Universities & Scientific Research [Archives:2001/14/Culture]

April 2 2001

Imad Al-Saqqaf
Farouq Al-Kamali
Yemen Times
The current time is undoubtedly characterized as a time of knowledge and technology. Scientific research has become a basis for the progress and development of nations. Universities are generally centers for research and researchers. But this is not the case in our county, where there is a wide gap between universities and the society. The role of universities as centers of scientific research is lacking.
So much is being spent on purchasing luxuries and laying foundation stones for projects that never see the light of the day, while there has been no specific budget to support research activities. And there seems to be no interest in it neither on the side of the government nor on the side of the private sector. No researcher training , no modern laboratories, no research centers, no big libraries, and no atmosphere for creativity in universities. To come close to the reality of our universities, we contacted a lot of them to highlight what they offer in this vital field.
“Universities are available as research centers,” said Dr. Saleh Ali Basorrah, Rector of Aden University. He said that a lot of research in connection with society is done at the university. “There are 23 programs for higher studies and each student must do a research. The university includes five specialized research centers: Research and Yemeni Studies Center, Women Research and Studies Center, Environmental Studies Center, Science and Technology Center and English Studies and Translation Center, all of which focus on research activities and training courses. During the past five years, the University organized more than 50 science seminars one of which was the International Seminar on Socotra. In addition, the university publishes three science magazines and more than 40 books every year,” added Basorrah.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Mujahed Rector of Dhamar University said that Dhamar is one of 7 government universities that has, since organized 6 conferences on an Arab level. Among the topics discussed were water shortage, the role of dams in the development, and the problem of kidnapping.”
About the reasons for the absence of universities as centers for scientific research, Dr. Basorrah said that the relation between scientific research and development is week and that the role of the universities is limited due to lack of resources. Dr. Al-Mujahed Rector of Dhamar University believes that the reason is not the weak role of universities but rather ignoring the recommendations and results of research and seminars.
Vice Rector of Hadhramaut University Dr. Salem Awadh Ramodhah spoke highly about the constitution for encouraging research and urging the government to provide all the means to carry it out.
“Unfortunately even the main universities do not play the proper role in guiding research,” he said. He added that the results have never been trusted and dependable enough to make a change because they lack organized group participation. In addition, research has not been guided to the priorities of social problems and at the end it lacks the financial resources.
Professor Abdussalam Al-Jawfi, Vice Rector of Ibb University listed a number of missing facts when talking about the scientific research. These are:
1- Human resources at universities
2- The level of libraries and the services they offer
3- Laboratories
4- The inexperience of the Yemeni cadre
Without the first three factors one cannot talk about scientific research. The teaching staff do not have time to develop or improve the scientific research because they are busy either in teaching or in administration.
About the future of the scientific research, Dr. Basorrah believes that improving the scientific research requires the following:
1- Allocating a specific a mount of the budget to support scientific research.
2- Outlining a national strategy for the needed research activities.
3- Improving research centers through a planed study.
4- Treating universities as authorities of scientific consultations.
5- Promoting teachers who are active in the field of research and improving their living standards.
6- Improving the National Information Center and connecting it with universities.
7- Financing the important research which will address the social problems.
8- Paying more attention to the intelligent and talented students
9- Facilitating and improving publication system.
10- Providing more chances for participation in regional and international scientific conferences, etc.
Dr. Salem Ramodhah said that improving the level of scientific research requires improving the situation of researchers. “Research must be given its full time like in all universities in the advanced countries. In our country it takes very little of the teacher’s time. The financial resources for research must be also backed up,” he added.
During the inauguration of the Science Conference 2000, Dr. Al-Iryani, Prime Minister highlighted the impatience of scientific research in the development of nations. Thus, a central research center is a must to outline strategies for research to be done by universities and other research organizations. There should be also a general reform movement to the education system including developing the curricula.