War of Ignorance

A field study of the impacts of armed conflict on access to education in Yemen 2021 - 2020

Publish Date
December 10, 2020
Pages Count
War of Ignorance
Ongoing “War of Ignorance” Waged by Parties to the Conflict in Yemen
Press Release
Ongoing “War of Ignorance” Waged by Parties to the Conflict in Yemen
January 25, 2021

For the past six years, armed conflict in Yemen has caused escalating impacts on education. The conflict is still seriously adversely impacting education. The conflict has caused countless catastrophes that have impacted almost all elements of the education system, while very few structures, systems, and policies can be counted on in the struggle to save the future of education.

Thousands of families have been displaced, with their children moving towards an unknown future. Thousands of children have had to leave their schools, with their schools damaged or destroyed during the war or fighters coming and taking over and using these schools as military barracks.

Accessing schools safely also became quite hard for girls and boys. Various parties to the conflict have continued undermining education through attacks, armed occupation of school grounds, and terrorizing educators and education workers. Some schools have been transformed into grounds for those seeking to find conscripts, looking for child soldiers. Schools became spaces frequented by war advocates filling the ears of students with poisonous, recruitment rhetoric instead of peaceful morning chants during school assemblies. These catastrophes for students will lead to a huge loss for Yemen’s future unless urgent interventions are made and solutions found. This is what this study seeks to flesh out.

The conflict itself is having an extremely adverse impact on children’s rights, including the right to education. The conflict has led to the education system being undermined, thousands of children being deprived of the opportunity of education, and led to the fragmentation of educational policies among the various parties to the conflict.

International treaties and conventions repeatedly state the importance of education, and of protecting education during armed conflict. During long conflicts in poor countries like Yemen, which already lack many aspects of a good education system, the ability to protect education and contain the negative impacts of the conflict on education surpasses the capacity of local communities. These communities need meaningful assistance, solidarity and action from the international community to help protect education during armed conflict.

This study deals with the multiple impacts of the armed conflict in Yemen since its outbreak in September 2014 on public education. Education is one of the most vital sectors, and has been seriously impacted by war. The study sheds light on the conflict’s repercussions on the education system, the education process and the physical structure of education facilities and related infrastructure in a number of elementary and secondary schools. The study traces the impact of this on students and teachers through analyzing field data and qualitative results. The study also discusses the phenomenon of displacement tied to the armed conflict, in particular the displacement of students with their families, looking at field data related to hardships and obstacles facing displaced students seeking to integrate in schools in host communities. The study also discusses the phenomenon of school dropouts. Dropouts existed on a large scale before the conflict, but are expected to rise extensively as the conflict continues.

Purposes of the study

The study seeks to achieve the following purposes:

1) Understand the effects of the armed conflict on the public education system.

2) Understand the extent to which students can access safe education, and the impact of various

economic and social factors on education in the context of armed conflict.

3) Understand the overlap between education, displacement, school dropout and armed conflict.

4) Inform strategies for softening the impact of armed conflict on education, including conflict sensitive and emergency-sensitive education.