Basic Education

In Yemen the basic education comprises 9 years of basic compulsory education for children of ages between 6-14 years old. The government has developed the National Basic Education Development Strategy in 2003 that aimed at providing education to 95% of Yemeni children between the ages of 6-14 years and also to decrease the gap between males and females in urban and rural areas.

Basic Education Programs
Basic Education Expansion Program (BEEP)

Since 1997, the World Bank and Ministry of Education started studying the current educational situation in Yemen and set strategies to achieve expansion of basic education. After a long discussion, it was admitted as Basic Education Expansion Program (BEEP) by the World Bank and implemented with about 60 million US dollars This program specifically aimed at increasing rural girls' enrollment in the first six years of basic education by improving of access, quality, and capacity building. BEEP was successful and the pilot project expanded to all 20 governorates.

Basic Education Development Project (BEDP)
In August 2000, the Basic Education Development Program (BEDP) which was a follow-up and expansion of the Basic Education Expansion Program (BEEP) was approved by the World Bank. It has been implemented with the cooperation of DFID and the Netherlands since June 2004. BEDP involves the construction and rehabilitation of schools (grades 1-9), including latrines, hygienic hand washing and drinking water facilities, boundary walls and laboratories, and the procurement of laboratory equipment (including chemical materials) for grades 1-9. BEDP aims at implementing the plans in all governorates while the operation of BEDS (Basic Education Development Strategy) has been concentrated in four particular governorates. The size of this joint project (BEDP) is US$120 million and core of the BEDS. In November 2006, EKN and DFID signed a Technical Assistance Trust Fund. This Fund has been disbursed to support BEDP operations such as preparation projects for girls' secondary education and the preparation of vocational training project II initiated by the World Bank.

Basic Education Development Strategy (BEDS)
In 2002, the government developed a national Basic Education Development Strategy (BEDS) with the support of various development partners and stakeholders. This project implemented in four districts of the governorate of Sana'a at first, and expanded to cover 50% of the districts of the governorates of Sana'a, Amran, Mahwet and Al-Dhalea in 2002. Later, it was expanded to all 61 districts of the four governorates. BEDS had following objectives; raising the enrollment rates to 95% by 2015, improving the quality of teaching, upgrading curriculum, school administration reform, improving fund management, decentralizing management of educational services, expanding the availability of school space for girls, using underutilized classroom space, instituting double-shifts, constructing new schools based on school mapping, enhancing community participation. The government held a series of consultative meetings and workshops with civil stakeholders to build ownership among citizens. Over 400 male and female citizens who were representative of the Women's Committee, Teacher's Union, and Parents' and Students' Councils from both the central and local levels participated in the meetings. The monitoring of implementation of the BEDS was operated by an Inter-ministerial Steering Committee (ISC) and guided by a Technical Team (TT). Technical Team also had responsibility for regular co-ordination with donor community. The responsibility for the actual activities and implementation of the BEDS were carried by Ministry of Education where accounts for authorities and organization at decentralized level.

The implementation of the BEDS was greatly influenced by economic situations such as a decline in oil prices, damage to agriculture due to drought, and a decline in external support.When these main resources of national economy were harmed, Yemen's economy did not possess the ability to continue implementation of the plan. In 2004, a Partnership Declaration for Implementation of the BEDS was signed between the Government of Yemen and the World Bank, UNICEF, WFP, ILO, UNESCO, the Governments of Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France, EU. The objective of this Declaration is to harmonize strategies and effectively allocate all government and donor resources for basic education. Through this partnership, the implementation of the BEDS gained strong sponsors and has shown remarkable progress.

EFA-Fast Track Initiative (FTI)
After the G8 Summit in June 2002, Yemen was invited to participate in the Education For All: Fast Track Initiative (EFA: FTI). The FTI was launched in April 2002 as a global partnership between donor and developing countries to accelerate the Millennium Development Goals for education in 2015. Yemen faces rapid increase of population and needed additional funds to expand their educational strategy. The government drafted FTI proposal based on the Basic Education Development Strategy (BEDS) and Poverty Reduction Strategy Proposal with the cooperation of the World Bank. This proposal was reviewed in October 2002 in Brussels, and approved in donor meeting held in Paris in 2003. One year later, ten million US dollars were given to the Government as a Catalytic fund. FTI supported basic education mainly in the governorates of Al-Baidha, Dhamar, Hodeidah and Hajjah and part of this grant was allocated to the governorates of Al-Jouf, Shabowah and Lahej.The task forces were established to strength and facilitate the implementation between the government and donors. The Ministry of Education has promoted reform policies by following the FTI framework, and has been careful for monitoring, the quality, and efficiency of service delivery.Ministry of Education also engaged in the administrative reform, and reinforced relations with the local government. Senior technical officials of the Ministry of Education and the local government's officials held several workshops about the allocation of FTI fund. A deputy ministers' committee has been established in the central ministry and local education department for building a capacity in the area of educational administration and for policy making among the administrative staff.The involvement of the local government's officials contributed to reflect their voices in making policy and brought them a serious incentive for the implementation of the plan.

The government increased public expenditure for basic education and allocated a share of 17.2% of the public expenditures in 2003, and 16.97% in 2004 which are about 4.5% of the GDP.

Basic education schools increased from around 9930 schools in 2000 to 10293 schools in 2002 and 10684 in 2004. The number of classrooms also showed an increase from 97,462 classrooms in 2003 to 98329 in 2004. In particular, more than two thirds of the number of schools and classrooms including private schools were built in rural areas. The increase of gross enrollment rate is contributed to special consideration such as exemption of school fee or school feeding programs for the children from poor families. These programs supported 106,169 girls in 1272 schools. In 2004, a dry meals service was operated and 248,244 girls in the basic education level were included in this service.

These projects contributed to improve enrolment rate in the basic education level (6-14 years) up to 72% for boys and 42% for girls in 1999. In 2004, the enrollment rate increased to 87% for boys and 63% for girls. In Yemen, only about one-third (36%) of 10- to 14-year-old working children attend school, compared to 58% of non-working children. This is even lower for girls. Girls' retention at the basic education level is a major problem; out of every 100 girls who join basic education in Grade 1, only 25% will complete Grade 9, thereby limiting the intake at secondary level.