In an historic first for the Arab world the Yemeni Education Minister, Dr Abdul-Razaq Al-Ashwal, has begun learning English via Skype.
The first Skype lesson, organised by the London-based company Training Connect, was held in the British Houses of Parliament with the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Yemen. Mr Vaz is delighted at the involvement of the British company Training Connect and its commitment to aiding development in Yemen.
The initiative marks the start of an ambitious programme by Dr Al-Ashwal and Mr Vaz to roll out English language lessons by Skype to schools in Yemen. This will form part of Dr Al-Ashwal's efforts to tackle the three main challenges facing the Yemeni education system; improving the quality of teaching; teacher training; and the development of an English national curriculum.
The scheme is the cornerstone to the Yemen Taskforce, a people-to-people organisation, chaired by Mr Vaz, which has the support of the British Government. The Taskforce will create links between British and Yemeni organisations to provide advice and support to Yemen in the four key areas of education, health, business and security during this period of transition and beyond.
The Minister, Dr Al-Ashwal, has signed up to 2 hours of lessons per week for the next 3 months as part of his ambition to improve his English language conversation skills.
Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Yemen Taskforce said:“I am absolutely delighted that Dr Al-Ashwal has begun his English language lessons by Skype. The Minister has shown great initiative by taking part in this project.
This is just the start of a scheme that will bring quality English language tuition to Yemeni school children.
I am hopeful that in a year from now this programme will be rolled out to schools nationwide.”