Haiti’s formal education “Année Fondamental” is based on a primary, secondary and higher education programs with a vocational curriculum added, and are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education “Ministére de lÉducation.” Eighty percent of the population lives under the poverty line, literacy is reported as 52.9%, and on average Haitian’s receives 4.9 years of schooling. Haiti has approximately 15,200 primary schools, of which 90% are privatized and managed by communities, church organizations and NGOs. The enrollment rate for primary school is 67%, and fewer than 30% reach 6th grade (Wikipedia, 2016). Many charity organizations are building schools in Haiti and providing necessary school supplies.
Haiti is one of the lowest-ranked countries in the world, 177th out of 186, for national spending on education (Wikipedia, 2016). Only about 10% of the federal budget is allocated to elementary and secondary schools. Many reformers, along with the Haitian government and Haiti Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) have advocated the creation of a free public and universal education system for all primary school students in Haiti. The plan is to enroll 1.5 million students in school by 2016. Also, the Bernard Reform of 1978, named after the Minister of Education, is addressing deficiencies in the educational system through the National Education and Training Plan (PNEF) and has “four main objectives: reinforcement of the quality of education; improved external efficiency of the education system; increased access to education; and improved governance of the system” (Quamina-Aiyejina, 2000).
Linguistic barriers affect Haitian education from colonial times to present day. French and Creole are both official languages of Haiti. Most Haitians speak Creole, but only the most elite Haitians speak French. Since French is the principal written and administrative language of Haiti, it is required for any individual to apply for full citizenship in Haiti. The practice of using French rather than Creole in the classroom discriminates against the lower socioeconomic classes, by creating confusion and inequities both socially and economically in the country’s development (Quamina-Aiyejina, 2000).
Other factors affecting Haiti’s educational deprivation is that poverty has forced Haitian children to work as restavecs (unpaid household servants). Nutritional and health factors also affect education. Persistent food insecurities and malnutrition are a significant problem affecting student’s ability to sustain physical and mental health and alertness to learn.
The January 2010 earthquake was a major setback for education reform in Haiti. In addition, the existing health epidemia and lack of sanitation, potable drinking water, and preventative medicine diminish life expectancy. Haitian’s has a life expectancy of 63 years, further decreases the number of youth and potential constituents to sustain the country’s socio-economic development, educational system and political infrastructures.
Haiti Education System – youtube
Quamina-Aiyejina, L. (2000). The problem of over-age students in the Haitian education system. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001364/136433e.pdf
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Wikipedia the free encyclopedia (n.d). Haiti Education. Retrieved 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Haiti