Workshop takes aim at school fee abolition [Archives:2007/1041/Local News]

April 12 2007

SANA'A – April 9 A two-day workshop organized jointly by Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and the World Bank opened Monday to discuss how the school fee abolition initiative, inaugurated by the government, can be best used for increasing enrollment in Yemen.

The School Fee Abolition Initiative is one of the 'Bold Initiatives' aiming to make a breakthrough in access to basic education and significantly scaling up progress to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education For All (EFA) targets in the next decade. The Initiative has gained considerable momentum through the involvement of other key development partners. In Yemen, the bold decision to join the initiative and abolish the school fee was taken in 2006 by the Ministry of Education. It was an important step in abolishing school fees for basic education in Yemeni schools which target particularly from grade 1 to 6 for girls and boys from grade 1 to 3 for boys. It is expected to give a major boast to acceleration of girls' education which at present lags behind. Estimates show that close to 700,000 pupils are out of school.

The workshop brought together the senior officials, education experts, national & international partners, NGOs, and media representatives.

This workshop focused on some of these strategic issues. First, the impact of abolishing school fees on enrollment surge so far was assessed by two surveys, especially conducted for this workshop. Also, this gathering provides a space to find alternative solutions for adverse consequences of school fees abolition on school functioning and quality of education. To refine these ideas, the workshop brings together a wide range of people from the governorate and central level, educational authorities, partners, civil society, and international experiences of countries that are one step ahead in the process of school fee abolition.

Addressing the opening session, Dr. Abdulsalam Al-Jawfi, Minister of Education, said that “the decision to abolish fees is in the best interest of child as preliminary studies show fees burden might hinder enrollment