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The Yemeni Students revolution crossed the border The Yemeni Students revolution crossed the border
by Abdullah A. Ali Sallam
2013-02-21 10:32:27
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There is a new Arabic spring in Yemeni embassies that are standing up by Yemeni Student in many embassies abroad. It is hunger revolution. Some of the buildings have been shut down by demonstrations. Other students have threatened to go on hunger strike until their demands are met. The revolution have been started when the suffering of students is rising especially after global crisis that created harsh conditions for their lives due to high food prices, rents and transportation.

There are more than 6,200 Yemeni students are studying in 41 countries around the world who are studying several major degrees, Masters and PhDs. A Yemeni student only receives $340- 450$ per month but students from other countries receive double this amount. Yemeni students suffer in many countries. Their monthly allowance from the government barely covers their living expenses such as accommodation, transportation, and food. It certainly doesn’t stretch to other modern needs like a home internet connection, educational supplies, computers, and books.

One of student said to media “How can a Yemeni student be creative in his education if he has to spend his entire time thinking about how he is going to afford his daily food and rent, it is reality how to think about this when you want study”.

Because of the amount of aid packages, many students are forced to work and consequently do poorly in their studies, leading some students to fail their courses. This led the Yemeni Embassy to cut off funding and scholarships for those students.

Unfortunately, several embassies, governmental and Perlman had known this suffering but they didn’t do anything for students but on the contrary some embassies have been late disbursing stipends to students.

The most frustrating thing for students is the government failure to give them serious attention. The government has not managed to come up with any practical solutions for student issues and still maintains a traditional mentality toward their basic needs. It seems the government is unable to decide on how to approach the different needs of primary and post-graduate education.

Although every three months the Ministry of Higher Education pays $8,151,000 for all Yemeni students aboard,  it can be considered a little compared to the amount of money spent in the Yemeni embassies in corrupted ways.

The Yemeni government has a budget for tribal department around $70 million that goes for tribal Sheikhs and military commanders which is an increase of around $3 anda half million from the last government budget. Despite the large increase in the Government budget, but even one cent was not added to the Yemeni students balance abroad. Though the majority of tribal leaders are uneducated and the government is unable to thrift budget to help students and education for development. This is really a shame.

Corruption in Yemen has invaded  almost every institution in Yemen. Student protests  helped to uncover and bring attention to these  corruption issues in consulates abroad. It led to the change of some Officials in the Cultural Consulates abroad.

Recently, a study was published and mentioned the most important obstacles regarding students abroad which included five countries that have majority of Yemeni Students (Malaysia, Egypt, Germany, Jordon and Algeria ). It concludedthat there is random and numerous destinations of study and popular majors that aren’t conducive to development or the labor market and are a waste of public money.

The study that was supervised by associate Professor of Life Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne Switzerland Dr. Hilal Lashuel found that the troubles are result of an unclear vision for the distribution of grants, which are supposed to sponsor students whose goals should contribute to comprehensive development of the country. Contributing to these problems, the report said the fact that many students are chosen based on their connections and who they know at the ministries, not on competence and qualifications.

Also the study outlined several solutions. The first solution involves establishing clear criteria and transparency in the selection process of students, cultural advisors and their assistants abroad.

Moreover the process of calculating the costs of living overseas students have not been methodical  study of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific research. Despite this issue, it had been visited by many committees for students in abroad and listen to the suffering of students abroad finally the result of this visit without any change in the cost, as well as the recommendation to increase dues students finances without statement details about the cost of living, which often destroyed by the government, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Higher Education. There’s no specific mechanism for how to calculate these costs, nor is there any update to calculate the cost of living between now and then. There’s no commensurate with the high cost of living, economic crises or inflation in some countries. Thus, it continues to suffer student concerns abound to lose his resolve and ambition of scientific.

The study stressed the financial obligations the Ministry had towards the students and the need to send aid in a timely manner, as well as bringing together the Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance to solve financial matters.

It seems that the system of scholarship payment was designed before twenty years ago without any changes and considerations of world changes.

 Dr. HilalLashuel added that the Ministry of Finance must clarify their positions and assume their responsibilities to address the concerns of the students so that a solution is reached.

 “The ministry of finance controls all financial aspects of the higher education system in Yemen with limited autonomy to individual institutions and ministries. There can be no increase in student allowance without more funds from the Ministry of Finance,” Lashuel said. And he added “We should not mix up the issues. While it is true that ministry of Higher Education has not fulfilled its responsibilities and did not advocate for the interests of the students, today the solution to increasing stipends rest with the Ministry of Finance.”

on the other hand the revolution had started in government Universities against corruption inside this Universities and privatize higher education. 

This demonstrations had started when allows for the admittance of students with lower than acceptable grades at the university on the condition that they will study—often at a high cost—with private instructors until graduation.

The students accuse the college’s administration of refusing a decree by Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi that calls for a 50 percent cut in fees for parallel system students.

Many parallel system students at Sana’a University are calling for an end to a practice that they say poses an unfair financial burden on them.

The parallel system, originally adopted by public universities in 2004, allows students with grades that normally would prohibit admittance to schools to enroll in classes on the condition they study—often at high costs—with private instructors until they graduate.

However, students complain economic times are already tough enough without educational institutions requiring more from them. 

Unfortunately some students mainly depend on selling their mother's jewelry and their family's property and the lands in order to able to pursue their university studies.

Interestingly the parallel system is unlawful because it imposes financial fees on students, which contradicts Article 13 of Yemen’s constitution. This article stipulates fees cannot be collected unless there is a clear law that states determined percentages for fees and the way they will be spent. the parallel system does not fit this criteria, this is systematic corruption.

Also the parallel system is not based on scientific academic criteria and that the university has not seen the increase in funding garnered by the parallel fees go towards items for students.  And funds are instead spent on travel, rewards, incidentals and misleading forum and workshops.

The higher education in Yemen still has a long way to go, despite high investment in this level the staff-student ratios are not favorable, equipment and learning resources are very poor; high absenteeism among professors; no systematic process to review and update the curricula; shortage of laboratories and computers for engineering students. Also there is a need of a decentralized system for the utilization of funds

Most striking, the outputs of the higher education system do not correspond to the inputs. The resources from which it benefits – while low in absolute terms –are not out of line with other countries in the Arab world – and indeed are higher than many other countries at a similar stage of development. In terms of GDP devoted to higher education, Yemen comes out relatively well. But a constant complaint is that students are inappropriately taught and there is very high unemployment among graduates.

Yet even on the input side, staff: student ratios are very unfavorable, leading to a poor pedagogy and outcomes. Moreover despite apparently significant increases in the investment budget for higher education, much of the plant and equipment is very poor and quite inappropriate to teach the professionals of the 21st century.

 In addition Yemen universities have problems graduating students with qualifications needed in work life; many prefer theoretical studies. And Yemeni universities suffer from having limited or no research programs.

Yemen has one of the lowest attendance rates for higher education in the MENA region.

Higher institutions in Yemen suffer from shortage of qualified teachers, and all but a few institutions are poorly equipped. A very small number of young Yemenis go abroad for studies, about 300 to 400 every year. Many of these come from rich families, where there is a high preference for studying at foreign institutions.

Pointed Arab Human Development Report for the year 2003 that the quality of higher education in the Arab world are affected by many factors such as lack of visibility and the absence of clear policies governing the educational process and mentioned some of these factors such as the lack of independence of these universities and turned into an arena for political conflicts and ideological because restrict political action and encourage currents certain political power by the ruling

Moreover, the Government Ministry with ultimate control over universities is not the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, but the Ministry of Finance. Furthermore, there is no single or even coordinating responsibility for planning tertiary education. Several different ministries have related but uncoordinated responsibilities for the different institutions that provide tertiary education. This leads to waste and it means that decisions about the development of the system as a whole are made in an unplanned way

It seems that suffering basic of Yemeni students inside and in abroad of Yemen  are corruption and weakness of Strategic planning  so it lead them to make demonstrations which seek to improve their Situation in the high education,  moreover unless solves this problem  , consequently  it will effect of Yemen development and Future  because these students will lead Yemen in the future.

Knowing Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab region, though it is ranked 154 on the Human Development Index (HDI), which places among medium human development countries. Ever since reunification of the country in 1990 its relative position on the HDI index has remained steady, with very slow progress towards attaining the MDG goals. At 3%, the country has one of the highest population growth rates globally, with the population expected to double in 23 years to around 40 million. This increases the demand for educational and health services, drinking water and employment opportunities. Yemen faces a severe water shortage, with available ground water being depleted at an alarming rate.

Nevertheless Yemen has top corruption rate in the world. Yemen ranked alongside Cambodia as 164th among 183 countries and territories in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index. The index gave Yemen a rating of 2.1 out of 10, with 10 representing a clean state.

In fact problem in Yemen is corruption and the best remedy for the suffering of Yemenis is to engage in a severe fight against corruption until it is uprooted. Only then we could see better life for all people.

Finally whatever these youth are suffering,  they are considered as pioneers of youth and represented an inspiration to generations.


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Yemeni student 2013-02-21 14:03:11
thank you Abdullah , exactly you describe our feeling and suffering inside and aboard Yemen with Yemeni government even after Arab spring or before.

Leah Sellers2013-02-23 05:56:51
These Brave and Fine Souls are the Hope for Yemeni's and other Nations future Evolutions.
The corruptions they are Hungering and Standing up against are Ancient and rapacious rivals for the Better parts of Humanity's Soul.
This is a Cyclical cycle which can Be won. But it will take the Convergence of the Attentive Wills and Souls of Humankind to Do so.
My Prayers and Best Thoughts are with You and these Brave and Fine Compatriots for a Better and more fulfilling Future, Mr. Abdullah.

Victim 2013-02-23 11:45:27
Thumbs up Mr.Abdullah, that was really the exact situation of Yemeni students abroad. It's well described and captured.

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