Teachers in the private school (part 3) [Archives:2008/1219/Community]

December 25 2008

By: Mofeed Aljaad
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After discussing the difficult obstacles and financial problems facing private school teachers, I shall explore the reasons behind these problems. Through this final article I would like to inform the reader of my primary aim in writing this series on such an important topic.

My purpose is to clarify to Yemeni people the significant status of teachers within society, exposing the problems faced by private school teachers so as to help those concerned find an appropriate solution to such problems.

However, ambiguity remains surrounding who is responsible for the miserable conditions facing private school teachers; is it the government, or the private school itself? In fact, the government holds responsibility for assigning teachers their status, and is also responsible for the private education system, as it is the institution to which it is concerned.

Before the beginning of this academic year we heard that the government intends to fix a suitable salary for teachers in the private sector; a decision which was met with a sense of relief and happiness among those affected.

However, by the start of the academic year it became apparent that this was simply government rumor, leading these teachers to believe that the government is unconcerned by their predicament. In many respects, the government can be seen as the entity responsible for the state of the education system, and even teacher status in the private schools.

Firstly, the government has failed to solve the huge unemployment crises currently facing Yemen. As a result, unemployed university graduates are exploited by the private schools, who offer them pitiful salaries in an effort to maximize profits. With few other options, these graduates are forced to accept such poorly paid work. Moreover, the schools under the auspices of the government lack much that is essential to the successful running of a school, such as qualified teachers, text books, and even suitable classrooms. The extreme class sizes within the public sector further hinder the education process. As a result, parents are wont to register their sons and daughters in the private school system, in an effort to provide them with a better education.

Secondly, if the government were to provide the public school students with all the facilities and materials that they need, there would be far fewer private schools. That is to say, if education in the public school system was better than that found in private schools, parents would opt not to register their sons and daughters in private schools. When a friend of mine, who completed his preparatory and secondary education in the U.S.A, told me that there are no private schools in New York City, I was shocked. He then told me that the American government employs all its university graduates and provides public schools with the requisite facilities, at which point I understood why this might be the case.

Thirdly, despite the fact that government has the right to determine teacher salary and education system in the private school, it is yet to take any legal action toward implementing this control. Therefore, blame can be said to fall squarely on the shoulders of a government which continues to neglect the public education system, and so increases the popularity of private schools which are currently picking up the slack.

Ultimately, I have nothing to say but to extend my appeal to the Yemeni authorities to look seriously at the miserable conditions of private school teachers and take legal action to protect teachers' rights, as it is they who are the pillar of education.