Education in Yemen has always been a top priority by the government. In fact, the development of the country’s education sector for the past decade received an average of 14 – 20% from total government expenditures. Then in year 2000, the government even earmarked 32.8% to educate the population. However, despite this thrust towards having an educated population, the ranking of the country remains low as the 2006 human development index figures showed that Yemen got a ranking of 150th out of 177 countries.
The government actually has a compulsory free education program for children aged 6 to 14 but an enrolment rate of only 46% of eligible children actually attended school. Of that 46%, only 30% of eligible girls were able to avail of the government’s program. Aside from enrolment penetration, another lingering problem of Yemen’s educational sector is the inadequateness of infrastructures (schools and classrooms) and lack of teachers are also among those considered as stumbling blocks in Yemen’s road to zero illiteracy rate. Basically, the school system of Yemen consists of Basic Education, Secondary Education and College.
The Basic Education is free and open to all 6-14 years of age. The government has even instituted a school feeding program. This program aims to feed children from poor families.
Secondary School in Yemen is somewhat unique as the first year curriculum is the same for everyone else. After the first year, students will have to choose if they want a scientific or literary path. Of course, that means more math and science subjects for those scientifically inclined while the literary inclined would get more subjects relating to the arts, writing and social studies.
After going through Secondary School, a student may now enroll in any of the country’s universities. Right now, there are about 7 public universities and 5 private ones. Education in Yemen is still not good in terms of progress relative to its expenditures and also in terms of implementation of its programs. If the government is really serious in avoiding an economic mess by 2017, one thing that can really help them avert a crisis is through better quality of education.