Access to education is still limited, not to mention that its quality and administration represent a major challenge. Among the contributing factors in this situation are the budget constraints that have translated into a very limited public investment in the sector (about 10% of the budget), as well as the massive poverty affecting over 70% of the population, an inadequate legislation, the unfavourable social practices and norms, the recurrent crises such as natural disasters (particularly the 12 January 2010 earthquake) and the very limited organizational and managerial capacities of the Ministry of Education.


School attendance 2012


School attendance 2005


The Haitian educational system is still facing major challenges in spite of the significant increase in school enrolment rates (82,7% in 2012, EMMUS V, versus 50% in 2005, according to EMMUS IV), the Universal, Free and Compulsory Education Program, the strong demand for education and the support of the international community.


According to the last school census (2011), only 20% of the education service comes from the public sector, while the rest is in the hands of the non-public sector, mostly managed without regulation and operating below minimum quality standards. Despite its proven importance, access to activities targeting young children (0-5 years) remains very limited (67% of gross enrolment rate in preschool 3-5 years, MENFP 2011).

Furthermore, the poor quality of education has particularly translated into grade repetition rates of about 15% and dropout rates of about 13%. Combined with late enrolments, these factors increase the proportion of overaged children enrolled in primary school (65%). The rate of survival to grade 5 is low at 25%.

This alarming situation is due in large part to the high proportion of unqualified teachers (over 65%), as well as adverse learning conditions and failure to enforce norms and standards that can ensure quality education. The children most affected by the limited access to quality- or lack thereof- are, among others, those in rural areas, those from poor families in the slums of large urban centres, those separated from their families (eg; children in residential care centres, children domestic service, street children), those disabled and those displaced.

77% School attendance 2012

50% School attendance 2005


  • 12% of children aged 6 to 12 (approx. 200,000 out of 1.7 million children) do not go to school.
  • School dropout rates are high (an average of 12% in the first six years of primary education, highest being 26% [1] in the 6th year).
  • Education is of very poor quality.

[1] Source: Operational Plan (Final Draft), MENFP, December 2010

UNICEF aims at:

  • Ensuring equitable access to quality education for the most vulnerable children
  • Improving the quality of educational services
  • Ensuring equal gender opportunities for children
  • Strengthening the early childhood sector
  • Strengthening the educational system administration and regulation structures


  • Support the Haitian government and the Ministry of National Education to ensure the right to universal free education
  • Support the Ministry of Education at the national and local level to implement the 2010-2015 Operational Plan, especially with respect to public policies, the establishment of a national information management system and micro-planning reaching the school district level
  • Improvement of the quality of education through the development of accelerated learning programs for overaged children and promotion of academic success by strengthening reading skills
  • Development of an early childhood policy framework, with the establishment of a national management strategy for young children aged 0 to 6 and the promotion of quality services standards and a new preschool curriculum
  • Development of the government’s capacity for managing risks and disasters


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