Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Houthis Anger Yemenis by Turning School Books into Commercial Commodity

Houthis Anger Yemenis by Turning School Books into Commercial Commodity

Friday, 19 August, 2022 - 08:15
A picture shared on social media platforms of a Houthi selling point in Sanaa for school books (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Houthis turning a government institution for printing school textbooks into a black market has spurred widespread anger among human rights activists, teachers and parents in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and other areas run by the group.

A few days ago, the Houthis’ self-proclaimed Ministry of Education turned the book printing establishment under its control into a black market to trade educational curricula.

The ministry created several sales points in Sanaa. Selling books at high prices, Houthis have ignored the low purchasing power of Yemenis considering the difficult living conditions they suffer from.

The Houthi move, which was met with popular resentment, has triggered urgent calls for intervention by the internationally recognized Yemeni government and international agencies.

Yemeni activists shared on social media platforms pictures exposing the group’s transformation of the book printing press (a government institution) into a main selling point among dozens of points currently scattered across the capital.

“In a flagrant violation of Yemeni law, which guarantees free education as an inherent human right for every Yemeni citizen, we are witnessing today the transformation of a service institution whose main mission is to provide curricula for students free of charge to a black market,” said Mohammed al-Emad, a Yemeni activist.

Through a series of posts published on his Facebook page, Emad questioned how Houthis expect for poor citizens who are struggling to secure food to have the ability to purchase books for their children from the points of sale.

Emad also publicly asked about the billions of proceeds received by the ministry through selling books and tuition fees.

“Where did all the money collected from selling books and teaching children go?”

For his part, activist Mahmoud Al-Maghraby said: “It is a shame that the textbook is sold in markets and shops, instead of being given to students for free.”

Editor Picks