The Missing Link! [Archives:2000/13/Viewpoint]

March 27 2000

During my stay in The Hague, Netherlands, I noticed that the world is changing; it is indeed improving, and improving rapidly. I saw the tall buildings, the new roads being built. The constructions never stop. I was amazed to see how these constructions go hand in hand with planting more trees, and improving the environment. The Dutch were able to have an industrialized cities covered with green parks and millions of tall trees. Whenever I leave my country towards Europe, the USA, or even neighboring countries like Jordan and UAE, I realize that the gap between my country and the mentioned countries widens. During all my visits I tried to compare between these countries and Yemen. I wanted to know why they Ðsome, which have less resources- continue to develop and were they able to surpass my country. In my travels abroad, I realized that these countries share something in common, I believe that that very thing is the reason of their success in building modern states with modern infrastructures. I finally arrived to the conclusion of the missing link. Even though there might be so many missing links, the missing link I am talking about is of much greater significance that it should be emphasized and put separately. If that link is not gained and put together with the rest of the links, the country would continue to be held back in the process of modernization. 
The missing link is our children. Indeed, raising children appropriately is the right step towards development. If you look at any developed country in the world you would realize how strong its education system is. These countries spend millions and trillions of dollars to raise a healthy, educated, and intellectual generation. Children are the basis of the future. And more than 60% of a child’s behavior is a consequent result of the education he/she gets at school. 
Sometimes, when sightseeing cities such as New York, Rotterdam, or Dubai, I become jealous and want my country to have such modern tall buildings and clean and wide streets. But even if we were to build these buildings, construct these fancy roads, and establish clean green parks, without building our children’s future through education, we will go nowhere. If we truly want our country to develop, we should start by educating our children. We should allocate as much as 50% of the overall budget to education of our children starting from first grade. We should teach them morals, sciences, and educate them in a manner close to idealism. This mechanism will work even if the children do not get the same education at home. On the contrary, there were incidents when children will be going back to their homes and influence their parents as well. We must not forget that studying at school is not a matter of reading books only. The school should be the second mother of a child. It should guide him to the right way of behavior, it should teach him how to treat others and how to respect himself and others. Schools should be the place where a child gains his personality and where he is taught the good morals that would make him a good world citizen. 
Strong education of children is the common thing I noticed available in all the developed countries I have been to so far. They realized that without taking good care of the children, their country’s achievements would not continue, and may simply collapse. We in Yemen are yet to realize the importance of educating children. To those who think that this is a long-term project I say, “There is no short-term solution that could get Yemen in the twenty first century along with developed states. There is no such thing as immediate solution, and Yemen can’t turn to a modern state by night. It is our children whom we should work hard and focus on. It is they who can do it.”Indeed, if we start from today, we can guarantee that within no more than 20 years, Yemen would become much better than it is today. The clock is ticking, and time is passing. As I always said, starting today is better than starting tomorrow, and starting tomorrow is better than starting next week. Do the leadership and government have the commitment to place the first stone in building a new Yemen by paying more attention to educating Yemeni children? 
Oh, how I wish they did and how I wish they would…. 
Walid Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf              
Chief Editor