News – Yemen
Yemeni pupils attend class on the first day of the new academic year, in a makeshift classroom in their school compound.
With its walls pounded by artillery, roofs torn open and concrete beams in shreds, Al-Wehdah school lies in ruins as students return for the first day of Yemen’s school year. At the school near Taiz, the third-biggest city in Yemen, there are no doors or windows, let alone desks.
Al-Wehdah school was hit in a 2016 air attack.
Ali Sultan, a parent of one of the students, points out to AFP news agency a warning sign in red letters written on a perimeter wall.
“We were faced with a difficult choice, either leave them at home or face the risk of bringing them here to study in this rubble,” Sultan said.
“We have been through very difficult times,” Sultan said, referring to the fighting in the southwest city, which is held by the Aggression's forces.
In Taiz city alone, 47 schools were “totally destroyed in the fighting”, said Abdel Wassae Chaddad, provincial director of education. “As far as destruction is concerned, we got the lion’s share,” he said.
Chaddad said he was forced to close those schools and tell students to go to any other that could accommodate them – even if they were also in poor shape. Some children have to walk long distances to get there.
In Jamila al-Wafi’s classroom, instead of a blackboard, she writes out the day’s lessons in pencil on a supporting beam.
The students, seated on the floor, follow her attentively. They make notes carefully in their exercise books.
Once the lesson is over, they slide down a collapsed roof that serves as a staircase from the classroom down to the ground floor.
“We have 500 students,” said Wafi. “We call on the whole world and the business community to save the school,” she said. “It could collapse at any moment.”
In the courtyard, the children do some light exercises to start the day, and then queue up quietly waiting for classes to begin.
Two million of Yemen’s seven million school-age children do not get to go to school at all, according to the United Nations.
More than 2,500 schools have been put out of commission.
Some 3.3 million people have been displaced from their homes and 24 million, or more than 80 percent of the population, are in need of aid, according to the UN.
#Yemen #Aggression #Education #Taiz20-10-11
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