By: Aref Abdullah Al-Selmi
The largest Yemeni university – with around 100,000 students from all Yemeni governorates in different specializations – is nowadays experiencing its worst period as a result of political interventions in its educational process. This political split between the two most powerful parties, the GPC and JMP, is the main reason behind the university’s deterioration and continuous strikes. As a result, students continue to suffer.
When politics are mixed with education in a country such as Yemen, the inevitable result is an absence of stability and education. Each power will continue to fight the other by all means and regardless of the victims; this is the reality of Sana’a University, which has become a battleground for the GPC and JMP. The GPC wants Basarda and the JMP wants Aklan – up till now, we don’t know who the legislative head of Sana’a University is. The president appointed Basarda and because of the sit-ins against Basarda which took place during his absence, the Prime Minister appointed Dr. Magdi Aklan.
I’m a student at Sana’a University. I’ve suffered from its stupid policies from the first year and have continued to do so. Perhaps future generations will also suffer. Maladministration at the university and professors who don’t know their actual roles don’t help. They are always looking for their rights by way of strikes which continue for months ad end up translating into lost academic terms. They teach us the right thing and do the wrong thing.
The students can’t afford to deal with such a situation anymore. It’s enough for them to deal with the traditional curriculums and ways of teaching – they aren’t in need of further punishments or strikes. Why don’t the professors see the students’ situation for what it is? They too were once students and should know that students wish to complete their studies. Professors should understand their responsibility to the nation and its students; their rights should come after the student’s rights. In such a difficult situation, they shouldn’t suspend studies at the university.
President Hadi must make serious decisions in response to the university’s recent issues in order to allow the educational process to resume. He should do away with all forms of politicization of education, and any political manifestations at the university must be prohibited. Professors shouldn’t politicize the teaching process or serve their parties’ interests; anyone who does so should be punished, no matter whether he/she is a professor or student.
The university should only be for those who are seeking an education. Those who are looking for political engagement can find that outside the university. The president also must set specific regulations for the administration of Yemeni universities, just as universities the world over do by way of strategies, policies and other measures. First Armored Division soldiers should be transferred to their camps instead of being present on campus.
Finally, I hope from the university professors awake from their deep sleep, stop their strikes, unite for the sake of the educational process, and not allow politics to intervene.