Culture or Religion?

High Early Drop Outs Amongst Yemeni Girls



Many parents are not supporting their daughters in further education as over protective parents are not approving of them going into further education – but is religion to blame?


Culture rather than religion hinders the development of girls in education deeming it as unimportant.


“The general attitude  is Girls after the age of puberty should stay at home and look after their families,” Safa says – a girl in the Al-Fars Rajam village. ” This has been our way of life for generations,” she adds.


Many western press report inaccurately that this is the teachings of Islam when in fact  cultural norms and not religious rules are the deciding factor – as were limitations in opportunities for women in the  western world before the world wars. after the wars women continued to work. However Middle Eastern economies are underdeveloped and we can not compare its status to ours in the Western world, says Faris Iqbal an Educational Consultant for the Middle East countries.


“All my sisters including myself never got the opportunity of studying beyond grade 5,” says Bilkees  Sanaa’s older sister who regrets missing-out.
“Half of women compared to men pass the literacy rate,” says Faheem Hussain CEO of Improve Tuition.


The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesman says, “The biggest challenges facing girls in Yemen today is access to education.”

“The lack of women teachers is deterring many parents from sending their children to schools,” says Istiaq a primary teacher at a school in the Al-Fars Rajam village. However, if women are educated then tis could solve the problem.


How Do Other Arab Countries Compare To The Yemeni experience?


The AHDR, sponsored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said significant differences exist between Arab countries in giving women access to education.


There seems to be strong correlation between economic development and accessibility for education.


However, there are significant differences in attitudes amongst Muslims and girls in rich oil producing countries of the Middle East are receiving sometime better access to education than boys. countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia are spiralling ahead with countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Sudan and Yemen with the worst record for girls entering education.


Mufaras Ahmed heads a team of online English tutors who teachers English language lessons to schools in Yemen and provide consultancy work in education improving the quality of teaching; teacher training; and the development of an English national curriculum.