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|Higher Education in Suspension: Difficulties and Disorganization|
(FOR YEMEN POST)
Article Date: December 22, 2008
Overcrowded classrooms, insufficient and ineffective staff resources, deteriorating infrastructure, inadequate educational materials and equipment, and low preparation for graduates, are some of the great challenges students face at the university level.
High education which is one of the most important phases of preparation to the practical future of the upcoming generation has been in a state of no movement towards the better, if not to the worse. Sana’a University, the premier national university in Yemen is also not up to the expectations and standards of a good academic system of good measures and organizational behavior, therefore putting education at all levels at risk.
One of the mainstays of any educational organization is the staff of which the professors are the most important factor.
Ali G., freshman in the Faculty of Languages, Sana'a University complained that the professors consider themselves over the systems and rules. He says that some professors come in the last 20 minutes of the lecture and teach what should be taught in an hour and a half. "Sometimes professors come and sometimes they don’t show up, depending on their mood", he says.
A large number of students complain that even though some professors are very knowledgeable about what they teach but still, they lack the academic skills of teaching and lecturing, specially the professors’ assistants which are assigned to teach subjects that they know little about. One reason for this is that doctors in universities are completely empowered in any decision they make, and are supported by the management even if it is against the rights of students.
Science faculties are in need of laboratories to apply theories through reality. Many faculties have laboratories, but the equipment is out of use and don’t function properly because of lack of supervision and assistance, them being old, expired chemicals, and even the loss of laboratory keys which in some cases takes half of the course time only to search for them.
Students’ overpopulation in classes is a big impediment that many faculties face as well. The Faculty of Commerce is a live example of the deficiency of classes that hold more than 300. Abdu.M. a student in the faculty says that the lecture room goes into chaos and nobody understands anything that is going around them. He also says that students can’t hear the lecturer because of the big number of students in the room. He adds, “It has been academically proven that the best number of students in a class is 20 to 40 students maximum so that a class can be effective. Unfortunately, it is very obvious that 300 students gathered today and gained nothing here in the faculty.’’
What makes matters worse is the schedule that prolongs 2 or 3 lecture that could take only 4.5 hours into 7 to 8 hours, due to long breaks and cuts between classes and lecture. Some students say that they roam around the university and have fun there for a longer time than they study, because it is a must that they stay for 8 hours when having 2 lectures. Other students think that the schedule should be changed to suit the importance of time instead of wasting it doing nothing but exploring other faculties. Instead of teaching students the importance of their time, this really encourages them to develop the nature of time ignorance.Higher education is overburdened with hindrance that would cause a crisis, and it is a real concern to everyone. Committees are formed and organizations have already started to improve and develop high education in Yemen, but still everything stays the same.