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The Challenge

Access to quality education remains key to Haiti’s social and economic development. The current state of education in Haiti, however, is not sufficient for the task. Surveys conducted by the UNDP indicate that Haitians who are 25 years and older received on average only 4.9 years of education and only 29 percent attended secondary 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 and contribute to the continued development of the country. 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. School expenses are often a significant financial burden for low income families. Half of public sector teachers in Haiti lack basic qualifications and almost 80 percent of teachers have not received any pre-service training

USG Strategy

The U.S. Government is committed to supporting the Government of Haiti’s efforts to improve access to quality basic education. To address education issues facing the country, 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. 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.

ToTAL, awarded in August 2012 and concluding in December 2014, is an applied research project focusing on the development of an instructional model to improve 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. Recognizing teachers play fundamental roles for quality education, ToTAL has focused on teacher training as well as capacity building of key support personnel including school administrators and ministry officials. Findings from this research project will inform a larger reading initiative that will eventually reach more than one million children nationwide as USAID and other partners, including the World Bank, extend the use of the program’s reading curricula and training methods throughout the country. ToTAL also has provided technical assistance to build the capacity of MENFP to plan, implement, and evaluate reading programs. USAID also plans to launch a follow-on reading program, expanded in scope, reach, and geographic focus.

In addition, USAID will initiate the 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 chosen 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 universal primary education, a Millennium Development Goal.


The U. S. Government continues to work to improve the quality of education as well as access to education for Haitians. Since 2010, the U.S. Government has:

  • Provided 28,000 children with innovative reading curricula and educational materials that meet international standards for literacy instruction.
  • 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 85,000 textbooks and workbooks, 3,700 teacher guides, and 400 posters to pupils in first and second grade at 200 primary schools in Saint Marc and Cap Haitien development corridors and introduced the program at 100 schools in Port-au-Prince.
  • Supported MENFP’s national summer reading championship as well as summer camps to provide extra-curricular reading enrichment activities to Grades 1-9 students in cooperation with youth volunteers and communities.
  • Facilitated a reading unit at MENFP to coordinate donor resources and promote national-level implementation of reading activities.
  • Developed reproductive and sexual health curriculum modules for students in third to ninth grades in 2011. Over 74,000 copies of these were distributed to schools, and almost 1,000 were distributed during school community group activities.
  • Increased access to education for persons with physical disabilities in 19 primary schools and provided disability awareness training to more than 660 teachers and school principals. Over 62,000 community members, 400 parents and 800 school staff also participated in disability awareness programs.
  • Constructed more than 600 semi-permanent furnished classrooms that enabled more than 60,000 children to return to school following the earthquake.

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Last updated: February 10, 2016

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