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Yemen launches online registration system to help displaced students

Faisal Darem in Sanaa

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Students and teachers outside Sanaa University. [Faisal Darem/Al-Shorfa]

The Yemeni Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has launched new process to help internally displaced people (IDPs) and residents of remote areas enroll in the universities and disciplines of their choice and help fight the corruption that used to accompany the traditional registration process.

On June 16th, the ministry went live with the "unified coordination process", which allows students from around the country to register for entrance exams in the faculties of their choice for the 2016-2017 academic year either through an online portal -- www.oasyemen.net -- or via an SMS system set up by the ministry's Information Technology Centre.

"This system will facilitate the coordination process for students in their home areas and save time, effort and money in light of the difficult circumstances the country is going through because of the war, blockade and difficult economic conditions, and will provide equal opportunities for all who wish to register for the new academic year in their desired disciplines," said Dr. Abdullah al-Shami, deputy minister of higher education.

"The online portal is a quantum leap that on the one hand takes into account the students’ circumstances, and on the other is a milestone on the ministry’s path toward automating university activities and services via the internet and SMS service," he told Al-Mashareq.

The registration process for the faculties of medicine, pharmacy and laboratory medicine at most universities has already closed, but engineering and computer will begin in the last week of July and for the rest the faculties at the beginning of August, he said.

Helping those affected by war

From June 16th to July 16th, 340,000 people visited the new portal, and during that same period, 53,000 applications were processed to all Yemeni universities, including 11,205 through the SMS service, said Dr. Ibrahim al-Kibsi, executive director of the Information Technology Centre.

The new registration system is important "especially under the circumstances prevailing in the country and difficulty of traveling due to concerns over acts of violence, and the fact that it will facilitate the registration process for students from their home areas via the portal or SMS from their smart phones", he said.

The new process, he added, will also unify the procedures for registration and admission, how students will be notified of their results, and how fees will be paid.

The new system "adds more transparency and curbs corruption and irregularities that accompany the manual registration process that parents and students who did not meet the requirements had to go through, and who were victimized and exploited by some of those in charge of the manual registration process", al-Kibsi said.

In regard to the level of interest in the various universities, Sanaa University ranked first, he said, drawing about 50 percent of online applicants in the first month.

Eliminating irregularities

Dr. Fawzi al-Saghir, head of Sanaa University, told Al-Mashareq that the online registration system has contributed to reducing the irregularities that used to accompany the registration process in past years with regard to the acceptance grades for some faculties.

He said the online system has "eliminated the long lines that students used to stand in for long hours until their turn came for registration", noting that many students used to sleep at the universities, near the registration windows, to get a chance to register the next day.

The faculties of medicine at Sanaa University are in great demand among students, he said, as the number of applicants for entrance exams just for the the faculty of internal medicine totaled 7,000, yet the faculty has a capacity of no more than 150 students, up from 100 last year.

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Intessar Tariq Abbas Sabry. I'm a displaced person from al-Hodeidah. I want to enroll at the English Language Faculty, Translation Department, or the Faculty of Medicine.

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I want to enroll at the Faculty of Education, Computer Department, al-Nadera.

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I'd like to enroll at the Faculty of Education.

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