Key Statistics (prior to the earthquake in January 2010)
Net enrollment ratio 2002-2003: 56.37 percent preschool / 76 percent basic (1st and 2nd) / 22 percent post-basic and secondary1
Number of out-of-school children 6 to 11 years old: 400,0002
Over-aged students 2002-2003: Preschool 38 percent, basic 72 percent3
Schooling expense per family: US $109 per year4
Illiteracy rate 13 years and over (national average): 57.24 percent (women: 59.14 percent, men 55.27 percent)5
Education share of the budget 2009-2010: 9 percent (estimated)
The educational system in Haiti is characterized by significant exclusion and structural deficiencies. Education costs remain high in proportion to family revenues (about 40 percent of revenues for low income families)6 and access to school is difficult, especially in rural areas. Public schools only cover 20 percent of the total demand for basic education. In addition, parents must pay school fees to enroll their children in the public school system.7 Twenty-two percent of children from ages 6 to 11 (an estimated 400,000) are still out of the educational system.8 In addition to lack of classroom space, the majority of schools have no functioning basic services (sanitation, equipment, supplies). The gross enrollment ratio in basic and post-basic education is 124 percent as a large number of over-aged students are in the system.9 The quality of education remains a key concern, especially as it relates to the teachers and the content of didactic materials. Lack of quality teaching material for all students often represents an obstacle to their learning.
Ⅰ. Strategy & Priorities
Faced with these major difficulties, in 2007 the Ministry of Education in cooperation with national and international partners developed a National Strategy in support of Education For All (SNA-EPT) in line with the objectives by the United Nations’ Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (DSNCRP). All interventions by the international community are aligned with these two strategies. The main priorities are:
- Improve equity in the development and protection of early childhood
- Improve equity in the access to formal and non-formal education
- Improve the internal efficiency of basic and post-basic education
- Improve the external efficiency of basic and post-basic education
- Improve the overall management and governance of the system.
Those priority areas eventually led to commitment to the education sector by partners. (Prior to 2007 international assistance to education did not exceed 3.6 percent of overall aid to Haiti.)10
The Government of Haiti has identified the following top three challenges in the area of education:
- Increasing enrollment of primary school children (more than 500,000 children are not in school)
- Improving the quality of education (only 20 percent of primary school teachers are trained)
- Reducing the number of over-aged students in classes (each year, more than 9 percent of children are not promoted to the next grade)
The Office of the Special Envoy is working with the Government of Haiti to identify 3-5 strategic interventions that will address the challenges above. They include:
1. Impact of 2008 hurricane season:
- Teacher Salary Support: Direct salary support for teachers is a need that has been raised by the Government of Haiti.
- Teacher Training: Teacher training is a key need that has been highlighted in the Government of Haiti’s education plans and has donor support. The Government of Haiti has a teacher training network in each of the 10 departments. The OSE is identifying the gaps in this area developing a plan to work with donors to strengthen existing programs.
- Tuition Vouchers: Since only 10 percent of the primary schools in Haiti are public, most parents are faced with prohibitive school tuition fees. Fees are on average between $70-$80 a year. Scholarship and subsidy programs exist, but still at least 25 percent of primary school age children are not enrolled. Low enrollment levels are due in large part to these costs as well as other costs such as uniforms and books.
- School Feeding: The World Food Programme runs a large scale school feeding program in Haiti for which it needs to secure future budget support.
- “Safe School” Construction and Rehabilitation. As part of the “build back better” strategy, the OSE is exploring ways to increase plans to ensure that new construction follows proper hurricane and earthquake resistant codes as well as retrofitting schools in the most vulnerable locations.
Progress has been delayed by the tremendous impact of the hurricanes that tore through the country in 2008. In the education system alone, 964 schools were seriously damaged or destroyed, subsequently leaving 217,205 students out-of-school (46 percent from the public system).11
2. Chronic lack of regulation and governance of the system:
Two main areas of concern are the insufficient number of qualified personnel in the Ministry of Education, both at central and local levels; and the lack of capacity in leading, planning and managing the educational system. Regarding governance, two aspects are of particular concern: the information system and the accreditation process for non-public schools. As regards the information system, the Ministry of Education lacks basic statistical data (including the number of public and non public schools). The accreditation process is a key element affecting quality education as 80 percent of the system is dominated by private schools in need of regulation.12
3. Lack of public financing:
In 2008, the national budget allocated to education increased by about 2 percent. However, the sector remains highly under-financed as it does not receive more than 2 percent of the GDP. This impedes the government from meeting the cost of priority programs (subsidies to private schools, school feeding programs and provision of schools kits).
4. Quality of education:
The country suffers from a lack of qualified teachers and inadequate curricula. Besides the lack of access to schools, the low quality of education is a setback for economic development and social stability.
- La Stratégie Nationale d’Action pour l’Education pour Tous (SNA EPT), 2007. p. 18
- SNA EPT, 2007, p.18
- SNA EPT, 2007, p.20
- SNA EPT, 2007, p.20
- SNA EPT, 2007, p.163
- Plan Cadre des Nations Unies pour l’Aide au Développement, UNDAF 2009-2011, 2008. p.10
- Ibid., p.10
- SNA EPT, 2007, p.18
- UNDAF 2009-2011, 2008. p.11
- Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (DSNCRP), 2008-2010, 2007, p. 41
- Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), 2008, p. 35
- UNDAF, 2008, p. 10