PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – “Two (2) in ten (10) children aged six (6) to ten (10) are not in primary school in Haiti,” states the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on its Twitter account
Further, experts believe these figures will rise after the earthquake and subsequent violence that shook Haiti in August 2021.
According to a UNICEF report released in late August, 70 percent of schools in the south were destroyed or damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
Reconstruction and rehabilitation work has been moving very slowly as of December 2021, despite nearly 400,000 students still not being able to return to class.
In addition, UNICEF warns that one in every two children is at risk of dropping out of school because their age does not correspond with the grade level in which they are studying (80% of children who drop out of school are overage).
Thus, the UN agency launched a non-formal and vocational training program, in which 1,541 adolescents aged 15 to 18 participated.
This year, limited access to education has increased as a result of the August 14 earthquake, which destroyed thousands of educational facilities on the southern peninsula of the country, forcing thousands of children to miss school.
With the increased control of armed gangs in Port-au-Prince that operate with impunity, schools must pay for safety, adding to the gloom.
Jean Gough, Unicef Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, noted that:
“principals and teachers in gang-controlled areas are constantly under attack, and if they refuse to pay, their schools are attacked.”
A Few Statistics about Haiti’s Education:
•Between 2002 and 2016, the percentage of net enrollment increased from 75.8% to 88% (Source: Ministry of National Education).
• Almost 6 out of 10 children in the second year of fundamental cannot read according to international standards (Source: Early Grade Reading Assessment)
• The attendance rate for children aged 6-11 increased from 50% to 84% (Source: EMMUS IV and EMMUS VI)
• Almost 250,000 children aged 6 to 11 are out of the school system, down from the 500,000 recorded in 2007 (Source: Study on children out of school)
• Rural areas have a lower net primary enrollment rate (80%) than urban areas (91%), and some departments have a significantly lower rate.
• 80% of children who drop out of school are “over-aged.”
• Only 68% of children from the poorest households attend primary school against 92% from the richest households and the level of learning remains very low.
• In Haiti, only 63% of children aged 36-59 months attend an early childhood education program.