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Education

The Challenge

Access to quality education remains a key obstacle to Haiti’s social and economic development. Surveys indicate that approximately 35 percent of Haitian youth are unable to read and that the average Haitian child spends less than four years in school.  These statistics show that a generation of Haitian youth is at risk for not having the necessary knowledge and basic skills to succeed in the labor force.  Most schools in Haiti have minimal government support, lack qualified instructors, and are relatively expensive. More than 80 percent of primary schools are privately managed by nongovernmental organizations, churches, communities, and for-profit operators, with minimal government oversight. Approximately 75 percent of teachers in Haiti lack adequate credentials. For low-income families, annual school expenses account for about 40 percent of parents’ income and can represent a significant financial burden. In addition, the January 2010 earthquake damaged or destroyed 80 percent of primary and secondary schools in earthquake-affected areas, according to the Government of Haiti. Despite efforts by USAID and other donors to help rebuild some of those schools, more remains to be done in this area.  

USG Strategy

The Government of Haiti has made free and universal education a key priority. During the fall of 2011, the Government of Haiti’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) began the rollout of an operational plan to get 1.5 million students in school by 2016, improve curricula, train teachers, and set standards for schools. The U.S. Government is committed to supporting the Government of Haiti’s efforts to improve the quality of basic education. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Government supports two educational initiatives: the All Children Reading project, also known as Tout Timoun Ap Li (ToTAL), and the Room to Learn initiative. 
 
USAID’s ToTAL project focuses on improving reading skills for children in first through third grade in Cap Haitien, Saint Marc, and Port-au-Prince areas—the three U.S. Government development corridors in Haiti. Over the course of two years, ToTAL will provide more than 28,000 children and 900 teachers with innovative reading curricula that meet international standards for literacy instruction. This initiative aims to eventually reach more than one million children nationwide as other partners extend the use of the program’s reading curricula and training methods beyond the development corridors. ToTAL also provides technical assistance to build the capacity of MENFP to foster public-private partnerships and to assist in the licensing and accreditation of schools. 
 
In addition, USAID recently announced the new, multi-year Room to Learn project in Haiti that will work toward making education more accessible for all children. Haiti is one of six focus countries for the initiative, which is designed to increase equitable access to quality education in crisis-affected environments. Through Room to Learn, USAID aims to accelerate progress towards Millennium Development Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education.

Accomplishments

The U.S. Government continues to work to improve the quality of, and access to, education for Haitians. Since 2010, the U.S. Government has:
  • Facilitated a multi-donor supported reading unit at MENFP to promote national-level implementation of improved reading curricula.
  • Trained 885 teachers and educators and 335 administrators and officials since January 2013 on how to successfully implement the new reading curricula for Haitian Creole and French.   
  • Distributed more than 46,000 textbooks, teacher guides, workbooks, and posters to pupils in first and second grade at 200 primary schools in the U.S. Government development corridors of Saint Marc and Cap Haitien and introduced the program at 100 schools in Port-au-Prince.
  • Provided teaching and learning kits to reach approximately 60,000 students and 1,200 teachers.
  • Trained a total of 138 directors and supported the participation of 1,071 teachers in refresher social sciences training. 
  • Provided training to support 123 parent teachers associations that are now actively involved in school activities.
  • Improved equitable access to quality basic education through USAID’s Multi-Year Assistance Program (MYAP). In 2013, over 39,000 primary students attended classes and received a hot meal each day of school.
  • Developed reproductive health modules for students in fifth to ninth grades in 2012. Over 74,000 copies of these were distributed to schools, and more than 990 were distributed during small group activities. 
  • Increased access to education for persons with physical disabilities in 19 primary schools and provided inclusive education training to 150 teachers and school principals.
  • Constructed more than 600 semi-permanent furnished classrooms that enabled more than 60,000 children to return to school following the earthquake.  
  • In partnership with the local YMCA, supported MENFP’s national summer reading championship to provide summer reading enrichment activities to students entering third and fourth grade in all ToTAL schools with a community participation component.

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Last updated: February 10, 2014

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