6 Achieve universal primary education

Where we are?


This was one of the few goals that the Republic of Yemen has a potential to achieve it by 2012. However, due to the inability to maintain the progress on the same pace, Yemen will not be able to attain this Goal within the remaining period of the MDGs.

The National Social Protection Monitoring Survey (2012) shows that around 72% of Yemeni children aged 6–14 are enrolled in basic education class one in the 2012/13 school year. When compared to Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (2006), it indicates that the pace of progress has been very slow, as net enrolment increased by only 4% in the last six year, which is mainly due to the increase of 6% in girls’ enrolment in basic education. However, the percentage is still very low (61 per cent in rural areas), especially if one thinks that the National Basic Education Development Strategy (NBED, 2003–2015) launched in 2002 aimed to increase enrolment in basic education, particularly for girls and in rural areas, to reach 95% of 6–14year-olds in Yemen by 2015. Therefore, a huge effort would be necessary to increase enrolment in basic education for rural girls by almost 34% for the remaining period of the MDGs, which remains a great challenge and almost impossible to be met in view of the current financial and political circumstances.

Achieving universal education might be even tougher when the focus is on enrolment in secondary education, as only 24% of the Yemeni population of this aged 15–17 has so far being enrolled at this grade. This percentage remains constant when compared to 2006 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, but the composition has changed according to 2012 National Social Protection Monitoring Survey: there was an increase of 4 percentage points in girls’ enrolment, while the boys’ enrolment dropped by 6 percentage points.

Moreover, the disaggregated indicators of the urban/rural residences show that girls in rural areas are consistently less likely to be attending basic education than urban girls (61 per cent in rural and 86 per cent in urban areas). For boys, the difference is smaller: 84 per cent in urban and 76 per cent in rural areas. This result demonstrates that family attitudes toward girls’ schooling, particularly in rural areas, seem to be the major constraint to female school participation. Several studies suggest that the problem is associated with the shortage of female teachers (UNICEF, 2007; World Bank, 2013). In addition, the lack of both schools close to home and girls-only schools, especially in rural areas, usually appear as the crucial factors involved in the decision to send girls to school. With regard to secondary education, the area of residence strongly influences participation in both urban and rural areas. One of the explanations for the low attendance in rural areas compared to urban ones might be guided also by the supply side, including lack of school buildings and trained teachers in remote areas (World Bank, 2013).

The analysis of the National Social Protection Monitoring Survey of 2012 shows the relationship between basic and secondary net enrolment with wealth index and mother’s schooling. A positive association indicates that net enrolments in basic and secondary education are significantly higher for the wealthiest students, which is the reflection that socioeconomic conditions play an important role in school participation in basic and secondary education for boys and girls. Girls in the top quintile are more than twice as likely to be enrolled in basic education as those in the bottom quintile. The wealth gap becomes worse for secondary education: for each boy in the first quintile attending this level there are seven boys in the fifth quintile. In the case of females, the difference is alarming: in the richest quintile around 41% of girls aged 15–17 are enrolled in secondary education, while in the poorest quintile is only 1.2%. A number of factors might be responsible for this concerning, including cultural aspects that affect girls in particular, such as the shortage of females teachers and the way that households cope with economic downturns by making their children engage in several activities to make ends meet.

With regard to the association between net enrolment and mother’s education, the 2012 National Social Projection Monitoring Survey indicate a positive association. In basic education, the difference in enrolments is basically between those children whose mothers do not have any schooling and those children whose mothers received basic or secondary education. The gap is striking at the secondary level, and all the three degrees of mother’s schooling are associated with both boys’ and girls’ enrolment. It suggests that the higher the level of the mother’s education, the higher the chance of the child going further on his/her educational trajectory.

Yemen Status

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Line Chart

1.02 years
remaining
until 2015

1990 2015
Targets for MDG2
  1. Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
    • Net enrolment ratio in primary education
    • Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last grade of primary
    • Literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds, women and men