In an article on the Middle East Youth Initiative web site, MEYI Youth Ambassador Abdullah Al Thawr recounts his experiences learning social studies in Yemen, complete with stage directions:
I remember when I was in middle school and high school, how we used to dislike Social Studies and History classes. We even used to search for any silly excuse to skip out. Our Social Study or History class was simply as follows:
- Teacher enters class and shouts: "open your books to page XXX"
[Pages flipping, small side talks and chattering fading away]
- Teacher takes pen and writes on board 4-5 short sentences which are the sub-topics of today's lesson.
- Teacher asks students to read aloud out of the book today's lesson in turns.
[One student is reading aloud, the students are yawning, teacher is busy with his mobile]
- Teacher shouts "Take your pens and let's mark the answers of the textbook questions in today's lesson. These questions will be in the exam"
- Teacher shouts "I want to see these questions and answers written in your copybook by next class, or you will lose marks"
[Students object to writing all the questions and answer and argue that it is the same as in the book. Teacher refuses to listen.]
- Bell rings.
- [Teacher leaves, students come back to life.]
Unstimulating, memorization-only teaching methods may be among the factors in Yemen's 32% Gross Secondary Enrollment Ratio and 8.7 year School Life Expectancy. And with Yemen's current push to meet the 2015 Education For All and Millennium Development Goal targets for primary education, it appears that secondary education may get the short end of the stick.