Education issues in Yemen [Archives:2006/1010/Local News]

December 25 2006

Ismail Al-Ghabiri
SANA'A, Dec. 24 ) The phenomenon of failed students, dropping out of school and teachers who don't live up to the responsibility causes Yemen to lose more than YR 17 billion every year, according to a new government report. However, in 2004 the loss exceeded YR 13 billion with an increase estimated at 2 percent compared to the previous year.

The state loses nearly YR 4 billion per year as a result of ignorant teachers who are remiss in performing their duties. The fact indicates a waste of effort, time and money. The report warns that the phenomenon of failed students and dropping out of school will be exacerbated. It indicates that such a growing phenomenon is responsible for unemployment, low income rate and the spread of poverty, in addition to other bad consequences.

The report, released by the Higher Council for Education Planning, said the average years spent in school by primary school boys and girls is 15.4, with an increase of 6.4 years from the nine legal years required for finishing the primary education. Secondary school students remain in school for 4.4 years on average with an estimated increase of one year from the three years required for finishing high school.

The paper indicated that 79 percent of the total number of primary school exam applicants passed the exam while the failed students and dropouts accounted for 4.26 percent of the total number of primary school exam applicants. 27.3 percent of high school exam applicants failed or dropped out of school.

Schools, constructed during the year 2005, numbered up to 14,410, of which 3,058 schools are jointly used for primary and high school students. According to the report, students face difficulties understanding lessons in both primary and high school stages due to large classes.

The average number of students per class increased, to 40 students per class in primary schools and 53 students per class in high schools. The number of schools increased from 13,335 in 2002 to 14,003 in 2005 with an estimated increase of 2.5 percent, according to the report.

The report revealed that numerous schools are closed for disputes between locals and the unavailability of teachers. It said there are more than 80 suspended education projects, the cost of which was not recorded, while other schools were constructed in inconvenient places.

The paper mentioned that school projects are not fairly distributed between cities and rural areas and these projects lack the coordination mechanisms required for buildings construction.

The report revealed that only 71 percent of primary school age children are enrolled in schools and most of the dropouts are those who were enrolled in schools at a late age.

On the other hand, the International Peer Education Meeting concluded last week involving 40 officials in charge of youth programs in the United Nations Fund for Population from across the world.

Themed “Learning best practices on peer education and adopting standards of practice