The education system in Haiti is governed by the Ministry of National Education and Professional Training (“MENFP”). It includes preschool, “Fundamental” Education, secondary education and higher education. According to the 2002-2003 education census cited by the World Bank, only 8 percent of Haitian schools were public, while approximately 92 percent were privately owned and financed (this makes many schools unaffordable and inaccessible to the majority of Haitian families).
Preschool is not compulsory, but approximately 23% of children below 6 years of age have access to preschool education.* Elementary education, or “Fundamental Education,” is compulsory for children between 6 and 11 years of age. Fundamental Education consists of three cycles of three years each. The third cycle is completed either in elementary or in secondary school. 81.5% of children in this level go to private schools and pay fees, often due to the limited availability of public schools. 50% of primary school age children are not enrolled in school and more than 50% of children attending school are overaged. 60% of students will abandon school before sixth grade.
Starting at the second cycle of Fundamental Education, students have the option of following vocational training programs.
The third cycle of Fundamental Education consists of 7th, 8th and 9th grades, where the student studies a range of general education courses. These three years are called “Année Fondamental.” After completing the primary Fundamental Education, the student must pass an official national exam in order to earn a certificate of completion and advance to the secondary level. French is the principal written and administrative language of Haiti, and used in the classroom and on the national tests. This creates a language barrier since most Haitians speak Creole, but only the most advantaged Haitians speak French. Less than 22% of children move on from elementary to secondary education. Of this 22%, 75% go to private schools.
The first year of secondary school is called “3eme” and the second year is “2eme”. In these years, chemistry, Haitian and French literature, and geology are added to the curriculum. For the final two years of secondary school, Rheto and Philo, the student is finished with general education courses and selects a focused curriculum based on their own interests and objectives. The student must pass another official national exam after Rheto in order to be admitted into Philo. These exams are challenging for most students and require a great deal of preparation by the student as well as additional fees. The student earns their diploma and is eligible to attend post-secondary education once they have passed both Philo and the final national exam following Philo.
Vocational training in Haiti is given at different levels between the second half of secondary school and the first half of university. These include technical education and professional education, housework skills, and professional training.
There are a limited number of regional public universities and public institutions associated with their respective ministries, and again, many private institutions with higher tuition and fees. Less than 1% of the college age group are enrolled at the university level.
Although we all realize the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty, our children face many roadblocks in attaining this education: lack of financial resources to pay for school, transportation to school or other school expenses, lack of familiarity with the French language in order to pass their mandatory state tests, the need to work and provide for their families, and so much more. At Haiti Scholarships we are trying to remove as many of these roadblocks as possible so our students can focus on their education and improving themselves, because we believe in the power of education.
Your donations are in investment in the future of Haiti’s youth. They will help send bright, deserving students to good schools, and help them receive the education they need to break out of the poverty cycle. By donating to Haiti Scholarships you are providing a brighter tomorrow for the country of Haiti and its children.
*Current statistics for Haiti are hard to find. The statistics in this post range in dates from 2008 to 2012. Our hope is that many of these numbers are outdated, but the sad reality is that these statistics probably still hold true today.