A decade of sustained economic growth from 2000 to 2010 enabled the Republic of Yemen to achieve substantial
improvements in social and economic indicators. The government’s commitment to education, expressed in the
development of level-specific strategies as well as sustained public investment, led to a remarkable expansion in access to basic education and, consequently, higher demand at the secondary and tertiary levels. However, quality has remained a challenge at all levels: Increased enrollment has not resulted in higher completion rates or improved student performance, and students leave the education system ill-prepared for the labor market. After the events of 2011, and reaching an unemployment rate of 29 percent in 2012—estimated at 60 percent for youth—workforce development (WfD) has become a priority on Yemen’s political agenda.
The SABER-WfD benchmarking results, summarized below, reveal the various challenges faced by the WfD system in Yemen. These include a strong supply-driven approach, weak links between education outcomes and labor market needs, a small private sector, and a shortage of employment opportunities in the public sector. Addressing them will require focused and sustained efforts and collaboration across multiple WfD stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as civil society organizations and donors engaged in supporting WfD policies and programs. Capitalizing on the increased attention given to WfD in the last two years, two priority actions could be pursued: (i) formulating a unified strategic vision for WfD in Yemen; and (ii) identifying key economic sectors that are growing at the local level and developing training and apprenticeship programs accordingly.