University students’ distraught over interrupted education [Archives:2007/1094/Local News]

October 15 2007

SANA'A, Oct. 10 ) Education for students in government universities are likely to be disrupted end of October because of a probable professors strike. The teachers had been demanding an improvement of their conditions for the past two years from the Universities' administrations, Ministry of Higher Education, and Ministry of Civil Services. In the course of their protest they had gone on strike several times which significantly hindered education of university students.

End of October was the deadline for concerned authority to improve government university teachers' conditions. The teachers' syndicate had had a meeting with the higher education council headed by the prime minister end of last month in order to understand why their demands for better salaries, pensions and academic and economic independence have not been met yet.

“We are going to continue protesting until we are given what we asked for. The committee said that they will solve the problem by the end of October, and although we feel optimistic we will wait and see,” said Prof. Eqbal Al-Ales representative of Aden University referring to the committee created to deal with the teachers' demands.

However, the other side of the story lies with the students who feel they have been put between a rock and a hard place. For although they sympathize with their teachers they still suffer from the continuous disruption of their academic year.

The latest strike the professors carried was on May 2007. This was not the first one, nor does it seem the last.

“The professors told us to do what it takes to pass the exams, although we did not get much teaching done. It was like they left us on our own to deal with the exams without being taught properly. We students are the ones who suffer in the end, “said Sara Al-Tayeb a faculty of commerce graduate.

Eventually students depend on themselves to do the studying, most don't attend lectures because they know that there is always the possibility that they will not find their teachers. During the strike a lot of students used to come and wait everyday for hours, some got bored of coming everyday and decided not to attend anymore.

During the last teachers' strike, students also went on strike in order to put pressure on the decision makers including the teachers themselves. However it was “a waste of time” as they called it and they don't think they will do it again.

A second year student doing business administration at Sana'a University said that some teachers did not go on strike because they were not involved in the university teachers' syndicate.

“Because we were at our first year at the faculty, we had different groups which was useful, if our doctors didn't attend, we attend the lecture with another doctor of another group. The situation was some how stressful especially for those at higher levels who suffered more than us,” he said.

Prof. Sauad Al-Sabia, Head of the Arabic Language department, faculty of Education at Sana'a university commented on the latest strike that some teachers went on strike while some refused because of the benefits of the students.

Dr. Al-Ales commented on the negotiation process: “We are negotiating with the Ministry of higher or university education and the Ministry of Civil Services. We had a meeting with the Minster on Oct. 7. We do care to find solutions for our problems