Retirement and Yemeni universities: a problem in need of solutions

National Yemen

Students Protesting at Sana'a University

By: Dr. Sua’ad Salem Al-Saba’a

It seems that just about everybody in any of Yemen’s universities complains about the spread of corruption and the demand to uproot corrupt individuals. Although they all reject corruption, no results can be found in reality. You couldn’t call me pessimistic if I said the whole situation is getting worse and that corruption is spreading in Yemeni universities like cancer spreads through a sick body. The real problem is that university officials still aren’t sure that this is the right time to cure this illness; meanwhile, honest employees are stuck somewhere between fear and disability. It is sorrowful to see these honest people being fought against everywhere, while corrupt officials and employees remain always on top.

The complications of corruption in universities are many, but the least talked about regards retirement. Retirement is a normal process all over the world, but in Yemen those that can will allow it for themselves before others. In other countries, employees have no concerns about retirement, as they feel like they have worked enough and that they deserve a salary that enables them to enjoy the rest of their lives away from work.

In Yemen, however, the case is not that simple. University employees strongly fear retirement and consider work to be their only source of income. This problem is the main reason behind having hundreds of names on payment lists and only few employees receiving such payments in reality.  Reports show that only 30% of Sana’a University employees show up for work, while the other 70% show up only to take their salaries. This absence is certainly covered and hidden by fake documents which serve as ‘proof’ that they were on duty all month long. Such employees do not cling to their posts for the sake of work, but rather they cling in response to the fears about retirement and leisure after retirement.

Such people do not reveal their real age and so go through illegal procedures that differ from one time to another simply to avoid leaving their positions. They do not realize that age is reflected on their faces and in their ability to work no matter how much they try to hide it.

A real crisis that results is that opportunities are not left to the creative youth to take real leaps at university. There will be no chance for renewal and refreshment if the employees are old and they keep their positions to the last.