Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Yemen: Concerns Over Changes in Educational Curricula on Confessional, Sectarian Bases | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A boy skips at a school in Yemen’s capital Sana’a sheltering people. Photo: Reuters

Aden – Yemen’s rebel groups are about to introduce core amendments to school programs on “confessional bases”, well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The sources said that the Houthi rebels were attempting to amend school curricula to better reflect their own ideologies and distort the confessional and sectarian balance that prevailed in Yemen for many centuries.

According to the sources, the newly appointed minister of Education in the rebels’ government in Sana’a, Yehia Badruddine al-Houthi, is seeking to implement major changes in the educational programs by removing some religious texts (Prophets’ sayings) and replacing them with other texts that better expose Houthis’ beliefs.

Simultaneously, Prime Minister of Yemen’s legitimate government, Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, ordered the printing of new copies of school books, after several years of halt in book printing, amid concerns over the future of the educational system in the wake of Houthis’ control over the Education Ministry’s administrative body.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Yemeni Minister of Education in the legitimate government, Dr. Abdullah Lamlas, said that the government would not amend any of its school programs, but would print new copies of books in March and November as usual for the first and second terms of each year.

The minister noted that amendments sought by the Houthis were based on confessional criteria, and did not benefit Yemeni students.

“Those changes are totally unacceptable”, he said.

Lamlas stressed that the educational books, which were printed in 2014, were the main books on which school programs would be based.

He added that the government was keen on developing the country’s educational program by introducing a comprehensive national vision, away from sectarian and confessional considerations.

In this regard, Lamlas said that a workshop was held in Aden last week in the presence of academics and schoolbooks writers to discuss the means to develop the educational program to keep pace with the fast educational progress worldwide.