U.S. Department of State
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
December 28, 2011
Education: Two Year Fast Facts on the U.S. Government’s Work in Haiti
Lack of access to education remains a key obstacle to social and economic development in Haiti, with less than half of Haitian school-aged children enrolled in primary school and an adult literacy rate of just over 50 percent. As more than 600,000 out-of-school Haitian children and youth are either illiterate or functionally illiterate, a generation of Haitians does not possess the necessary knowledge and skills to enter the labor force. More than 90 percent of primary schools are privately managed by nongovernmental organizations, churches, communities, and for-profit operators, with little to no government oversight. Approximately 75 percent of teachers lack adequate training. Annual school expenses account for about 40 percent of income for low-income families, serving as a financial burden for families with children in school. The January 2010 earthquake resulted in damage or destruction to 50 percent of primary and secondary schools, according to the Government of Haiti (GOH).
President Michel Martelly has identified education as one of the key priorities of his administration, declaring free, universal education. During the fall of 2011, the GOH began the rollout of a comprehensive plan to get 1.5 million students in school by 2016. The U.S. Government (USG) is committed to improving the governance and quality of basic education in Haiti in support of this priority, and aims to build GOH capacity to govern and set standards in the education sector. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the USG is providing technical assistance to the GOH for the development of national education standards for learners, teachers, and schools; supporting teacher training and the development of an instructional model and materials to promote early grade reading; and increasing access to non-formal basic education for youth.
The U.S. Government, through USAID, continues to work to improve the quality of and access to education for Haitians. Since the earthquake, we have:
• 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 accommodate a double shift of students in each classroom, reaching approximately 60,000 students and 1,200 teachers.
• Increased physical access in 17 primary schools for people with disabilities and provision of inclusive education training to 150 teachers and school principals.
• Trained 935 teachers on pedagogy and student evaluation.
• Trained 145 administrators and other Ministry of Education officials on administration, information system management, and training of trainers.
• Completed vocational training for youth, with 13,000 successfully transitioning to formal school, further vocational training, or other opportunities.