You expressed interest in our views on the usual:federation,cesession,
Well, in Dec.89, Beidh came under pressure from Saddam($600M),& he agreed en principe to a transitional merger.
I was the only vocal protest:al-Khaleej,Sharjah and warned that the unity should be confederal or there might be a war based upon my life in both Yemens, signed Chmn of Toz Society(founded in Hodeidah in 1986).So many hypocrites criticised me for not showing greater enthusiasm for the transitional merger.
Out of all issues I wish to compare 1988 and Dec.2009:north Yemenis were allowed in the summer of 88 to visit Aden by ID.
This Dec09:2 Rada'is were killed in Zungubar,4Shar'abis were beaten badly in Abyan beach and a northern family was shot dead in its car in Dali'.
A Firman was passed by the Sultan of Abyan prohibiting northerners from visiting the South.
The draft Constitution of the Hirak in the South may grant Sultans legislative authority.
Confederation would have avoided most of that.
Dr.Isam Ghanem,LL.B,MA,M.Phil,Ph.D(Laws)(London),Fellow of the International Bar
I support your proposal re the need to re- think the system of education in the Arab World. I believe education is the most important ministry in any govt. it produces the building blocks. when Aden was a colony the Director of Education was the third most senior person in the govt service (or at least Civil Service) after the Governor (the equivalent of president or ruler) and the Chief Secretary (the equivalent to the prime minister). This was the case even when my father was the Director of Education, an Arab, whilst the heads of other departments were British. I refer to what was called the super scale system.
Today one of the best Arab countries in education is Bahrain where the system was developed on similar lines to Aden with capable intellectual ministers like Ali Fakhroo at the helm. I was recently with him at the strategic forum in Dubai and the fact that Bahrain was ahead of most of the Arab world in seconday education was highlighted.
The Arab world should think of a unified system for secondary education (or thanawiyah ammah) like the GCE or GCSE in the British system or the Baccalaureat French system. Slight variations in the curriculum for to entertain local geography or political or social aspects could be entertained.
The question of identity should be emphasized with Arabic being given proper attention. Nowadays school graduates especially of private schools cannot write one single page of Arabic without mistakes, or give a short speech without dozens of shameful grammatical errors. Of course knowledge of good English (and other foreign languages) is also most essential as these are necessary not only for communication with the rest of the world but also for following up journals and new research in any field (science, medicine, technology, etc) as Arabic is not likely to be able to compete or fill the gap for at least decades to come. Identity requires a good basic knowledge of the holy Quran and Islam and iIslamic history. In my opinion the dose of these subjects in the Aden system of education in those days was not adequate or even poor. That is one reason why the totalitarian bedui-communistic regime managed to play havoc with the country. As for other subjects Aden College was a successful institute. The proof of the budding is in the eating. We can still see many of the graduates of that college occupying leading positions all over the world successfully. We should never feel snobbish about that. We should not only find pleasure from but re-establishing old school ties but also try to learn from the aden college experiment and pass on our conclusions to decision makers in yemen and the arab world.
i think a debate about this on the Aden College blog is quite in place.
Best regards to all.
Dr. Abdulla Al Sayyari reply:
The state of both higher and lower education in the Arab world is miserable as he points out. Unless it is mended, we have no hope of developing. This would come not only by raising the percentage of GDP allotted to it, but more importantly- by paradigm shift in educational strategies and curricula and as the article points out ““One reason that too many Arabs are poor is rotten education”
By the way Shihab Ghanem in a response to Abdulla Nasher’s message lamenting the state of Arab Education suggests that we should have a unified secondary schools system throughout the Arab World..
It might be interesting to point out that the Arab league Ministers of Health established some years ago an Arab Board Diploma in various specialties of Medicine. Before long each Arab Country established its own Boards so now we have Saudi Board, Yemeni Board, Jordanian Board etc. These boards have priority and carry a bigger over the Arab Board certification.
So even when we do reach a small attenuated measure of common ground we go on to bypass
it. Just so that you know
By the way the only Arab country which is still sticking to the Arab Board is Syria and this might well have to do with the fact that the Headquarters for Medical Arab Boards is in Damascus
Some of you have written in the site recently on Cadet Training in Aden College by the British Army leading to the Cadet Proficiency Certificate.
I can confirm that the first batch in 1961 included Faruq Muhsin Khalifa, Wijdan Luqman,Suhail Yafi'i and myself.It was a one year course. In addition to the basic drill by a Scottish Serjeant and rifle use at the Waterloo camp in Khormaksar under an English major the training was not aimed at instilling discipline but mainly concentrated on map reading and military planning using the maps under the tutelage of an Oxford graduate.
The Minister was Abdulla Saidi.
In 1963 as the Second and last batch was qualifying. Minister Abdul Rahman Girgirah had the unpleasant duty of handing Certificates of Proficiency just after the October bomb at Aden airport. He warned against confusing the training with politics. He added whilst looking at
me,that goes for the first batch too!
The whole of Aden has changed after that explosion which claimed casualties, just missing the Governor. I have explained the details in Arabian Tears in 1988.
I wish to point out that Saidi was opposed to the merger of Aden Crown Colony with Western Aden Protectorates because of the minor role accorded to Aden.
As the longest serving Advisor to successive governors and then High Commissioners, Edward McCarthy said to me in 1983 in the Exeter conference on the 2 Yemens the Adenese should have collaborated with the Federal merger as they had no tribal unit like the rest of the Federation and because they would have become the mentors and well placed just as they work now as foreign advisors in Dubai.MI6 Lorry Hobson and Saidi clashed over the issue as reported by Reuters near the Girls College in 62. Saidi listened, perhaps wrongly, to Advocate Muhd Luqman who was not infallible. Saidi died in 1964 in Crater.
So the Training put in context explains the atmosphere at the time in Aden.
I do not expect of you to have understood what happened as even some of my colleagues have missed the overtones. I proceeded to publish the story in the UK in 88.
1-In 1961 the relationship in the Crown Colony between Aden College students and staff was good. They dined in the Maalla Chinese restaurant with refreshments. The students were viewed as potential cadres.
2-You are absolutely right:the idea was to produce officers or political advisors for the army.
3-Yes I did imply that the 63 explosion which resulted in the declaration of the state of emergency has changed the attitude of the Brits. Trust was eroded.
4-British Universities offer 2 yrs side courses in military training. After graduating from University you become a Lieutenant reservist. I think this reply should be added to the info.
I do not think that Arab schools are capable of such training nor universities as side courses.
I think that Aden was treated as a Crown Colony and missed the opportunity to benefit fully from that.
Dr.Isam Ghanem,LL.B,MA,M.Phil,Ph.D(Laws)(London),Fellow of the International Bar
Perhaps, after filling in the information about our teachers, it may be helpful to think of a few
small bite-size projects" such as that already suggested and most likely being implemented, by Abdulla al-Sayyari, a book/monograph on AC.
Perhaps in the long run we can think of an Aden College (physical) Archive 1937-1967.
Internet archives are only as good as they are maintained and can be easily removed. Such
an archive will need serious thought of course. But I sense that we would not like future
researchers to work so unbelievably hard to acquire a simple note or document o just to confirm a date of an event.
Aden College gave us علم Perhaps Ashraf and Abdulla al-Sayyari would consider ideas like :
"Aden College" Journal. It may be dedicated to creating/inventing/analysing new ideas to
consider issues and problems (immediate or long-standing) that affect us.
Perhaps a Bibliography list could be drawn up from all our efforts?
These suggestions of mine are only just simple ideas not earth shattering, but incrementally may take us even further forward, just like you did with your above-mentioned (copied herewith) note.
It will be good to hear of other ideas for a reasoned debate.
Dr. Abdulla Al Syyari :
1.Military training for Aden College students
commenced on 17/10/1961.
It was supervised by a British officer and NCOs
2. In March 1961 Mr. KW Simmons, Chief Secretary to the Government of Aden indicated that future government scholarship recipients will be required to work for 5 years in Aden civil service following completion of their studies (Source Middle East Record Volume 2, 1961 Yitzhak Oron, Ed.page 432)
Dr. Shihab Ghanem :
I remember that Sir william Luce the governor of Aden came to our house in 1958 or 1959 walking with my father from Sirah Tennis Club after a game of tennis.
It was only a five minute walk. Both were in white shorts.
Luce was much less arrogant than previous governors such as Sir Tom Hickanbotham. I brought tea and biscuits and William Luce asked me to sit down with them. (he deliberately started a political discussion with me and he did not like my nationalistic, albeit immature ideas. but that is a different
During the conversation my father raised the point about the
importance of establishing cadet training at Aden College.
William Luce did not see the point and asked: "Why do you need any kind of military training? are you afraid of an
invasion by the Imam? the British Army and the Aden Levy are there to deal with such a circumstance if it ever happened!".
My father said: "Cadet training will make the students, (who were to become the leaders of Aden) more disciplined".
Luce did not appear to me to be convinced, but after I left Aden in 1960, to study engineering at Aberdeen, cadet training at AC was started. My brother Isam was in the first
batch and he can confirm the date. I believe my father was able to convince Abdulla Ibrahim Saidi to put the subject to the Legislative Council and it was passed.
I believe working 5 years in the Civil Service was a requirement long before 1961. When I went in 1960 on scholarship I already knew it was a condition
I promised that I will write to you with suggestions about possible components of our proposed research on Aden College. Abdulla Nasher listed many of the components that I had in mind. These are :
- Aden College as an educational institution
- Its foundation
- The components of the curriculum and its basis and objectives and the educational strategy
- The teachers, standards and recruitment criteria
- The students, selection criteria
- Extra-curriculum activities, arts, sports, cultural and social activities
- The budget
- Impact of the College on Society
- Stories from Alumni
- Suggest any further topics
- Choose any of the above to write on
- More than one alumnus can write on a given topic as the final product will be edited
Choice of papers could be in Arabic or English
Allow me to say something about Education today and during our good old days. The following is a quotation from the Economist Journal, of the 17th of October, 2009, titled,“Education in the Arab world”, Laggards trying to catch up.
“One reason that too many Arabs are poor is rotten education”
“Until recent reforms, state primary schools in Saudi Arabia devoted 31% of classroom time to religion, compared with just 20% for mathematics and science.”
“A listing of the world’s top 500 universities, compiled annually by Shanghai JiaoTong University, includes three South African and six Israeli universities, but not a single Arab one.”
The above article should ring a bell to all concerned with education in the Arab World, politicians, decision makers and intellectuals. And since history is important for those who want to have a better future, I would like to suggest that we need to think of a research project about Aden College, along the following guidelines:
* Aden College as an educational institution
* Its foundation
* The curriculum
* The teachers, standards and recruitment criteria
* The students, selection criteria
* Extra-curriculum activities, arts, sports, cultural and social activities
* The budget
I believe that the outcome of such a project would help to guide our future generations, as well as the people in charge of education in our part of the world, who should make an end to the decay and decline of education that plagued the Arab World for more than half a century
Dr. Abdulla Nasher,
Ottawa, Canada, 25th November, 2009
AC Contact Forms....
One of the few alumni who sent his Contact Form is alumnus Anis M. Nazir.
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. He is of class June 1973 and
spent 6 years in AC. He graduated Diploma in Engineering and degree
in Mechanical Engineering. He is on SKYPE as Wannis68
He resides in Aden.