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Salary crisis puts 13,000 schools in Yemen at risk of closure

Image of Yemeni schools attending class [File photo]

A Yemeni non-governmental research centre has warned that 13,000 schools are to be closed, most of them in the Houthi-controlled areas in the country, because of a salary crisis.

A report issued by the Research and Education Resources Information Centre, based in Taiz, states that “the suspension of the salaries of 70 per cent of teachers 10 months ago puts more than 13,000 out of about 17,000 at risk of closure”.

This, according to the same report, “entails depriving millions of children from their right to education”.

Some 102 billion riyals (about $270 million) worth of teachers’ salaries have been suspended in the past 10 months.

The report drew attention to the fact that “last year, more than 1,400 schools throughout the country remained closed, 78 per cent of them were partially or totally damaged, 22 per cent were occupied by soldiers or used to host displaced people”.

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The report also pointed to a drop of 3 per cent in education enrolment last year, “due to fear of contagion, high risk rates in many cities and the residents’ deteriorating living conditions”.

It added: “So far, there have been about 1.4 million dropouts among school children at the general education age since the beginning of the war in late 2014, added to the 1.7 million school children who dropped out before the war. The total number of children who dropped out of school is therefore 3.1 million.”

According to the report last year witnessed “the highest rate of attacks against schools during classes since the beginning of the war”. The report also recorded 16 incidents of children who were killed on their way to and from school.

Salaries have been suspended in many areas of Yemen for about 10 months due to the economic war between the legitimate government and the Houthis over the Central Bank.

Last month the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that 4.5 million Yemeni children would not continue studying if their teachers’ yearly salaries were not paid.

Last month, the Union of Educational Professions in Sana’a called for an open strike by all teachers and summoned them not to resume teaching in the new academic year unless their salaries are paid.

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