Haiti has many assets, including its geography, its people and its history. However, its past marked by political instability, social unrest and natural disasters has not allowed the country to realize its potential. Haiti is today one of the poorest and most unequal countries on the planet. According to a 2012 survey, around 60% of the population lived in poverty and 24% were extremely poor, i.e. 6.3 million and 2.5 million people respectively, the situation being even more serious in rural areas. On the economic front, average GDP growth has been weak, leveling off at just 1.3% between 2015 and 2018. In addition to persistent political instability and insecurity, the main obstacles to the country's development are material and human capital. limited, weak governance and institutions and the fragility of the social contract between the state and citizens.
Recurring shocks, whether natural or human, have exacerbated Haiti's multiple development problems and exacerbated the underlying factors of poverty. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew, one of the last major natural disasters to hit the country, killed an estimated 600 people, affected 2.1 million people and caused extensive damage in the southern peninsula and the north. west, resulting in a loss of 32% of Haitian GDP. Prior to that, in 2010, an earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people, displaced 1.5 million people, and caused a 120% drop in GDP.
Continuing political instability and social unrest have compromised the efforts to put in place the institutional mechanisms and political foundations necessary to foster economic and social progress, thereby perpetuating the cycle of fragility and violence plaguing the country.
Here are four important facts to know in order to better understand the situation in education in Haiti.
1. Almost all schools in Haiti are managed by the private sector
In the early 2000s, about 90% of schools were private establishments, which could be managed by religious organizations as well as institutions for the purpose. profit or non-governmental organizations.
“If I had been able to find the same opportunity in a public establishment, I would have gone to work there”, indicates Innocent Samuel, teacher in 3rd year. However, jobs in public establishments are rare and generally less well paid than in the private sector.
2. Tuition fees applied by most establishments, a drag for many Haitians
Managed by private interests, these schools usually apply tuition fees to which are added the expenses of transport, purchase books and uniforms (compulsory), which prevents many families from sending their children to school.
At La Ruche enchantée, a school in an underprivileged area of the Haitian capital, tuition fees range from $ 127 for the 1st year to $ 180 for the 6th year. This is just the official rate. Before the establishment of the fee waiver program, “parents had great difficulty paying”, explains Joelle Dalphe, who opened this school with her sister in 1994. “They rarely paid all of the fees”.
Hence this fee exemption program, launched in 2007, with technical and financial assistance from the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank. Qualifying schools (such as being licensed by the state) received a stipend of $ 90 per year per child – more than the estimated tuition fee – so that they could cover materials as well. The program covers children aged 6 to 8 entering primary school.
3. Enrollment rates have increased from 78% to 90%
The World Bank study reveals that in schools covered by the fee waiver program, the level of education has increased and, at the same time, the level of staff recruitment. Although all the ancillary expenses (such as the purchase of a uniform) have not disappeared, the financial burden has been lightened.
Joëlle had to take a second job to keep the finances of her establishment afloat. Now she can devote herself full time to the Enchanted Hive.
4. Tuition Fee Waiver May Help Children Be in an Age Appropriate Class
In 2003, the average age of children in grade 6 was 16, compared to 16 years old. shouldn't have been over 11 or 12 years old. This is explained by the burden of school fees for poor families, who managed to send a child to school during certain months or years when they could afford the fees.
The World Bank study found that in Schools participating in the fee waiver program, more children are being educated in a class corresponding to their age.
Joseph Woaly, on the other hand, “completed his primary education at 17 and his secondary education at 25”. “When parents do not have to pay monthly or quarterly, children progress much faster.”
Public funding of private institutions is justified in countries like Haiti or other countries with a similar profile . The study concludes that the success of the program reinforces the idea that public funding of non-public services is a viable and promising option to assist children excluded from the system.
This bodes well for more children to attend school on time until the end of the cycle.
Education is the key to personal development and the future of our societies.
It opens up possibilities and reduces inequalities.
It is the bedrock of enlightened and tolerant societies, as well as one of the main engines of sustainable development.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education like never before.
As of mid-July, more than one billion students had been affected by school closures in more than 160 countries.
Around the world, 40 million preschool children missed out on such an important first year of education.
Parents, especially women, have had to shoulder the heavy burden of caring for children at home.
Even though teaching continued by radio, television or online, and despite the mobilization of teachers and parents, many students were not connected.
Learners with disabilities, members of minorities or disadvantaged groups, internally displaced persons or refugees, or those still living in remote areas are at the greatest risk of being left behind.
Even those who have access to distance education are uncertain of success, because of their living conditions and in particular the equitable distribution of household chores.
The learning crisis already threatened us before the pandemic.
More than 250 million children of school age were out of school.
In developing countries, only a quarter of students left secondary school with basic skills.
We are now facing a disaster that affects an entire generation and threatens to prevent the humanity to harness enormous potential, undermine decades of progress and further deepen stubborn inequalities.
The repercussions of this crisis on child nutrition, on child marriage and on gender equality, among others, are very worrying.
It is in this context that the note fits summary that I am launching today and the new campaign launched with partners in education and United Nations organizations, entitled “Save our future”.
We are at a turning point for children and young people around the world.
The decisions governments and their partners make today will have lasting effects on hundreds of millions of young people and influence countries' development prospects for decades.
In this briefing note, we advocate measures in four priority areas.
First, reopen schools.
When local transmission of COVID-19 is stopped, the return of students to schools and other centers must be given top priority. education in the best possible security conditions.
We have published guidelines to assist governments in this complex endeavor.
It will be essential to weigh the risks to health and those to the education and protection of children, taking into account the effects on the participation of women in the labor market.
It will be essential to consult parents, caregivers, teachers and young people.
Second, prioritize education in financial decisions.
Before the current crisis, the financing gap for education in low- and middle-income countries was already $ 1.5 trillion per year.
Since then, this gap has widened.  The budget allocated to education must be preserved and increased.
Education must be placed at the heart of international solidarity action, namely debt management, economic recovery plans, humanitarian appeals global and official development assistance.
Third, target the isolated.
We must design initiatives in the field of education that benefit those most likely to be left behind: those in emergency or crisis, those who are members of minorities, those who are displaced or disabled.
These initiatives must take into account the particular difficulties faced by girls, boys, women and men, and urgently bridge the digital divide.
Fourth, building the future of education today.
We now have a unique opportunity to rethink education.
We can adopt forward-looking systems, which will provide quality education for all and serve as a springboard for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
To do this, we need to invest in digital and infrastructure, teach students how to learn, revitalize lifelong learning and strengthen the links between formal and non-formal education.
We also need to harness more flexible teaching methods and new technologies, while modernizing school curricula and providing constant support to teachers and communities.
In view of unsustainable inequalities, we need more than ever about education and its great power to put everyone on an equal footing.
We must take immediate bold steps to create quality, inclusive and resilient education systems, adapted to the demands of tomorrow .
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