Education in Haiti has a long history. The constitution of
1805 called for free primary education. By 1820 there were a number of primary
and secondary schools in Haiti. The Educational Act of 1848 was responsible for
the development of additional rural primary schools and for setting up colleges
of law and medicine.
Unfortunately, a well-established educational system never
developed. The wealthy in Haiti preferred to send their children to school in
France. In 1860, the Catholic Church sent clergy to teach in Haiti. They used
traditional French educational methods, which emphasized memorization and reading
the classics of French literature. These methods of teaching stayed in place until
Did you know? |
For many years, education in Haiti was delivered in French, even though only 10% of
the population spoke the language. Today, education is delivered in both Creole and
Major educational reforms took place in the 1970s and 1980s.
These included approval for the use of Creole in Haiti's schools. Although by law
primary education is free and mandatory for children between the ages of six and
twelve, there is a lack of proper teaching facilities because of limited government
funding. For every teacher in the countryside there are 550 school-aged children.
Moreover, dropout rates for primary students are high. Only about 63% of those
enrolled in primary schools will graduate. About 50% of the adult population cannot
read or write.
Most formal schooling is provided by private and religious-based
schools. These schools are not regulated and are too expensive for most people to
Despite these problems, many citizens have made significant
contributions in the arts, science, medicine and business. There is a small, publicly
funded university in Port-au-Prince named the State University of Haiti. There are
also a number of private schools of higher learning. They include schools of business,
engineering and theology. Some students go on to attend universities and colleges in
Europe and North America.