“It is unfair; the first semester has almost finished without any trip. If they prepared a trip for us before exams, we would be encouraged to study well,” said Amal, a student in secondary school.
Both male and female school students wait impatiently for school trips, as it gives them a breathing space to get out of a curriculum crowded with burdens and examinations. School trips play a great role in shaping students’ personalities and developing their knowledge and behavioral skills by giving them access to new places and cultures. It enables them to contact their colleagues outside the school framework as well as plays a role in breaking the deadlock of the curriculum and connecting students with the nation’s issues.
A study by the Travel School Forum proved that school trips are one of the things school children look forward to most during their school life, and the experiences and memories from them are extremely durable. A school trip with its dynamic environment provides a learning venue that matches their natural inclination to know more about things and engage even those with short attention spans and puts the learning subject in context. According to the study, in addition to the multitude of evidence, there is much anecdotal support about the benefits of outdoor education experiences; teachers, for example, often speak of the improvement they have in relationships with students following a trip. School trips are an important part of the wider family of outdoor learning opportunities, all of which provide beneficial outcomes to children with a wide range of abilities and issues.
Teacher Asma al-Ariqi says that the deterioration of education in Yemen is because students are studying without applying what they learn and most of them drop out of school. “It is because of the lack of practical application and field visits. The well-planned out-of-classroom activities, which include trips, not only enhance pupils’ learning but can also re-engage those who are hard to motivate. Additionally, they are necessary to ensure equal and full access for all learners by removing any barriers.”
Al-Ariqi added that there should be a link between study and reality, and when schools make field visits, students feel that it is not obligatory and find fun for learning.
According to teacher Samah Mohammed, some teachers believe that school trips are a waste of time and it is better for students to stay in class and learn lessons. “They are wrong because field trips are not to parks and farms only, it can be educational trips to museums, popular markets, archaeological sites, and other places related to lessons and curriculums.”
Ahmed al-Mortadh, a father, said that school trips are prepared randomly, especially in public schools and when they are organized they are only short trips to parks. “Diversity of school trips is very important. Trips have to be educational to expand knowledge and entertainment to renew students’ vigor and vitality.”
Hanan Hidrah, the headmistress of Amneh Bint Wahb School, said that entertainment and educational trips are very important for students but the current situation of Yemen prevents schools from making any trips for the safety of the students.
Hidrah said that yearly the school organizes two trips in two semesters; one is for entertainment and another for education. “This semester we made only the educational one because parents themselves refused to send their children on trips because of the situation.”
Mohammed al-Qulaisi, teacher in al-Rasheed Modern School, a private school, and the school’s website admin, said that students learn from watching, touching and the transition from abstract to concrete.
Al-Qulaisi said that the school organizes four entertainment trips for the lower grades and two for the upper grades. Educational trips are determined according to the teachers’ plans and the students’ needs.
The Ministry of Education doesn’t have a compulsory list for school trips and trips aren’t even included in their evaluation of schools.
“Actually school trips are organized according to the school’s plan and not by the ministry office. When the Ministry of Education comes to evaluate schools they don’t care about trips, they only care about activities indoor, not outdoors,” Al-Qulaisi added.
According to Al-Qulaisi, the problem is the large number of students in classes that make it difficult to prepare trips. “It is not the responsibility of the office, it is the responsibility of everyone. For example, the private sector has to contribute and organize with the schools to make trips.”
Hopes increased with the Yemeni Prime Minister Khalid Bahah announced that 2015 is a year for education in Yemen in an effort to support education, but still terrorist acts destroy Yemenis hopes and dreams.