Via the Miami Herald, an opinion piece by a Haitian American currently living in Haiti: The daunting reality of Haiti’s children. Excerpt:
Education is the key to bringing Haiti out of its impoverished hole. But our system is detrimental to Haiti’s future. The primary objective of many schools isn’t to teach youngsters but to make money. Meanwhile, the objective of the education system appears to emphasize enrollment numbers over graduation rates.
On a regular basis, the government stresses that 3.5 million children are enrolled in school, and 1.5 million are receiving the government’s tuition-free services. But what’s missing from the announcements and billboards are the graduation and exam-passing rates.
The fact remains, Haiti is a country where 50 percent of children of primary-school age are not in school, a reality one sees every day in the capital where disheveled kids beg for money at traffic intersections in exchange for wiping windshields.
When you add the other harsh reality of illiteracy — 37.9 percent of Haiti’s 10 million citizens are unable to read and write — it raises a question: What is the future of the country?
If Haiti is to become a more stabilized, developed and prosperous nation, it must do more than just enroll kids in schools — they must fund the schools, for example. Yet the dollars, once estimated at $2 billion for five years by the IDB, still have to be allocated.