Growing Disinclination for University Education in Yemen

2023-08-21 12:53 AM UTC

Sheba Intelligence

Yemeni Students' disinclination to pursue higher education has compelled private universities to extend the admission deadline to September 15. One month has passed since the kickoff of the new academic year, 2023-2024. However, many seats in several colleges in North Yemen remain unoccupied. 

The Sanaa-based Higher Education Ministry of the Ansar Allah (Houthi) government approved on Saturday the admission deadline extension in reply to the collective request by private universities in Houthi-controlled provinces, said the Houthi-run Saba News Agency. 

During the Saturday meeting between Higher Education Ministry officials and heads of private universities, the two sides revisited some of the student admission requirements, including the grade average of the applicants. Lowering the required grade average will enable students to join several colleges. 

Since Yemen's civil war broke out in 2015, millions of families have lost their source of income, and seeking to survive has been their primary focus. Education became no longer a priority. 

Thousands of students who graduate from high school annually cannot join college due to financial hardships. Countless others have no intention of pursuing a university education as they reckon that university degrees will not guarantee better jobs.

A 55-year-old university professor in Sanaa told Sheba Intelligence that the number of students who apply for university education has considerably shrunk over the past years of war. 

"Before the war, crowds of applicants gathered in front of colleges' admission sections and waited hours to submit their documents. There was a genuine desire for education," the university professor said.

He added," Today, multitudes of Yemenis have lost their enthusiasm for education as they see the ordeal of thousands of school teachers, university lecturers, and other government employees. Even those educated who work in the private sector receive low pay. Such facts push students to avoid going to colleges." 

The number of student applicants has also decreased in universities located in government-controlled provinces. In 2021, 9000 students joined Taiz University. However, the university received only 5500 students in 2022. Al-Saeed University in Taiz also reported a 15%-decrease in student applicants. 




Academic Year

No. of Students Joined

Growth Percentage

Taiz University 










Sanaa University











Table: A comparison between Sanaa University and Taiz University during three academic years.