Universities’ Students Demonstrate The Government Intends to End Academic Education [Archives:2001/36/Reportage]

September 3 2001

The General Administration of the Yemeni Universities represented by the prime minister Abdul Kader Bajammal issued a number of decrees concerning the university admission for the scholastic year 2001-2002 which seems to fight high education and make it a difficulty in front of the Yemeni youths who are most belonging to families of limited incomes. Bajammal’s new decrees surely intending to fight high education instead of encouraging the Yemeni youths to continue their high study to join the current revolution of technology and the high speed moving wheel of development which hovers all over the world.
First of all Bajammal decided to raise fees of helpless students to 100% to reach the total sum of YR. 8000.
The unbearable fees imposed by the new cabinet have been approved against a judicial verdict which indicated illegality of such unreasonable procedure because the poor students cannot endure to satisfy the greedy of the new government. Wonders how the cabinet is daring to raise the fees of high education while the country is passing throughout sever economical crises, which directly affected the life of the people of limited incomes.
Could the cabinet be planning to privatize education or just intending to force students to forget about high education?
The second decree, the new cabinet brought to the students cut the dream of those who scored less than 70% of the total degrees to join the university. What the cabinet is planning for majority of students who graduated during this scholastic year is something miserable. Did it first plan to provide for them junior colleges, institutes of vocational training and technical education?
According to Bajammal’s new policies, the poor students who cannot afford to pay fees of the public universities are better to join for example the University of Science and Technology or Queen Arwa which are private enterprises only requesting the sum of USD 500 to let them in.
Those who are not sons of senior officials or ministers and merchants should not try to continue their study or dream to have their post the only place that is welcoming them without requesting money is the street.
The third decree made by Bajammal is the demolishing of the distance learning, which affected the interests of the students of poor families who are forced to work while studying. Should this class also be banished of being poor or they do not have the right to be educated as the rich.
The fourth decree made by Bajammal is closing the doors of the faculties after reaching a humble number of students in each while the rest are kicked out. Hundreds of students are deprived from their right to join the university due to Bajammal’s decree, which never thought to find solutions to the growing number of the students.
So Bajammal made the students compete in a race of determining ones fate and future. The finish line was the registering desk and the loser is the one who misses the card of admission to join the university.
The first lesson the students get to know by their senior lecturer Bajammal is how to participate in chaos and that the life is for the fittest.
Bajammal does not only teach the students how to compete in a race but how to be skilled in dealing with the law of the jungle when people should struggle to survive as animals in the forest.
What the nation should inspect out of students who joined the university as using forged documents, mediations and bribes and what the evil force that forced them to do so.
Ali Mohammed Hassan al-Uwardhi, student of Arabic & Yemeni Students Union, said “There has been a 50% increase in the registration fees which is strongly objected to and renounced by the students union. The union confirms that this is an aggressive action with the framework of illiteracy policy adopted by the government. Ultimately, the targets of this unfair decision is the members of the poor section. Most of the poor citizens could not afford this unjust increase and were ultimately deprived of education.”Regarding the existence of registration committees from the union in university, he said “They are to help facilitate registration of fresh comers, giving them assistance and guidance.”Mohammed Abdulrahman Ali al-Mataree, GPC said “There is no increase in the registration fees this year. This increase incurred some trouble for some students who could not afford them last year. However the university could cope with these problems and granted those who are unable to pay some more time.”Abdulqawee Ahmad al-Ghaishanee, Islah, said “The increase for this year reached 100%. Last year the registration fees were YR 2500 while this year they are YR 6050. Islah considers this as the knock-out for education. This is an aggressive action taken by the Supreme Council for Universities. We do not know if the purpose is just to extort money from students. This increase has made a great number of students, especially those of the low-income pull out from registration being unable to pay these fees. Obviously, this will have a negative impact on education in general increasing the level of illiteracy which is already high.”On the university’s attitude towards the union’s committees, he said “The university does not approve of activities of these committees, especially as the Presidency of the University is chaired by the GPC.”Ahlam al-Wahdee, Students Registration Committee member, YSU, said “It is a pity to say that many students were deprived of joining the university due to this flagrant violation of students’ right.”Amer Mohammed Ali, Faculty of Arts, English Department, said “There is no basis for this flagrant increase. It is nothing but a way to embezzle students. However, I do not think the university budget is weak so as to extort money from students. This increase is nothing but a more burden, suppression, limitation to be borne by students.”On his view on the registration committees, he said “The purpose is to practice parties system in the university. It is a partisan race within the university which has a wide negative outcomes. It is of no benefit except for giving some information on the registration measures. I do prefer unpartisan committees which one can deal with away from the political conspiracies and pranks.”Regarding his opinion on the level of education in university, he said “The level of education in the university is backward and deteriorated within the anarchy of law and order. Law is only applied on the weak and who have weak connections. However, well-connected persons know no laws or regulations.
I wonder if we will reach the time when measures are taken to back up students and not to burden them. The University Presidency has to understand that students are giving up education which is a very dangerous omen for the whole country. If this is the first action of the new government for this year, I do wonder when the university education is going to be called off.”
In Taiz, many demonstrations were staged objecting the increase of universities fees. Farook al-Kamali from YT Taiz bureau wrote the following report:
Last Monday, a student demonstration was staged from Taiz University to the governorate headquarters. The demonstration was to object to the decision of the Universities Supreme Council to raise the minimum registration grade to 70%. Protested students considered this as aggressive and unfair posing a great hazard to students, especially as there are no alternatives for the university education.
Abdulrahman Mahyoob Yahya, with 69.75% grade, said “This decision will ruin the university education, and not reform it. I anticipate that the high unemployment rate will further go up which will be the breeding ground for violence and crime.”Ashraf Abdu Mohammed said “I draw a blank. I do not know what to do. Neither governmental universities accept us nor can we afford fees of the private universities. The only technical institute in Taiz is only for those who have connections. It is actually a very complicated situation in which we have no room.”The Supreme Council for universities had taken a firm decision to raise the minimum registration grade to 70%, calling off the distance learning. Though this decision will alleviate the pressure on the universities, it neglects those graduates with low grades. It was a wrong decision resulting from wrong policies adopted. Now many students will not be accepted in universities. Students in turn will be renounced by their families as they have become useless. They are also rejected by the market as they are with no qualifications.
This makes us wonder What a future is awaiting them?!