Written By: Mohammed al-Kibsi
Article Date: Jul 28, 2010 - 5:06:01 AM
Funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and implemented by the Academy for Educational Development (AED), the Student Council Project establishes and activates the student councils in some governorates of the Republic of Yemen (Amran, Shabwa, Marib, and Sana›a). The project creates a partnership between the Parents Councils and Student Councils as well as building leadership skills among students and develop their level of understanding and implementation of the principle of democracy and voluntary work.
The elected students’ councils along with the parental councils and school’s councils take part in designing the schools’ strategies and activities. They also take part in deciding the expenditures of the schools’ budget.
This project aims to equip students with the following skills: Action plans for school activities and events, service their community, raise funds for school activities and mobilize their peers to address issues pertinent to youth and local community. As well as other issues (such as health, environment and personal safety). And encourage students to have an active role in their learning and spreading of the principles of democracy.
The Academy for Educational Development (AED) provides guidance through field visits, workshops, training courses, supplies and materials needed for school activities.
The program involves the students, school principals, home room teachers, school activity supervisors, social workers, and parent councils.
The project set up a bylaw for student councils. This bylaw was issued on June 10, 2008 under ministerial resolution number 421 with the approval of the Ministry of Education. For the importance of this topic the President of the Republic of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh highlighted in his speech addressed to the government schools his endorse and support to involve the models of democracy in the education system and the importance of democracy and its role in the stability and development of Yemen.
The Student Councils Project promotes the values and concepts of democracy and tolerance of responsibilities by training students in grades 6-12 to form class and school councils. And strengthen the partnership between the student councils and fathers› and mothers› councils.
The Dean of the Academy for Educational Development Dr. Mahmoud Saeed Mujahid said that the main objectives of the program include, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and all types of planning;
Emphasize the importance of volunteerism, initiative-taking, self-reliance, communication, and Cooperation with others;
Exposing students to democratic approaches and principles o participation and instilling in them respect for diversity and differing viewpoints;
-Improve the relationship between students and school administration, teachers and the local community.
The project has achieved remarkable success since its establishment. Dr. Mahmoud Saeed categorized the achievements of the project for the years 2007-2009 as follows: Introductory workshops of the student councils project for the educational offices officials at the targeted governorates level;
Introductory workshops for schools ‘administrators and school social workers;
Formation of 99 student councils;
Introductory workshops of the student councils for fathers’ and mothers’ councils; Formation of 25 parent councils in the Sanaa governorate;
Workshops for exchanging experiences between schools ‘administrations;
Training workshops for students councils to make an action plan for student activities;
Training workshops for parents to create a partnership between the student and parent; councils;
Participation of the student councils in the summer centers in 2009;
Meetings between the student councils in the Amran and Sana’a governorates to exchange experiences among themselves;
Passing of the Ministry of Education bylaw which institutionalized student councils in Yemen’s education system and raised awareness of the project at the official level;
Creation of a “how-to “ manual for students with instructions and templates for forming their own student councils;
Designing trainers’ manual.
Minister of Education Dr. Abdul Salam Mohammed aI-Jawfi talked about the project and said that based on the scope that education is the key to the change and progress sought for nations and people, and its role in public and private lives, the political leadership is convinced that education is substantial, the core and base of the development’s process, and to realize the magnitude and extent of the role assigned to educational institutions and attention given to the youth and young generation, His Highness the President/ Ali Abdullah Saleh personally inaugurated the democracy nurturing day on the eighteenth of September 2004, speaking to public schools’ students about the importance and need of democracy for stability and development, democracy principles’ education, reflecting the democracy behavior when handling public and private issues, and how to express their views to achieve and consolidate belonging and loyalty towards the country and unity.
Dr al-Jawfi continued to say to reflect this approach, the Ministry of Education launches elections process in the schools beginning of each academic year with the Government’s support. The Prime Minister, leadership of the Ministry of Education and the leadership of the local authority represented by Governorates’ governors all participated in the inauguration process. “The latest step taken was the directing speech delivered by Dr. Ali Mohamed Mujawar- the Prime Minister to the students on Sept. 20, 2007 through the media, emphasizing on the democracy approach applied in our country, and the attention on the democracy values to be raised among the youth,” said the minister. He said that media shown great interest in this process.
”Throughout following this process’s activities, we observed rapid development each year, and the need for a systematic framework to assist the educational institutions in implementing the elections’ process in schools through organized and thorough procedures as a part of the educational process. The instructions of His Highness/ Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic - may God protect him - always emphasize on the importance of democracy practices in the community through raising awareness on democracy practices that believe in both opinions and promote educational dialogue, tolerance , abolish violence, race, sect and regional fanaticism in all forms and kinds, this will enhance love among people, and reflect meanings of national unity and social peace, away from practices that lead to create divisions and groups aiming to damage the democracy practice,” said Dr. al-Jawfi.
talking about the bylaw al-Jawfi said the issuance of the students’ school councils bylaw with its contents of principles, objectives and procedures reflecting the general orientation of the country in consolidation of democracy principles and values in society is an irreversible option. “It will be the legal reference that assists educational institutions in implementing the elections process, it promotes educational values and democracy concepts in schools, avoids educational institutions to pitfalls of using names or practices that do not achieve the educational goals and objectives, enables to make the school environment more lively and attractive for our children and helps to discover and refine their talents and creativity in all areas,” said the minister.
“Thanks and appreciation to all who contributed in preparing this bylaw, and I would like to single out the efforts made by the Deputy of the Education Sector , General Manager of school activities, joint team work of the General Administration of school activities and schools’ councils project, the American Program, for preparing the bylaw and validating it,” said Minister al-Jawfi.
“We assure the continuously efforts to improve education in our beloved country to meet with the requirements of this era, make education a reflection of the religious, national and democracy principles values, raise awareness among the youth of the objectives, principles and contents of the revolution and Yemen unity through school curricula, and show interest in school and outdoor activities as a natural way to develop noble values,” the minister concluded.
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