ADEN -- UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) has recently approved the development of a six-year education plan for Yemen between 2024-2030.
It also approved the implementation of a comprehensive educational survey for the 2024-2025 period.
Completing its work on October 28 in Cairo, the institute agreed to proceed with the launch of the plan and to supporting the Ministry of Education as it prepares a partnership charter to support the education system in Yemen.
Yemeni Deputy Minister of Education Ali al-Abab stressed the need for these projects to be comprehensive and sustainable for the teacher, the student, the curriculum and the entire education process.
They must meet the real and urgent needs of schools and cover the growing deficit that led to a decline in the level of education and weakened student learning and proficiency, he said.
He pointed to the suffering in Yemen as a result of the war, triggered by the Iran-backed Houthis' September 2014 coup in Sanaa.
The education sector has been hit particularly hard, he said, and the influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) into Marib province have further strained the system, with schools in host areas unable to accommodate additional students.
More than 2.5 million students are out of school, al-Abab said.
The new education plan will cover all Yemeni provinces and not just those liberated from the Houthis, Mohammed Jumeh, Yemen's ambassador to UNESCO, told Al-Mashareq.
Struggling education sector
"The Houthis' coup has had a severe direct adverse impact on education and its four pillars: the teacher, the student, the curriculum and educational facilities," Yemeni Teachers' Syndicate spokesman Yahya al-Yanaei said.
Teachers have been deprived of their salaries and in some cases subjected to murder, kidnapping, displacement from their homes, torture and death, he said.
Between September 2014 and the end of the year, more than 31,000 violations have been recorded against teachers, al-Yanaei said.
He stressed the importance of supporting education by identifying what is needed to bring about a full recovery and mitigate future risks, which includes putting teachers at the top of the priority list for rehabilitation and retraining.
It also includes supporting teachers by improving their livelihood, he added, so they can perform their sacred mission.
"The reality of education is a manifestation of the great devastation that has befallen Yemen," said education researcher Nabil al-Bakiri.
"Education is the biggest casualty of the war of Iran's militias and a major target of the Houthi coup," he said.
Houthis' destructive role
The Houthis are working "to destroy education by changing the curricula, dismissing teachers, and making schools undesirable places for students", al-Bakiri said.
This has contributed to a high student drop-out rate, he said.
He called on the international community and UNESCO to increase financial allocations to support the education sector and see that it is treated as neutral in the political conflicts by all the parties to the conflict.
UNESCO's plan is still "provisional, and will take 14 months to develop, with implementation to begin in 2024", political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq.
The plan will evolve as it goes forward, he said, calling on the international community to increase support for education in Yemen by at least 30% of the total support provided by donors.