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Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Education

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Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
June 28, 2012


The Challenge

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 non-governmental 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).

USG Strategy

Haitian President Martelly has identified guaranteeing free and universal education as one of the key priorities of his administration. During the fall of 2011, the GOH’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 licensing schools. The U.S. Government (USG) is committed to improving the governance and quality of basic education in Haiti in support of these priorities.

Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the USG’s education program focuses on improving reading skills in grades 1-3 in our development corridors of Port-au-Prince, St. Marc, and Cap Haitien. USAID will support the development of materials and curricula and train teachers in new effective methods to help children learn to read in Creole and French. USAID will also provide targeted technical assistance to build the capacity of the MENFP to foster public private partnerships and assist in the accreditation of schools.

Accomplishments

The USG continues to work to improve the quality of and access to education for Haitians. Since the earthquake, we have:

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