Education Systems in North America Part V: Haiti

The Haitian Constitution supports universal basic education however there is a large difference between what is preached and what is practiced. According to the CIA World Factbook the literacy rate for 2003 was just 52.9% of the total population in Haiti. Following the devastating earthquake of 2010 the country’s education system has been left in shambles.  It has been estimated that 3 million students had their education disrupted or halted, over 4000 school buildings were damaged and over 1000 were completely destroyed by the earthquake. Following the earthquake, the Haitian Ministry of National Education and Professional Training put into place a plan that they hope will turn around the education system and provide equal access to education for everyone in Haiti.

The main factors for school attendance rates are associated with the socio-economic backgrounds of students. Haiti only allocated only 10% of their national budget to education in 2010/11, which puts Haiti in 145th place out of 169 countries according to the 2010 UNDP Human Development Report. Due to this lack of federal funding only 8% of all Haitian schools are public. While most students have some sort of schooling (86.7% enroll in elementary school), many are forced to drop out due to high tuition and other costs (22% complete elementary school).

In Haiti the grading scale is generally as follows:

Numerical Grade

Description

 

80-100

Très Bien (Very Good)

70-79

Bien (Good)

60-69

Assez Bien (Satisfactory)

50-59

Passable (Sufficient)

0-49

Mal (Fail)

The Haitian government is still in the process of developing its new national curriculum however there are many classes that were traditionally taught throughout Haiti. Some of these subject areas include: French and Haitian literature, social science, languages, physical education, mathematics, chemistry, geology, physiology, and philosophy.

There are currently 8 public institutions of higher education, with l’Université d’État d’Haïti (UEH) being the largest, and the private sector. Although the private sector is made up of around 200 universities, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MENFP), the national accrediting body of Haiti, has only recognized 54 of them.

The standard equivalent of a high school diploma is the “Baccalaureat” (Baccalaureate) which is awarded following the completion of either the classical, technical, or professional secondary school stream. The most common credentials awarded for higher education are the “Certificat Professionnel” (Professional Certificate), awarded for 2 years of study after receiving the Baccalaureat, and the “Diplôme de Fin d’Études” (Diploma of Completion of Studies), awarded for 3-5 years of study after receiving the Baccalaureat.