch of the university, also taught in the law college at Sanaa University during 1976-1980.
Q: What was your role in developing Sanaa University’s law college when you worked there more than 20 years ago?
A: I spent some of my most precious days here in Yemen. They were good years. Sanaa University had few colleges then. Now it has expanded quite a lot, in addition to the recently established universities in Taiz, Hodeida, etc.
I was partly instrumental in the establishment and growth of the College of Sharia and Law.
Q: Who are the people you taught at university who have now become public figures?
A: In those years, I taught Yemeni students who went on to become very prominent figures in the country’s public life. I do not want to give names, lest I should forget some. But quite a number of my students have become ministers, senior police officers, and high ranking officials in government.
Many of them have come to pay their respects. It is very dear to me to be remembered by my Yemeni students and colleagues after all those years.
Q: What change have you noticed at the College of Law?
A: First and foremost, of course, there is a new building. We used to teach in the older premises.
Then there is the growth in numbers. There are now 100,000 students in Sanaa University, and 15,000 alone in the College of Sharia and Law.
Also, the great majority of the university staff are now Yemeni. When I first came here in 1976, there were many Egyptian, Iraqi and Syrian university professors. Few Yemenis.
Q: How do you see the future of the High Institute for Police Officers?
A: There are now the High Institute for Police Officers and the Police College. I think these are doing fine, but the next logical development is the establishment of an institution for higher studies that combines police technical studies and academic legal studies.
It is essential that a policeman should be well versed with the laws. It is the main tool of his profession.