GPE statement at the High-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen

A Yemeni girl in school. Credit: Julien Harneis

The Global Partnership for Education pledges our continued commitment to support the Republic of Yemen in the education sector. Over the next two-years, we are committed to provide approximately US$40 million to support the education of Yemen’s children and young people. In addition, GPE is committed to provide additional support to Yemen beyond 2018.

Yemen has been a GPE partner since 2002, and has so far received over US$120 million through five grants to support the implementation of the country’s education plans. The current grant of US$72.6 million supports Yemen’s medium-term result framework which helps improve access, quality, and equity in education. The goal is to ensure that all Yemeni children are able to enroll and complete a high-quality education. The current grant was approved by the GPE Board in May 2013 with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as the grant agent.

Last week, GPE facilitated the organization of a successful face-to-face meeting of the Yemeni local education group and partners. The meeting brought together key stakeholders from the Ministry of Education based in Aden and Sanaa, development partners and civil society. At the end of the four-day meeting, participants agreed on the development of a three-year transitional education sector plan. GPE will provide technical and financial support to Yemen for the development and finalization of the transitional plan.  The plan will help the government partners coordinate the education sector and make more effective use of both domestic and international support.

Since the start of the conflict, GPE and its development partners have been able to facilitate the organization of four such meetings of Yemeni local education group.

GPE is the global multilateral partnership devoted to getting all children into school for a good-quality education. GPE comprises 65 developing country governments, donor governments, civil society organizations, international institutions, teachers, private foundations, and the private sector. GPE provides technical support and funding to support the development and implementation of high-quality education sector plans. As a multilateral partnership, GPE brings global and national leaders together in support of coordinated strategies that provide every child with the chance to learn in a safe and effective learning environment. Eighty-nine lower and lower-middle income countries are eligible for GPE funding.

By supporting development programs to achieve a country’s education goals – such as gender parity, quality learning outcomes, and universal access to primary school – GPE ensures that investments in education pay off. GPE is also one of the founding partners of the Education Cannot Wait Fund. 

In Yemen, despite the conflict, approximately 90% of schools are still  functioning and trying to serve over 5 million children (73% of student population). However, very limited learning is taking place in these schools. In many areas it is reported that schools are operational only for two hours. A large number of these schools are operating either in damaged school buildings or in temporary structures (tents, etc.). Approximately 1,700 schools have been reported as closed. These schools are either damaged due to air strikes or occupied by internally displaced populations (IDPs) or rebel groups. Closure of schools and the internal population displacement has brought the total number of out-school-children numbers to approximately 2 million. In addition, approximately 300,000 teachers and other education staff in 13 governorates, including Sana’a, have not been paid salaries for six months. There is a severe shortage of textbooks and other school supplies in the country. The government has also been unable to cover operational expenses. The GPE grant has been re-programmed to help cover these expenses through coordinated support from other development partners, including USAID and GIZ.

On behalf of GPE, we strongly support today’s call for support to Yemen’s education sector to ensure that over seven million school age children in Yemen are able to have quality learning and contribute to a better future for Yemen and the world.

GPE appeals to all those involved in the conflict to spare the education sector from any armed conflict and keep children safe from violence. We are very much concerned about the recent report of attacks on the education sector in Yemen including the recruitment of many children as solders.

Middle East and North Africa: Yemen

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Alexandra Humme
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