Evaluation of the Education Component in the Third five-year national plan reveals:We are far behind the plan [Archives:2007/1047/Reportage]

May 3 2007
H.E. Dr. Al-Jawfi:  We are considering the feminization of Basic Primary Education.
H.E. Dr. Al-Jawfi: We are considering the feminization of Basic Primary Education.
In spite of the importance of the workshop, representitives of the World Bank, UNDP and UNFPA and several involved Yemeni civil society members did not attend the workshop.
In spite of the importance of the workshop, representitives of the World Bank, UNDP and UNFPA and several involved Yemeni civil society members did not attend the workshop.
By: Rasha Jarhum
[email protected]

The Women's National committee (WNC) sponsored by OXFAM – GB (Yemen), and under the patronage and attendance of his Excellency Dr Abdulsalam Al-Joffy- Minister of Education held on 30 of April 2007 a workshop to share the findings on an evaluation study of the progress in implementation of the first year of the Third Five Year Plan for Development and Eradicating Poverty 2006-2010. The study focused on the Education component, and more specifically, the objectives which aim at raising the acceptance and enrolment rates of females in Primary Education and increasing the number of female teachers in rural areas. In particular, the study selected the components of the implementation of the construction of female schools as well as female teachers' employment during the year 2006 in three governorates that were chosen according to the high rates of girls' enrolment. Those are Taiz, Abyan, and Haggah governorates.

The study revealed that in most cases there was a gap between what was planned to be implemented and what was actually implemented, the latter being lower than the proposed objective. It was found that only 58% of schools were constructed and 38% of new classrooms were added. The study also drew upon a huge gap between what the districts indicated as their need for female teachers to what was actually hired, as the female teachers recruited accounted for only 14%. The results also showed a lack of coordination between the different authorities on the national and local level. In addition, the need for a systematic process of evaluation, follow-up, and monitoring was suggested in order to unify information, increase the reliability of data and avoid redundancy. The study concluded that if there are no positive actions taken to correct the deviation in implementing the plan, the millennium development goal towards education for all in 2015 will never be reached in time.

Ms Hooria Mashour, Vice-Chairperson of WNC, stated to Yemen Times that this study is valuable to WNC as it has come to serve as the soul purpose of the committee, a purpose which was identified in the establishment decree for the committee to be the governmental body to create policies targeting women's development, making sure they are reflected in the implementation plans of the competent implementing bodies, and then to follow up and evaluate the implementation of those policies. She also expressed her hopes for the recommendations of the study to be taken under consideration by the Ministry of Education and for corrective actions to be taken. She also noted the importance of the evaluation process to all the components in the Third Fifth Plan regarding female development and thanked OXFAM-GB for their sponsorship to the evaluation of the Education Component and called upon other donors to sponsor other components such as Health, Economic Participation, Political Participation tc.

In addition, Dr Abdullah Ba-Sahai, the Country Program Manager of OXFAM-GB (Yemen), ensured the willingness of OXFAM to continue sponsoring and funding the evaluation process for the Education Component in the Third Fifth Plan during the implementation years of the plan which end in 2010. He further elaborated that this study presents the successes, failures, and difficulties acquired in the first year of the plan for WNC and the Girls' Education Sector in the Ministry of Education, to follow-up the input indicators, compare them to the output indicators, and take the necessary actions to resolve any failure on time.

His Excellency, Dr Al-Joffy, stated that the evaluation and follow-up process has become vital in his ministry and that for the first time in the history of the ministry an Annual Revision has been held for two years now and participated in by the ministry, donors, education authorities in governorates, civil society, and local administrations. He also extended the invitation to WNC to participate and to share the results of this study and to be taken under consideration in the Third Meeting of the Annual Revision to be held on 7-9th May 2007. He also emphasized the importance of girls' education as it represents a basic necessity and the key for human development. He further indicated that this issue does not only represent an international obligation committed by signing international conventions or a requirement to meeting donors demands, but it also represents a national, social, and humanitarian necessity.

He then elaborated some of the efforts that have been done to encourage girls' education such as the establishment of a special sector for Girls' Education and the issuing of a decree to cancel school education fees for girls from grade 1-9 which is considered part of social participation. He also indicated that 95000 girls were selected according to poverty rates, girls' enrolment rates and female students' percentage of the population…etc to be beneficiaries to the International Food Programme. He also stated that in order to spread primary education among girls, they initiated widespread school establishment in the form of One-Classroom Schools in many villages where high population rates existed in rural areas. This was aimed at eliminating the school distance from residence obstacle. He also noted that they found that water sources also represent an obstacle for girls' education as most of the time girls are not allowed to go to school because they are needed to bring water to their homes from far places and so the ministry submitted a report to the Ministry of Water and demanded a targeting of those rural places to benefit from water and rural development projects.

Furthermore, his Excellency revealed that they are considering the feminisation of primary education as research revealed that female teachers performance in primary grades are more positive statistically than the performance of their male counterparts. Hence, his Excellency stated that they are studying the scope of feminising the management and staff of schools.

Furthermore, Ms Khadiga Radman, Consultant of Education Minister in the Technical Office, commented that the study had an overlap and inconsistencies with data at the central and decentralized level, which, indicate a lack of communication and coordination mechanisms between the General Department of Planning, governorates, and districts levels. She also elaborated that this problem is accounted for in the future plans of the Ministry of Education to establish such a mechanism. She also stated that it is important to involve the local authority, which is the supervisory and monitoring body to the level of implementation to have a role in the planning process and identification of the actual requirements in regards to schools construction, school locating, and female employment. There is a prevalent culture in some quarters to determine a high percentage of unrealistic requirements on the account that they will eventually be reduced. In terms of resolving the female employment issue that the study proposed by recruiting secondary school female graduates from the same areas that are in demand for teachers, Ms Radman stated that it is a vital role of the Local Authority to provide training and incentives in coordination with the Ministry of Education.

Ms Tahani Al Khaiba – Gender Consultant at OXFAM -GB (Yemen), stated to the Yemen Times that this study comes as a signal to draw attention to what is wrong and accordingly initiate efforts to resolve those issues in time to reach the required objectives, and place the Plan back on track. She further elaborated that this study is beneficial for the WNC to increase their experience and help them in the evaluation process for the coming years of the Plan, as well as beneficial to the Ministry of Education as such evaluations will help them keep the implementation process moving in the right direction and hence enhance its performance.