WhispersAt least three things! [Archives:2005/855/Opinion]

June 30 2005

Fahmia Al-Fotih
What are your memories of your school days? Do you remember school as fun, boring, exciting, a time to be with friends?

Everyone has his own memories weather bad or sweet about school. I, myself, started learning my alphabetic under a tree in small village and then I went to school to which I had to walk for long hours to reach the school that was on the top of a mountain. It was hard for child to cross that distance. So I think you agree with me that was not nice and. So I can hardly remember my class or teachers. However, after passing many years and have a look on the educational system and the environment the students study in, the situation is not different and seems pessimistic.

Last month UNICEF organized a trip for the members of Tofolati Forum, whom I belong to, and represent different mass media in Yemen to visit some schools in Sana'a outskirts particularly “Sanhan” district. The main purpose of the visit was to see the locations on which UNICEF intended to build and repair some schools in this district within the program of encouraging girls to enroll to schools as well as to evaluate the real situation of the students live in their schools.

Mr. Nasim AL-Rahman, UNICEF representative, accompanied us and he was asking the students various questions among which one question attracted me and clang in my mind. That question was “Can you list three things that you like about school?” Students were silent for a while when Hussein, one of students answered hesitantly “First I learn to read and write. Second Then he stopped thinking about number two and three and he was scratching his head and he couldn't find any more reasons for loving the school. How can Hussein love the school and he could not find the beautiful image he has about school? How can he love the school and he could not find a seat and sit on the ground instead and in a crammed place that look like the prison cell? How can he love the school and could not find his basic needs, no place to get water or healthy food, no yard or wall gathers him with his friends to play, and no toilets. Moreover, how can he love the school and he sees monster-like teachers who always hold sticks in their hands, horribly shouting at him and treat him as animal? These so-called teachers lack for knowledge and proper teaching style, and they cannot understand the psychology of the young children and how to deal with them appropriately and help them in their first steps. But these teachers are good at giving these little students much homework.

Mohammed, a 6-year student, refuses to go to school every morning. His mother has to take him everyday to the school and waits for him till the end of his class.

Roqia, a student in 3rd grade, told me that she hates her teachers. When I asked her about the reason she angrily said “They cannot explain and make us understand”

Unfortunately, for these reasons and other our children hate the school at the fist sight and from the first day.

As we went away from the capital the situation gets worse and worse. The big shock was when we were told to visit another school but what we found could not be called school at all. What we found was a small room on the edge of a mountain and there was partition divided the room into two classes. There was not any indication of existence an appropriate educational environment.

Nadia, 9-year girl, said about the school she dreams of “I want to have the school like the ones I watch on TV. I dream to have my own table and chair and watch the cartoons drawings on the wall of my class. I wish if there was sports I can practice, painting and music lessons.”

By these short simple words, Nadia innocently expresses the simple dream all the children have.

Our children are the pillars of tomorrow but today they are deprived and they need all the hands of their society to get together and help them to live and study in an appropriate environment that ensures them all their needs to be good and successful citizens. Let's make their dreams come true and let's make their childhood memories be the sweetest.