Typically a significant factor in determining how well functioning a state is is the education sector. Haiti’s education system is a good indicator of the disorganization, mismanagement, and inequalities that have plagued as Haiti as a state for so long. Over 60% of children have no access to education, and literacy rates exist at 53%, well below the Latin American countries average of 90%. A recent focus on educational reform and how to provide education to more Haitian’s had resulted in some progress until the 2010 earthquake, which severely set back the educational sector along with every other sector in Haiti. New plans have emerged post-earthquake as to how Haiti can reform its education system, but these plans have yet to be effectively put into place.
The problems rooted in Haitian education can be traced back to a few key factors. One of these is the national governments focus, rather lack of focus, on funding Haitian schools. Haiti has recently been ranked 177th out of 186 eligible countries in how much money is spent on education. The country spends a measly 1.4 percent of its national GDP on education, while the world average is usually around 4.4-4.6 percent. While there are about 15,000 schools in Haiti, the majority of the these are privatized institutions run by places run by Canada, France, and the United States. Thus, the wealthy remain educated, and the poor remain uneducated, and Haiti the Haitian society is stuck in a system made very difficult for the lower class to rise up in societal and economic status. Due to all these issues it seems the key to creating a more successful education system in Haiti stems from accessibility to education from the lower class. Over half the families in Haiti live on less than 1.25 US dollars a day, and thus the private schools and their tuition is not an option. Therefore an effort must be made to improve the quality of the public schools, of which over 50% don’t have a toilet and 23% have no running water.
In the wake of the 2010 earthquake several organizations promoting education and trying to increase the percentage of Haitian students that are able to attend college, which currently is about 1%. These organizations, such as the HELP project and PSUGO program have been effective on a relatively small scale. However, these organizations do not address the true issues that lie within Haitian education, which is the quality of public schools. In order to improve education in Haiti on a large scale the qualities or teachers, buildings, books, and supplies must all be improved upon, which is no easy task. Many of the teachers currently working at schools never even got a full education themselves, with their average education sitting at about nine years. The only way to solve this problem is by allocating more funds to the education sector in Haiti, both from the national government and international donors. Recently the US Agency for International Development gave a 15 million dollar grant to Haiti to increase literacy rates, which is a small step in the right direction.
The road to creating a stable education system in Haiti is long and challenging, but it is possible. Government stability and allocation of funds are key to promoting education and increasing literacy rates within Haiti. There is no short term solution for this problem, while active programs promoting education certainly help, they do not impact the big picture education system. And while international money can certainly do its part in funding education in Haiti, the Haitian government is the one organization that can really help education improve in Haiti.