The troubles of the Yemeni citizen are growing and amplifying from everywhere that he finds himself exhausted from keeping up with it or unable to confront especially if they appear at once in the absence of the role of the state and society in protecting him. The situation of the university learning in Yemen has become a nightmare for most of the students as a result of the financial pressures imposed on them by the university.
“I feel as if the university is opposing my ambition to study.” This is how Ahmed Emad (a pseudonym), a student at Taiz University, expresses his suffering due to the high tuition fees, regardless of the deteriorating living conditions and the current economic crisis witnessed by all people in the country.
Ahmed Emad started his academic studies away from his parents and siblings because of the financial burden of his learning that he feared would add a new burden on his family which has a poor income. He traveled from the Aisha-Sabr area to the city center of Taiz, to search of a job that covers his learning needs and living expenses.
However, Ahmed realized that he was facing serious challenges more than he could bear in order to complete his studies. Indeed, he is waging a fierce battle to reconcile the work from which he receives money for his studies and the study itself, regardless of the scarcity of the wages he receives. "I really can't keep up with my shift at work and reconcile it with my commitments towards my academic lectures, so I'm forced to be absent from the university for periods ranging from a week to a whole month!" Imad said burningly describing the extent of his suffering.
Yemen does not have a system through which loans are provided, like other countries, to students who cannot pay tuition fees, so those with limited or below average income - and here the average per capita income is estimated between 150 and 300 dollars - are forced to drop out of school or bear the pressure of working to cover their studying expenses.
Tuition fees in public universities are allocated according to the type of the studying system in which the student is enrolled. There are three schemes of education; the first of these is the general system, and it is considered one of the most difficult systems, as the student cannot be admitted to it except after passing an exam that measures the student’s ability to keep up with the specialization he/she selected and the capacity to master it. Accordingly, Tuition fees range from $10 to $25 per academic year. There is also the parallel system and the private system, and their costs are estimated according to the type of specialization. For medical specialties, they may reach up to $2,000, while other specializations are estimated between $80 and $500.
Ahmed says: "What makes me more frustrated is that the quality of education has begun to decline little by little, due to the deteriorating situation in the country in general, while the tuition fees continue to rise." He also pointed out: "My colleagues and I are forced to join training courses to fill the gaps that the university leaves for us."
On the other hand, Nabiha Ahmed narrates her suffering regarding the learning costs imposed by the university, another student who struggles with the hardships of studying on one side and the pressures of the learning expenses on the other.
Education in the past
In the past, students did not have to pay all these sums as a result of receiving education. Rather, the Yemeni government used to take care of everything related to the financial aspect of education, in addition to the various scholarships it provided, such as comprehensive, medium and partial scholarships, whether for national students or students from outside the country. However, with the deterioration of the situation in Yemen as a result of the current war, education has become a commodity that is sold to whoever owns its costs, even in the simplest matters, such as the organization of the graduation ceremony for students of a certain department, as students must search for a businessman or someone who has money to sponsor the costs of organizing the ceremony in exchange for placing his company’s logo and announcing the sponsor name among the invitees.
Nabiha told Khuyut about an exploitation trick carried out by the university saying: "The university administration told me that they are ready to make a deduction of four hundred thousand Rials, thus the total fees I have to pay for my study becomes: one million nine hundred and fifty thousand riyals. However, they raised the studying fees up to the equivalent of two million four hundred thousand riyals."
It is worth noting that there is exploitation practiced by employing the deterioration of the local Yemeni currency in favor of the university, by imposing new fees, regardless of the student’s poor living condition and the extent of his ability to provide for his livelihood, which has become hard to obtain.