Almotamar.net - More than seven million Yemeni girls and boys started on Saturday the new school year. In addition, it is expected that about 800,000 children will be enrolled in the first primary grade, according to the Ministry of Education.
In cooperation with UNICEF and other partners including USAID’s Responsive Governance Project (RGP), CHF International and Save The Children, Education Ministry has launched a nationwide Back-To-School campaign aimed at increasing the number of children going to school and reducing dropout during the school year 2011-2012.
“Given the government's commitment to provide access to education for all children of school age, the ministry is working now with partners on the implementation of the Back to School campaign to ensure all students are back to school nationwide and mainly in the affected areas,” said the Minister of Education, Dr. Abdul-Salam al-Jawfi.
The Back-to-School campaign seeks to increase access to schools and reduce dropout during the school year 2011-2012 by raising the awareness of communities about the value of education and importance of sending children to schools, the distribution of learning teaching supplies to 885,750 displaced persons, host communities and vulnerable groups, in order to make sure they do not fall through the cracks, as well as training more than 4000 untrained or poorly trained teachers to be able to impart quality education as well as psychosocial support.
Despite many challenges seen in many parts of Yemen today, sending children to school should be a top priority for parents, communities as well as the government. Towards that end, a national emergency committee and field taskforce teams are on the ground in different regions working continuously for accelerated implementation and follow-up of the campaign.
“Without an educated population, no country thrives”, says UNICEF Yemen representative Geert Cappelaere. “In a country where only 70% of boys and 60% of girls receive basic education, no effort should be spared in making sure every single child is sent to school this year. Aside from the provision of supplies and training of teachers, we try to achieve this by raising the awareness of communities on the value of education and importance of sending children to schools, especially girls.”
On another note, RGP Acting Chief of Party, Mehboob Karim believes that the comprehensive media campaign on TV, radio, newspapers and other publicity materials will effectively contribute to raising the awareness of parents throughout Yemen about education, and encourage them to send their children to school.
“Our engagement in the implementation of the campaign was to raise the profile of education and establish an effective partnership with the Yemeni government, international organizations and civil society organizations,” Karim said. “The media awareness campaign was skilfully crafted around chronic and emergency issues including girls’ education, child labor and armed conflict.”
The teacher training program – as a major component of the Back-to-School campaign - represents an attempt to improve the quality of education, a fundamental pillar for sustainable development, according to CHF Country Director, Roberta Contin.
“I would like to stress the importance of implementing such capacity building interventions in regions with emergencies where teachers are set to provide psychosocial support for children aside from traditional education”.
The Minister of Education emphasized that the campaign cannot achieve its full potential of increasing rates of enrolment without real cooperation from all stakeholders at national and local levels.
“Education is a collective responsibility for everyone,” said Minister Al-Jawfi. “We urge everybody to make sure that all our school-age daughters and sons are back in school by 17 September. We also appeal to political parties, community organizations, and the media and mosque preachers to enthusiastically engage during the campaign and ensure that access to education is guaranteed to all children without any exception.
“We are confident that teachers and educators will be at the level of national responsibility and will always provide the appropriate atmosphere for a smooth scholastic year,” Al-Jawfi concluded.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has appealed member states and civil society organizations (CSOs) to provide humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, especially medical supplies to cope with the big number of injured as a result of the military aggression.
The Secretary General of the OIC Iyad Madani said, in a statement issued Monday, that the OIC is holding consultations with several civil society organizations that have consultative status in the organization to provide food and medical and humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday reminded all sides to the conflict in Yemen to ensure that attacks resulting in civilian casualties are promptly investigated and that international human rights and international humanitarian law are scrupulously respected during the conduct of hostilities in the country.
In addition to hundreds of fighters, at least 364 civilians are reported to have lost their lives since March 26, including at least 84 children and 25 women. Another 681 civilians – possibly more – have been injured. Dozens of public buildings, including hospitals, schools, airports and mosques have been destroyed in airstrikes, through shelling and other attacks.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has renewed his country's desire to resolve Yemen's crisis in Yemen through talks, revealing that his government urges Iran to play a role in bringing various Yemeni parties to the dialogue.
In his statement issued Monday, Sharif said that his country wants to resolve Yemen crisis through talks.
He added that Islamabad urged Tehran to play a role to bring conflicting parties in Yemen to the dialogue table, the official news agency of Pakistan quoted the Prime Minister as saying in a statement.
Professor Feaqa al-Saeed Ba'alawy, Assistant Secretary-General of the GPC, chaired a meeting of the civil society.
The meeting discussed a number of issues and challenges facing the country, particularly the Saudi brutal aggression on the country.
The UN secretary-general has said that two weeks of Saudi-led air strikes against Yemen, “have turned an internal political crisis into a violent conflict that risks deep and long-lasting regional repercussions”.
Ban Ki-moon on Thursday told reporters that he was urging all countries in the region to go beyond national priorities and help the Yemeni people, saying “the last thing the region and our world need is more of the chaos and crimes we have seen in Libya and Syria”.
Two planeloads of medical aid landed in Sana'a on Friday.
The planes were sent by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The UNICEF plane contained almost 37 tons of medical aid, which "will be delivered to the Ministry of Public Health and Population, to distribute them to hospitals in the needed areas," said Mohammed al-Asadi, the communication officer at UNICEF.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) demanded on Thursday to hold neutral investigations with all members in the Arab coalition forces attacking Yemen led by Saudi Arabia to find out if there are violations of war laws and to take the necessary procedures.
In its press release, the HRW expressed its deep concerns over war laws violations, noting that the airstrikes led to the killing of at least 29 civilians and injured 41 others, including 14 children and 11 women in Al-Mazraq refugees camp in Hajjah governorate in addition to medical facilities, a local market and a bridge.
Iraq and Iran confirmed on Thursday the importance of halting military operations on Yemen, expressing their concern on the consequences of the Saudi aggression on Yemen.
The statement was made during a meeting by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi with the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Salim al-Jabouri in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, according to Fars news agency.
The European Union (EU) has called the conflicting parties in Yemen to avoid targeting civilians and infrastructure in the country.
In joint statements made by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, they condemned targeting hospitals and destruction of homes, schools and basic infrastructure, saying such acts are unacceptable