Constitutional & Legal Foundations
The highest foundation for education in Yemen is the Constitution (Constitution of the Republic of Yemen, 1994), which includes several references to the obligations of the Government and its citizens in regard to education.
Article 32 of the Constitution provides that:
Education, health, and social services are the basic pillars for building and developing the society. Society shall with the state take part in providing them.
The role of the Government in this respect is spelled out further in Article 53:
Education is a right for all citizens. The state shall guarantee education in accordance with the law through building various schools and cultural and educational institutions. Basic education is obligatory. The state shall do its best to obliterate illiteracy and give special care to expanding technical and vocational education. . . .
This has generally been assumed to require the Government to provide a fair and equitable access to education for the country's population. Despite this, perhaps because of some vagueness and generalization in its wording, the Government's performance has been mixed. In fact, results have been quite poor in certain cases such as countering illiteracy and guaranteeing equal access to education among both males and females. The latter, and through it the former, is a perhaps an example where traditional culture is at variance with the liberal Constitution. Nonetheless, the Constitution is very protective of the principle of education, as well as the principles of educational and academic freedom. For example, Article 27 states that:
The state shall guarantee freedom of scientific research and achievements in the fields of literature, arts and culture, which conform with the spirit and objectives of the Constitution. The state shall provide means conducive to such achievements and shall provide support and encouragement for scientific and technical invention, and artistic creation and shall protect achievements thereof.
The policy and administrative aspects of education are legalized under Laws enacted by Parliament and by Presidential Decree. The Law on Education of 1992 is the main piece of legislation, and there have been Presidential Decrees and administrative orders since then to supplement and administer the law.
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