Seminar on Higher Education [Archives:1999/48/Culture]

November 29 1999

Yasser M. Ahmed, 
Yemen Times 
The Consultative Council, in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning and Development, organized a seminar on higher education from 23-24 November, 1999. The conference was chaired by Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulghani, chairman of the Consultative Council and Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Sofan, Minister of Planning and Development. 
A number of papers pertaining to higher education were presented at the seminar in addition to various interpositions made by members of the Consultative Council. Majeed Abdulrahman AL-Qobati and Mr Hussein Mohammed Al-Ahjari presented a paper on higher education at present and in future. The paper concentrated on higher education and its contribution to providing a work force for the government sector. The paper contains two important researches. The first one is on higher education policy and work opportunities in state institutions. The second research was about the participation of higher education in meeting the needs of governmental institutions. Until August, 1998 the number of employees in the administrative apparatus and in the public and mixed sectors who have university degrees was 67,400, 16% of which are women (i.e. 12,500). Employees with university degrees comprise 16.7% of the 404,000 employees in the administrative institutions and in the public and mixed sectors. 29,000 of the administrative institutions’ employees have Diploma Degrees. 24,100 or 83% during the years 1990-1998 are university graduates. 
Some papers discussed internal and external problems faced by technical education. There are only two industrial technical institutes, while until now there are not any technical institute in any other area of this field of education. This has led to imbalance and failure in one of the most important sectors of the Yemeni work force. Against this state of affairs there is an increase in university level study which means that there is a slow development in vocational and technical education. This will reflect negatively on future development plans and programs. 
Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al-Hadrami, professor of strategic administration, faculty of commerce, Sana’a University, presented a paper titled “Higher Education; Ambition, Reality.” It concentrated on the problems of technical education and the absence of direction and control in the higher education system. The paper showed that higher education in Yemen is relatively new since it began in 1970. Up to 1999, there are (15) universities and (111) faculties in Yemen. 
The way to overcome the crisis of higher education lies in working out an ambitious and realistic strategy defining trends and components of higher education and its long-term objectives. 
Dr. Amatt’alrazaq Ali Mohammed, associate professor in the faculty of education, Sana’a University presented a paper saying that only 28.4%. of females receive higher education, a proportion constituting a very small percentage if compared to the number of females of the population eligible to receive higher education. Females prefer to study at the theoretical colleges because it requires that they study for fewer years than what is required of them if they study at scientific colleges. 
The paper confirmed the necessity of females studying in technical education to benefit from their productive abilities as an important condition for social and economic development. 
Dr. Mansour Yassine Al-Ademi, vice-dean of the faculty of commerce presented a paper on finding solutions for higher education in Yemen. He pointed out that the problem of higher education was embodied in two things; an increase in the number of scientifically qualified human elements versus the needs of the employment market, and non-sufficiency of the working human element, especially in the state administrative apparatus and the public and mixed sectors. The main factor of this problem is population increase and the inability to provide job opportunities at a rate equal to the population increase. 
He recommended that we have to stop establishing new colleges of human sciences, and give independence to academic studies. 
Dr. Ahmed Sohail Haddain presented a report concerning foreign scholarships. The report pointed out that scholarships should be awarded in different fields which are not available in Yemen. It discussed the obstacles of foreign scholarships due to the increase of students who go to study abroad. This problem is attributed to: 
1- Absence of general policy for higher education. 
2- Delegating through non-governmental parties. 
Dr. Nasser Al-Olaqi, president of Ibb University presented a paper titled “Study on Yemeni Private Colleges.” He highlighted the private universities which were established up to 1997-98. There are 8 universities, which participated in exploiting the increased numbers of high school students. These universities participated in improving and developing the social and human sciences. 
Dr. Bader Al-Akhbari presented a paper about problems of academic education. Dr. Ensaff Abdo Qaseim, presented a paper about woman’s position in academic education, and Dr. Mohammed Abdulmajeed Al-Qubati presented a paper about reforming and developing academic education in Yemen. 
Dr. Hassan Al-Salami, member of the parliament, provided an interposition asserting that establishing developed higher education requires following new technology and its development. Regarding scientific research, he affirmed that financial assistance must be available in order to achieve new development. 
Dr. Abu Bakeir Al-Qerbi, member of parliament has talked about higher education saying that the state should issue legislation, control and observation. Universities should have independence, be financed by state and administrated by society. 
Dr. Hameed Galop Ali Al-Khofagi, dean of faculty of agriculture, Ibb University believed that scientific research is very important in developing societies and in the economic and social development. He pointed out that scientific research achieved major successes in the industrial, medical and agricultural fields. He requested more support for consultative centers, and to make a special budget for scientific research.