The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the largest in the world, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the crisis is growing. Around 24 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.
Yemeni youth are possibly the most affected by the ongoing war, especially in light of its direct impact on their educational, academic and vocational futures. Their psychological and mental status is suffering as a result of personal and food insecurity.
For example, students are facing increasing problems at Sa’dah Public University, in the far north of Yemen on the border with Saudi Arabia and in one of the most war-affected Yemeni provinces. This is where I teach. Founded in 2010 and now home to some 11,000 students, the university has been heavily damaged. Most buildings have been leveled to the ground, including student accommodations, the central library, lecture halls and laboratories. Equipment, tools and demonstration facilities have also been destroyed.
Even with the university in this condition, it is still open and trying to accomplish its mission, even if irregularly. The university has had to decrease the number of lectures and shrink the curricula because of the lack of usable classrooms, the dwindling operational budget and the lack of electricity, internet and other communications.
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Of course, the overall security situation and that of the university in particular is causing significant changes in student behavior. Professors notice a reluctance to attend lectures and a high dropout rate among students due to their parents’ difficult living conditions and inability to help them financially.
Many families were forced to move to other areas far from the university, which made it difficult for their sons and daughters to reach the university, due to the lack of transportation and fuel. Many students were also injured due to shelling and left with physical disabilities that prevent them from continuing their studies at a university with buildings that cannot accommodate the disabled.
The students who are still attending university have lost much of their enthusiasm to study seriously because they have lost hope for a better future. Instead, they monitor the fighting.