Education in Haiti
Obtaining an education in Haiti remains an elusive goal for most. Though education is highly valued, the majority of Haitians do not have access to it. Haiti has one of the lowest enrollment rates in the world, with only 55% of students aged 6 -12 enrolled in school, and 800,000 school aged children without access to education. Roughly 45% of the Haitian population is illiterate and this percentage is even higher in Grand-Bois. Even though education is technically free in Haiti, it remains beyond the means of most Haitians, who cannot afford the supplemental fees, school supplies, and necessary uniforms. Despite being one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has the second highest private school attendance in the world. The Haitian education system has become increasingly dependent on the private education sector, and without these schools, the education system would collapse.
Due to the lack of infrastructure, school-aged children often walk hours to go to the nearest school and without food. By the time they return home, the sun has already set, and they are lucky if they find a meal waiting for them at home. Classroom sizes frequently surge to more than 70 children, with only one teacher presiding. Teachers are paid low salaries of approximately 60 USD per month resulting in a high teacher turnover rate. Additionally, most teachers have only completed 9 years of schooling and only 20% are graduates of teacher training colleges. The low salary for teachers also makes it difficult to find qualified teachers to teach in a remote place like Grand-Bois. Since the majority of teachers are under qualified, the situation can be summarized as a one-eyed man leading a blind man.
HSE's boarding school model will be the first of its kind in the country and hopefully a model that will be used by future generations.