Reading and writing are creative processes in building new pathways to leadership, future college and career plans and community programming. While some nations might make this a priority, Yemen’s focus is not currently to encourage literacy among the educational system.
Issues with Education in Yemen
As of 2017, 4.5 million students did not receive schooling due to absent teachers. Teachers in Yemen are on strike for not receiving payment for their services to the community. No school in session means unproductive minds and no practice with literacy.
Due to progressing conflict in Yemen, educational access and literacy efforts are not a top priority for many. There are approximately 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian aid, which is roughly 69 percent of the population.
The priority aid in Yemen consists of protection, as three million people have been displaced from their homes and approximately 44,000 people have been severely injured or killed. Other priorities focus on basic survival such as food, shelter and healthcare. Restriction on imports, economic decline and inflation among markets is making it extremely difficult for civilians to afford anything, much less education.
Encouraging Literacy in Yemen
As of 2017, UNICEF is a major partner in developing and implementing strategic plans for the ministry of education in Yemen. UNICEF is using a systemic approach to achieve educational goals. The framework consists of support from policy and legislation, ministry leadership, funding and public demand followed by implementation within the pre-primary sector and focusing on curriculum for early learning.
It is important to develop plans for early learning that empower literacy among Yemeni children and youth, as they are the future of the nation. The top three reasons to encourage literacy in Yemen are:
- Personal Empowerment
- Active Citizenship
Why Literacy is Important
Reading, writing and learning involve creative and critical thinking as well as problem solving. Literacy encourages better communication, self-management, resiliency, participation, empathy, respect for others, cooperation, decision making and negotiation—all of which are necessary life skills.
There has been a 10 percent increase in literacy over the past 20 years, jumping from 60.22 percent to 70.1 percent. However, areas with high conflict, such as Yemen, have greater potential to fall behind.
With an increasing drop out rate in the education system and high conflict causing other basic needs to take priority, it is easy for literacy to get lost in Yemen. Continued work can ensure a bright future ahead for families in Yemen, but a political focus on education and literacy in Yemen must be made a top priority.
– Ashley Cooper