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 UN envoy to Yemen confirmed on Monday that the consensus of the participants in Yemeni peace talks held in Kuwait on bringing peace makes reaching a solution possible.
"There is no doubt that there are significant differences in views, but the consensus of the participants to bring peace makes it possible to reach a solution,” the UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement issued after the talks session Monday.
“There are only two options; either to continue the war or to consult and make concessions in order to achieve peace and all parties should assume responsibility for their decisions,” the UN envoy added.
The Saudi-led coalition has continued to fly intensively on the skies of many provinces, including Sana'a, Taiz, Mareb, Sa'ada, Mahweet, Lahj, Hajjah, Shabwa, Hodeida, Jawf.
A military official said the Riyadh's hirelings targeted the army and popular committees' sites in areas of Beer Basha, al-Khalel in Khadir district, in Jahmaliyah, Klabah, al-Salal and 40 Street in al-Dhamgah district in Taiz with light and medium weapons.
Moreover, the Riyadh's hirelings pounded the army and popular committees sites in al-Shabakah area, al-Ghawi Mount and al-Ain Mount, al-Jurf Mount, al-Shuqairah valley, Hasanat area with mortars in al-Waze'yah district of Taiz, according to the official.
The army and popular committees sites were also targeted by the mercenaries in Nehm district of Sana'a province.
In Mareb province, the hirelings bombarded the army and popular committees sites in al-Mashjah, Hilan Mount, al-Rabiah in Serwah district with medium and heavy weapons.
The Saudi fighter jets dropped flare bombs on different areas of Razeh district in Sa'ada, he said.
The hirelings pounded also areas in al-Ghail and al-Moton districts and targeted sites of the army and popular committees Aibar valley in Jawf with light weapons.
The national delegation in Kuwait met on Monday with ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the European Union (EU).
The meeting reviewed the conduct of the consultations over the past days and the reasons for the lack of progress in the negotiations, topped by the non-compliance of Saudi Arabia to the ceasefire.
At the meeting, the national delegation stressed that the consolidation of the cease-fire is the key factor for the success of the ongoing negotiations in Kuwait.
The delegation pointed out that the continuation of war and aggression and the other party's disavowal from his responsibilities was the reason for delaying the arrival of the delegation members to Kuwait.
The national delegation demanded pressure toward the success of the negotiations through the implementation of the first item, confirming its keenness on the success of the political process based on consensus and not exclusion.
A new talk session between the national delegation and Riyadh's delegation was held on Saturday in Kuwait.
A Yemeni military communication and coordination committee and UN army experts participated in the session to brief the delegates on their activities and the difficulties they face in their work to make sure the cease-fire is respected.
In the presence of UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the talks continued to discuss the cessation of hostilities, in addition to review the general framework of the talks.
In the session, the UN envoy suggested to issue a statement supporting the ceasefire, which was accepted by the national committee. However, the Riyadh delegation rejected the proposal.
The ceasefire committees in Jawf province signed on Friday a document detailing a mechanism to establish the ceasefire in all fighting fronts.
in a copy of the signed document, which included several terms, the most important are: ceasing fire in all fronts in the province, stopping military mobilization and reinforcements in all fronts, observing the ceasefire by the concerned committees, placing a mechanism for the direct communication between the two parties, halting all acts of detention in the public roads, completing measures for prisoners swap and releasing detainees, allowing humanitarian and relief works and opening roads.
Ansarullah official spokesman has said that the desired solution must be inclusive dealing with all issues.
"We do not want a piecemeal a partial solution. We want a comprehensive solution includes all issues to go to sound solutions," Mohamed Abdulsalam said in the opening session of the peace talks kicked off in Kuwait on Thursday.
He expressed reservations about the continuation of the airstrikes and the five points, which he said "were not clear either in their sequences or content."
He said that they held a dialogue with Saudi Arabia to make Kuwait talks successful, stressing that they will deal positively to come out with an obvious solution leads to partnership.
The talks was supposed to start three days ago, but the national delegation refused to leave Sana'a on time.
Abdulsalam said that the delay was because of the war that has not ceased. "The reasons for the delay are the continued air raids [on Yemen] and the ambiguity in the talks' agenda."
He appreciated the role played by Kuwait and the facilities they offered to succeed the talks.
Head of the General People Congress (GPC) delegation confirmed that the GPC is keen on the path of peace and dialogue as it does in 2011.
A delegation consisting of representatives of the General People’s Congress (GPC) and Ansarullah headed on Wednesday to Kuwait to partake in the dialogue called for by the United Nations.
In a statement to media before departing Sana’a International Airport, the official spokesman for Ansarullah Mohamed Abdulsalam said the delegation’s first purpose is the success of the dialogue, despite the continuing bombing and blockade.
" We are going to Kuwait to prove to the public opinion, the Yemeni people and the army and popular committees everywhere that we are keen on achieving the security and stability,” Abdulsalm said.
He confirmed attending the dialogue, despite the reservation, which came in the delegation’s letter to the UN envoy, about halting the military acts and about the ambiguity in the UN agenda.