Fanack Home / Yemen / Society Media Culture / Society / Education


Until the revolution of 1962, education was the privilege of the elite offspring of sayyids and qadis. Only a few schools existed. Since the revolution, schools have been built across the country, educating new generations. Today, 60 percent of all Yemeni adults are literate, with women catching up rapidly through adult-illiteracy-eradication centres in all major cities and towns.

Schools are located on hill tops, between villages. Primary pupils usually attend morning sessions, and the older children use the same classroom in the afternoons. Fees are limited to a few hundred riyals (a few dollars) per year, plus the cost of a school uniform. In 2009 over 80 percent of all children entered primary school, 40 percent continued into secondary schooling, and 10 percent received tertiary education. The figures for boys are much higher than for girls. Most of the boys finish primary school. Of the girls, only half of the 64 percent (2005, up from 45 percent in 2001) who enrol actually finish school; the rest drop out at the first sign of sexual maturity. Secondary school enrolment is 27 percent for girls and 47 percent for boys (2009). Teachers come from abroad (traditionally from Egypt, Syria, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories).

It is unclear whether children belonging to the Akhdam underclass receive an education, and if so, how many. It is an unwritten rule that the Akhdam do not qualify for social services, because few Yemenis allow their children to mix with them.

Literacy Yemen
Literacy Yemen
Education enrolment rate Yemen
Education enrolment rate Yemen

We would like to ask you something …

Fanack is an independent media organisation, not funded by any state or any interest group, that distributes in the Middle East and the wider world unbiased analysis and background information, based on facts, about the Middle East and North Africa.

The website grew rapidly in breadth and depth and today forms a rich and valuable source of information on 21 countries, from Morocco to Oman and from Iran to Yemen, both in Arabic and English. We currently reach six million readers annually and growing fast.

In order to guarantee the impartiality of information on the Chronicle, articles are published without by-lines. This also allows correspondents to write more freely about sensitive or controversial issues in their country. All articles are fact-checked before publication to ensure that content is accurate, current and unbiased.

To run such a website is very expensive. With a small donation, you can make a huge impact. And it only takes a minute. Thank you.