This study aims to understand why some children in rural Yemen stop their basic schooling while others do not. Basic schooling is defined as nine grades of compulsory schooling in Yemen. All of the children in the study had access to basic resources such as nearby schools, female teachers and piped water in their communities – all reasons identified in the literature as potential barriers to basic school completion. Despite improvements over the last two decades, Yemen continues to show some of the worst education statistics in the region. The international education development community has long identified Yemen as a focus country for education aid, which started in earnest in the early 1990s. Having only initiated its mass schooling system in the late 1960s and having only a handful of schools to start with, the initial focus of education development was on access. Enrolment increased dramatically in the system’s early decades, but school completion lagged behind and the gender gap remained wide. In the 2006/07 school year, gross enrolment rates in basic schooling were 64 per cent for girls and 74 per cent for boys. Only about half of the children who start also complete primary school (the first six grades of schooling). Grade repetition rates are high and many children start school later than the required age of six. Both of these factors contribute to children stopping school before they complete the nine grades. International education development aid continues to play an important role in Yemen’s schooling system, although at present (2011) due to recent changes in priorities of major donors and civil unrest, donor investment in the schooling system has come to a near halt. Schooling has also been disrupted by political turmoil, which has increased the chance still further that children will stop school.

B.N.F. White (Benjamin)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISS PhD Theses
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Maas, L. (2012, April 12). A Time to Enrol, a Time to Stop: Policies, Perceptions and Practices Influencing the Right to Educaion in Yemen. ISS PhD Theses. Retrieved from