3 minute read



Many of the weaknesses and problems have been highlighted previously and include problems of equitable access for males and females and for urban and rural students, the problems introduced by poverty and very limited public funds, excessive bureaucracy, and the variance between students' preferred areas of study and the graduates that the country most needs.

There are some other general points that can be made about the education in system in Yemen. The first, which is a considerable failing but one that is common to many countries, is the overemphasis on rote learning and memorization at the expense of independent analysis. The second is the lack of materials and equipment stemming from a preference in recent years for education quantity over quality. While there has been a strong and positive attempt to provide education widely and equitably, this is perhaps better achieved at the primary level to tackle problems such as illiteracy and poor numeracy skills than at the higher education level, where more needs to be done to improve the standard of education, especially in areas important to development such as medicine, natural sciences, business administration and management, engineering, and other applied fields. Finally, a coherent plan for developing Yemen's research capabilities and for converting discoveries and inventions into applied products and methods that enhance economic development has yet to be developed and successfully implemented, although it is gradually gaining greater attention in the education debate.

Yemen has faced enormous problems in developing its education system. It is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and the world, and its education system has faced serious problems throughout the 1990s, including those stemming from international and domestic conflict, economic austerity, and the problems from unification. In this sense, to have expanded access to education to the extent that Yemen has and to merge two different systems into one is quite an achievement. That said, however, the future is not likely to be much easier. Yemen will probably remain economically disadvantaged for many years (despite the development of oil as a source of export income), unemployment at 30 percent remains high, the need for economic reform is urgent, and population growth at 3.4 percent (1999 figure) places considerable pressure on public finances, unemployment, and education requirements.


Al-Mutawakil, Ahlam. "School Libraries Bereft of Books and Readers." Yemen Times VIII 17 (27 April-3 May 1998).

Al-Qadhi, Mohammed Hatem. "Fighting for Salary." Yemen Times VIII 17 (27 April-3 May 1998).

Al-Saeed, Mohammed, K. E. Shaw, and Alan Wakelam. "Issues of Educational Administration in the Arab Gulf Region." Middle Eastern Studies 36 (October 2000): 63-74.

Al-Saqqaf, Imad and Farooq al-Kamali. "Universities in Yemen: Too many students and unqualified graduates. Is it Time to Scrap University Education?" Yemen Times XI 17 (23-29 April 2001).

Carapico, Sheila. Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

The Central Intelligence Agency. CIA World Factbook 2000. Available from http://www.odci.gov/.

Constitution of the Republic of Yemen, 1994. Government of the Republic of Yemen, 1994. Available from http://www.al-bab.com/yemen/gov/con94.htm.

Dresch, Paul. A History of Modern Yemen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Europa Publications. The Europa World Year Book 2000 (Volume II). London: Europa Publications Limited, 2000.

Joffé, E.G.H., M.J. Hachemi, and E.W. Watkins, eds. Yemen Today: Crisis and Solutions. London: Caravel, 1997.

Minister of Education. "Private Education must be monitored and guided more in depth by the Ministry of Education." Yemen Times IX 12 (22-28 March 1999).

Noman, Laila. "Education of girls in the Yemen."The British-Yemeni Society, November 1995. Available from http://www.al-bab.com/bys/articles/noman95.htm.

Sa'ad, Abdul-Jabbar A. "Educational Challenges Facing Yemen." Yemen Times VIII 19 (11-17 May 1998).

Tansel, Aysit, and Abbas Kazemi. "Educational Expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa." Middle Eastern Studies 36 (October 2000): 75-98.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO Statistical Yearbook 1999. Paris: UNESCO & Bernan Press, 1999.

—Matthew Gray

Additional topics

Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceYemen - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education