When the Rubicon team first visited Haiti in 2010 to see how the Rubicon Educational Foundation might best support schools recover from the earthquake two needs emerged: the need for professional development for teachers and support for literacy programs. Research on the education system in Haiti helped set the direction for the Foundation’s work. Here are some of the things we learned.
The founders of Haiti’s first constitution in 1805 states “… Free Education for all” and the Constitution of 1987 in Article 32 “…guarantees the right to Education”; however, Haiti’s literacy rate at 52.9 %, remains one of the lowest in the world. The Ministry of Education, due to financial limitations, has not been able to fulfill this obligation and the regulation of schools has been disorganized. This means that anyone can open a school at any level of education, recruit students and hire teachers, without having to meet minimum standards. Income inequalities have also led to sharp disparities among the regions and social classes of the nation. As a result, 80% of the students attend private schools, despite the economic burden it creates for families.
The January 2010 earthquake placed an already deficient system faced with years of mismanagement, poor physical conditions, and limited number of qualified teachers into an indeterminate state. It is estimated that nearly 1.3 million children under the age of 18 were affected directly or indirectly by this catastrophe and had their schooling disrupted or halted.
There is hope that a sustainable education system will emerge in the future. The Rubicon International Foundation is committed to creating educational opportunities for children whose access has been severely limited or affected by crisis.