Lack of 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 illiterate and that the average Haitian child spends less than four years in school. An early grade reading assessment showed that 49 percent of Haitian children entering third grade are unable to read a single word. As indicated by these statistics, many Haitian youth are either illiterate or functionally illiterate, and a generation of Haitians does not possess the necessary knowledge and skills to enter the labor force. More than 80 percent of primary schools are privately managed by non-governmental organizations, churches, communities, and for-profit operators, with little to no government oversight. Approximately 75 percent of teachers lack adequate training. For low-income families, annual school expenses account for about 40 percent of income and can represent a significant financial burden. The January 2010 earthquake resulted in damage or destruction to 50 percent of primary and secondary schools, according to the Government of Haiti.
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’s All Children Reading education program, Tout Timoun Ap Li (ToTAL), focuses on improving reading skills for children in first through third grade in the Northern, St. 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 best practice literacy instruction. ToTAL is also developing and implementing innovative teacher training and community literacy activities. This initiative will 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 three development corridors. USAID is also providing targeted technical assistance to build the capacity of the Ministry of National Education to foster public-private partnerships and assist in the licensing and accreditation of schools.
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 the Ministry of Education to promote national-level implementation of improved reading curricula.
- Trained 800 principals and teachers since January 2013 on how to successfully implement the new curricula for Haitian Creole and French.
- Distributed 30,000 reading books and workbooks, 800 teacher guides, and 400 posters to pupils in first and second grade at 200 primary schools in the St. Marc and Northern Corridors.
- Constructed more than 600 semi-permanent furnished classrooms, enabling more than 60,000 children to return to school following the earthquake.
- 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 Plan (MYAP); in 2013, over 39,000 primary students attended classes and received a hot meal each day of school.
- Developed five grade-level health modules in 2012. Over 74,000 copies of these were distributed to schools, and more than 990 were distributed during small group prevention activities.
- Increased physical access in 19 primary schools for people with disabilities and provided inclusive education training to 150 teachers and school principals.
Related Program Fact Sheets:
- U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, USAID’s Mark Feierstein and Christie Vilsack Visit Haiti and Announce Multi-Million Dollar Funding For Room to Learn
- PHOTOS: Secretary Duncan Visits USAID-supported School in Haiti
- Haiti Holds First National Reading Championship
- Graduates Share Computer Knowledge in Haiti
- USAID supports Ministry of Education in Haiti
- USAID Provides New Schools to Earthquake Affected Communities in Haiti
- USAID Helps Haiti’s Schoolchildren Return to their Classrooms after the Earthquake
- Education Opportunities Open Doors in Haiti
- Better Prospects for Out-of-School Youth
Last updated: November 06, 2013