YALI teachers still demand their right to a formal solution [Archives:2007/1098/Local News]

October 25 2007

Fatima Al-Ajel
SANA'A, Oct. 28 ) The Yemen American Language Institute, or YALI, Teachers and Employees Union assured in a statement that teachers still are demanding their rights from YALI administration and further denied reports that they are preparing their own language institute.

Administration officials are calling on the teachers, who remain on strike, to return to the institute. Director Greg Olson states, “I'm still contacting some teachers individually and asking them to return to the institute. We have a new plan to solve the matter in coming months and there are new contracts with teacher requirements.”

However, Wajdi Shief, head of the teachers' representative committee, says the contract problems remain unresolved. “We've only heard from other people that there are new contracts with teacher requirements, but as head of the committee, I haven't received any formal letter about them,” he maintains.

He wonders why YALI administration didn't inform the committee of such news, especially if there are new solutions for teachers, as claimed. “As a committee, we require YALI administration to deal with the issue formally and solve the problem legally according to Yemeni Labor Law. I think this is a normal right to demand,” Shief comments.

Attorney Khalid Al-Anisi, who represents the teachers, notes that the contract issue isn't a big deal that YALI administration couldn't solve for this long. He explains, “The teachers have the right to require a formal response from YALI administration, but right now, there's no communication between administration and the teachers' committee.

“It's difficult for the committee to deal with an administration that has no competence to make a decision about such problem,” he continued, adding that it's better that the two sides find a natural solution to the problem as soon as possible.

There have been reports that, due to the teachers' sit-in, the committee will establish its own language institute. While Shief affirmed that there is a new institute, he stressed that it doesn't represent YALI's teachers union; rather, it's the private business of several teachers who have the right to start such a business.

“I hope the new institute will create better quality teaching in Yemeni institutes and develop Yemeni students' skills and abilities, especially since there is a lack of quality institutes,” Shief remarked.

The union says that if YALI administration refuses its demands, it will continue legal proceedings and called upon all concerned authorities, civil community and human rights organizations to stand by its side. “We'll make it a public issue. We initiated proceedings with the International Syndicates Union, but I can't publish any news about that until everything is fixed,” Shief noted.

He expressed his sorrow at the situation at YALI. “The strike plays a role in this matter, but if the administration is serious about solving the problem, all sides – teachers, students and administration – will be satisfied,” he concluded.