Back to School! [Archives:1999/36/Last Page]

September 6 1999

At last and after three months of summer vacation, students are going back to school. Students are heading to their classes and beginning their studies for the 1999/2000 academic year. 
The official starting day of the academic season was last Saturday, the 4th of September. 
The level of education in Yemen is among the lowest in the world, and most Yemenis (according to 1997 statistics) are illiterate. Less than 53% of school-age students actually go to school, and about 47% of those are often truant. The figures are markedly different for girls: only 40% go to school. As the Minister of Education desperately says “We need 23 years to eradicated illiteracy in our country.”On the other hand, the image is not so shiny for this year. Analysts suggest that the number of students is expected to decrease this year because of the high fees of schools, especially private ones which seem to be allocated for rich students only. 
It is worth mentioning that the results of the latest secondary exams have consequently lead to the graduation of more than 80% of the students. However, many graduates complain that high Sana’a University fees are causing them difficulty, in applying for the university. On the other hand, private universities are not preferred by students because of their high fees and -in most cases- a lower quality in teaching.