war in Yemen add 400 thousand children to illiterate lists

About 400,000 children are still being added annually to Yemen’s illiteracy lists due to the ongoing war and siege imposed on Yemen.

The World Education Ministers’ Conference, held in September in the middle of the sixth decade of the last century in Iran, approved the eighth of September a day for literacy and adult education, then year later, the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) adopted it at its fourteenth conference in Paris and obligated member states to celebrate this occasion annually.

Given the importance of this occasion, Yemen News Agency (Saba) shed light on what has been achieved to spread education and eliminate ignorance and illiteracy among the community, considering education the foundation for the advancement of peoples and Nations.

In this regard, the chairman of the Illiteracy Eradication and Adult Education Authority of the Ministry of Education Fuad al-Shami, stressed the importance of this occasion as an evaluation pause in reviewing the process of struggle against illiteracy and adult education by knowing the strengths and weaknesses in order to enhance the strengths and strive to find solutions to the problems that faces.

He referred to the Authority’s continuous endeavor through many activities and programs to implement the national strategy for literacy and adult education approved by the Cabinet in 1998, by creating specialized curricula and targeting rural areas due to the high rate of illiteracy, especially among females.

Enrolment Rates

The chairman stated that the total number of enrolled literacy centers for the past academic year reached 49,617 male and female students.

The statistics show that the number of enrolled for the first grade amounted to 22,654 students, the number of enrolled for the second grade amounted to 12,829 students, and the number of enrolled for the following-up stage reached 8,179 students while the number of enrolled in women skills centers reached 5,633 trainees; additionally 119 trainees in basic skills training centers.

Rehabilitation and Training

Al-Shami discussed efforts in the field of rehabilitation and employees’ capacity building in the literacy Authority and its branches in the provinces through the implementation of several workshops and training courses in the field of capacity building and management skills funded by Yemen’s Social Fund for Development that targets more than 100 employees.

He pointed out that 80 sewing machines and their accessories had been distributed to a number of women’s training centers in the provinces in order to educate and qualify women as well as help them to get rid of poverty and unemployment.

Authority’s Activities

Al-Shami said ” as part of the emergency response to confront the Covid-19 pandemic, and under the direction of Education Minister Yahya al-Houthi, ” we have implemented this year the first phase of the package of initiatives to support the government efforts at the central and local levels, starting from preparation for support of preventive production where 763 trainees have been trained and qualified as they represent local support teams of literacy cadres and employees in 12 provinces.”

In Education Field, al-Shami explained that the Authority carried out 174 field awareness campaigns for citizens in many areas and districts in 13 provinces during which 19,000 educational and instructional posters were distributed, in addition to implementing 13 spraying and sterilization campaigns for some markets, streets and government bodies at the local level.

He confirmed the completion of the first phase of equipping and operating three production lines in the women’s training centers affiliated with the Authority in the Capital Sanaa and the provinces of Taiz and Amran for high-quality medical masks with international specifications and a production capacity of 9,000 medical masks per day.

He indicated that the Authority had made a plan for Bilal’s descendants in response to the national project that was directed by the Leader of Anssarallah movement Sayyed Abdulmalik al-Houthi while the intervention areas in the project were identified in the Capital Sanaa and provinces of Taiz and Hodeidah.

Development Efforts

The Authority chairman touched on the development efforts in starting the implementation of computerizing project of literacy and adult education tests, and linking the main branch with its branches in the provinces, monitoring scores and results automatically, and creating a unified database at the central level and Republic’s provinces, in addition to the opening of 180 new classes in the capital Sanaa and in a number of provinces as well as the establishment of a unit for producing radio and television programs at the main office in order to achieve the Authorities’ goals in the media and awareness, referring to the Authority’s plan for the current year 2020/2021, which targets more than 300,0000 male and female students.


Challenges and Difficulties

The Authority faces many challenges and difficulties. The Chairman summarized the most prominent of which is the scarcity of resources and capabilities due to the difficult economic conditions Yemen is going through as a result of the continuation of the war and unjust blockade, in addition to the factors that hinder the expansion of literacy programs, including the dispersal of the population, as there are nearly 100,000 gatherings population in Yemen.

He referred to the high rate of illiteracy as an actual result of the continuation of coalition war and its direct targeting of schools, as well as the closure of many of them or using them as shelters for IDPs, which led to an increase in school drop-out rates and a decrease in enrollment that constitutes a great burden on the Authority.

Al-Shami added, “All of this requires the concerted efforts of all institutions and individuals to activate community participation and provide the necessary support to eradicate illiteracy as a national responsibility to push the country’s development wheel forward.”

He indicated that the repercussions of spreading of illiteracy and its negative social and economic impacts on the country makes literacy a humanitarian and moral duty as well as participatory responsibility among all members of society.


Al-Shami called on everyone in the foreground the concerned institutions and civil society organizations to assume responsibility in this aspect by building a real partnership with the Authority and directing their activities and programs in literacy and adult education, calling on the official and non-official media to pay attention to literacy and adult education so as to define the danger of illiteracy and the need to eradicate it.

It is noteworthy that the world celebrates ILD in light of the presence of more than 774 million adults who lack the minimum level of reading and writing skills in the world, one adult out of five is still illiterate (and two-thirds of illiterate women) and 72.1 million children are out of school in the world while more children do not attend classes regularly or in the event of a school drop-out.