Yemen is still struggling with a devastating humanitarian crisis. Since Houthi rebels seized its capital in 2014, civil war has caused Yemen’s infrastructure to deteriorate rapidly. An estimated 79.7% of the population is susceptible to hunger and disease, and nearly 66% of the population does not have sufficient healthcare. One of the most adverse outcomes of this warfare is the worsening of an education crisis in Yemen.
Millions of children are out of school, and the percentage of children attending school continues to decrease from primary to secondary school. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers likely dropped further. Yemeni civilians historically struggle with low scholarship rates, so organizations like the Global Partnership for Education, USAID and Save the Children attempt to provide children with adequate access to schooling.
The Global Partnership for Education
Boasting partnerships with nearly 70 countries, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is the world’s biggest fund devoted to educating children in developing nations. Since 2003, GPE has issued grants to alleviate the education crisis in Yemen. As a result, the financial investment in education is still growing. As of March 2020, Yemen’s public expenditure improved by 20% because of GPE’s contributions.
More recently, the GPE donated $11 million to efforts combating declining education rates. This grant will allow more Yemeni children to learn virtually and in person, as funding will go toward TV and radio lessons, sending hygiene supplies to 7,000 schools, teacher training and more.
In response to the education crisis in Yemen, USAID partnered with the Ministry of Education to do the following projects:
- Gateway to Education: This program encourages safety, prioritizes equity in scholarships, improves teaching and supports the improvement of learning facilities. Since January 2021, Gateway to Education has delivered 861 new desks to various Yemeni schools. It has also sent school supply kits and teaching equipment to 140 schools.
- Yemen Basic Education/Emergency Crisis Response Project: While Gateway to Education focuses on providing goods, this project attempts to increase the number of children entering and staying in school. It provides a home-based program for students in areas surrounded by conflict and war, psychosocial assistance and emergency plans. As of March 2021, the project has helped about 1.3 million Yemeni children.
- School Doors Program: This program advocates for creating remediation-based learning for children suffering from disrupted schooling. It has supported non-formal education for about 6,500 previously out-of-school Yemeni students.
Save the Children
While GPE and USAID focus on education-specific programs, Save the Children helps Yemeni children in various ways, from proper nourishment to schooling. This organization collects donations from groups and individuals to bolster its Yemen Children’s Relief Fund. Concerning education, Save the Children uses public offerings to run temporary learning programs to increase the proportion of Yemeni children in school. Since May 2015, the fund has helped more than three million children.
Why the Education Crisis in Yemen Needs Attention
Yemen’s children suffer greatly from the effects of the civil war. Airstrikes and related artillery-based attacks killed more than 7,500 children from 2013 to 2019. Those surviving struggle to experience a normal childhood. Many children sacrifice their education to work to support their impoverished families.
As a result, two million children were out of school before the COVID-19 pandemic, and more girls than boys were at risk of dropping out. COVID-19 exacerbated the education crisis, as school closures brought the number of out-of-school children to eight million. The organizations above demonstrate the relief efforts currently employed to mitigate the effects of civil war and downsize poverty through education.
As more children in Yemen receive schooling, they will acquire the necessary skills to succeed in the workforce. Further, for each subsequent year of education, potential individual earnings increase by 10%. Additionally, educating civilians from poor and wealthy backgrounds may lower economic class disparities by 39%.
– Riya Sharma