When Youngsters Can Lead Change [Archives:2000/03/Focus]

January 17 2000

Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi,
Managing Editor
We have been always repeating sweet an resounding phrases that youngsters are the power-house of energy of our nation. In fact, they are its future builders. This is fine. But what is more incongruous and inconsistent is that these phrases do not match with anything concrete and tangible. There is always a very wide gap between the word and the reality.
One of the vital ingredients of the success of nations is that there is always a match between what is said and what is done. But for us it is the reverse. We speak too much and work very little. This is actually our predicament.
We always shrug our shoulders and speak very proudly of our ‘glorious’ past. We hail at our bygone great achievements. We forget the fact that there is no match between our past and present. Our past was glorious but our present and future is uncertain and is full of despair and setbacks. What matters should be the present situation, not the past. We should live up to the challenges of the present moment. We should be fully aware of what is happening and what is to come rather than things of the had.
It seems that I have strayed away from my main point. This is because I am very much against giving much magnitude to the past and forgetting our present situation.
My main point in this respect is our youngsters. They are not really conscious of what is happening around them. To drive the point home, due to shaky educational system, they seem to be not educated; they are just literate. There are a good number of Yemeni students who join universities and then leave them without acquiring any useful information. They do not have adequate information to make the positive agents in the society. Some of the university teachers tend to make education examination-oriented. That is, students are given certain material to memorize and keep by heart and then reproduce them in the exams. This is the point at which the educational process terminates. Understanding seems to be exception in our education process. Therefore, because of such examination-oriented study, our students forget what they have memorized very easily because the aim was merely not to understand but to pass the exams and obtain a certificate in any way.
I was awfully appalled when I found that there are university graduates with distinction and they don’t know, for instance, that Germany was divided into two countries and then was reunited. Another university female graduate doesn’t know that Yeltsin is the ex-president of Russia. The problem is that she graduated with distinction. Not only that. Such students do not have even any idea of the current situation in Yemen, either political, social, economic or whatsoever. It seems that they have never read any book or a newspaper. They are of a very shallow culture and education. This is disconcerting and disappointing.
A person in this technological revolution era is valued by how much knowledge and information he has so as to be able to interact with the ongoing business around him. I feel really sad for our society to find that around half of the British children can handle and work on computer and internet while hundreds of Yemeni have heard about the internet. The gap is very wide, isn’t it?
It is virtually well-known that well-informed people are more likely to be able take sound decisions that are of great impact on their lives. It is well-educated people who can lead the helm of development of their nations. Mentally handicapped people can never be a tool of change and effective figures who can render something of value to their societies. Our youngsters should be the means of change and therefore, they should have exposure to good education. Once our youngsters are well-informed, change becomes possible.