The education sector in Haiti is characterized by weak state capacity to provide and regulate education services. With an adult literacy rate of 52% and a primary school enrollment rate of 67%, education remains a key obstacle to social and economic progress. Less than 30% of the children who enter primary school will reach 6 th grade. At least 90% of Haiti 's 15,200 primary schools are non-public, including schools managed by religious organizations, NGOs, and communities. Few private schools receive financial support from the government due in part to inadequate coordination between the public and private education sectors. Yet, there is strong social demand for education among Haitian families as evidenced by the high percentage of household income spent on schooling—approximately 15% per child. Haitian parents place a great deal of faith on schooling as a means to improve their lives.
USAID/Haiti primary education programs focus on improving the quality of schooling, promoting parental involvement in education, and strengthening Haitian non-governmental organizations active in education. Activities aim to improve local school-support organizations, reduce grade repetition, and enhance learning. They also aim at strengthening public-private sector collaboration by improving the private school accreditation system. In 2004-05, USAID/Haiti financed a community schools program in the Central Plateau and the Artibonite, implemented by Save the Children/USA; a school cluster program in the North and West departments, implemented by the Fondation Haïtienne de l'Enseignement Privé (FONHEP); an interactive radio instruction program for primary schools in the West, South, Center and Grand'Anse, implemented by the Education Development Center (EDC).
The principal education activity is a continuation of a highly successful classroom quality activity, interactive radio instruction in mathematics and Creole reading for students in grades two through four in over 450 project schools. The program provides radios, printed learning materials and other teaching tools to schools. USAID's partners implement this activity in the following ways:
EDC supported over 275 schools in the West, South, Centre, Artibonite, and Grand'Anse departments through grants to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), University Quisqueya (UNIQ), the Association des Paysans de Vallue (APV), Save the Children/USA., and to the Ministry of Education's Departmental Office in the Artibonite.
FONHEP reached 181 private schools in the North and West departments through a cluster school approach to improve school management, foster teamwork among teachers, and encourage parental participation in the school community. In addition to interactive radio instructions, FONHEP's partners provided teacher, school director, and parent committee training.
Support efforts to create community-owned and managed schools in the commune of Maïssade (Central Plateau) and in the commune of Marchand-Dessalines (Artibonite). These efforts include community-led school rehabilitation, the training of locally recruited teachers and school directors, training for school management committees in fundraising, administration, and small project development.
FY 2005 Results
The program reached over 75,000 students, and promotion rates were consistent with those of the former education activity, and surpassed the national average of 70%. Schools using the program consistently show improved grade promotion rates. The dropout rate in the community schools project remained well below the national average due to the lower cost and higher rate of parental involvement. The number of school improvement activities led by school management committees, in the Save the Children intervention zone, increased from 10 in FY2002 to 26 in FY2005.