Literacy Education in Haiti

A direct correlation exists between human growth and development and educational opportunities. As part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, governments, businesses and civil society actors are attempting to transform the world through initiatives aimed to maximize the prevalence and quality of education in the developing world. In terms of increasing the quality of education in underdeveloped regions, there are several moving pieces that have to come together to introduce progressive measures with lasting effects. Inspirational educators must provide appropriate instruction and care to students for which they are responsible, but without the necessary educational resources—classrooms, textbooks, writing tools and even access to online materials—their effort can be moot.

Early childhood education plays a particularly critical role in providing children the foundational skill sets they need to thrive intellectually and socially. During this time, youth discover and learn different subjects, gain literacy and numeracy skills, and participate in creative disciplines, such as music and art. For most children, it represents their first period of exposure to the world outside of family, when they gain social skills and accomplish learning as reflected in grades and recognition.

Haiti is struggling against the rest of the world to keep up in terms of childhood literacy and numeracy, which procures negative consequences for its adult demographic. According to the World Bank, the literacy rate in 2015 for both sexes was 61% of the population.  While 91% of primary age children in 1995 were enrolled in primary school, there are still many children who lag behind in literacy skills. It is a difficult situation to remedy, as only 39.94% of primary school teachers are trained. The classrooms of Haiti, places of hope and inspiration where the nation’s future leaders should be molded, aren’t always able to provide the resources that facilitate quality education.

However, civil society actors and organizations like HavServe have continued to give children, mostly in rural Haiti a chance to flourish. At the 2017 Summer Camp and Educational Enrichment Program in southwest of Haiti, around 500 students from 1st to 6th grade took part in a summer training program promoting literacy, numeracy, positive values and citizenship. Centered on the theme “We all count. We all Matter. Me-You-In our Community”, campers rotated daily through 5 learning stations: Literacy and Numeracy, Gardening, Technology, Leadership Training and Arts and Crafts. The camp went above and beyond the basic classroom activities and build on character and community values education focusing on six teachable pillars of character: Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Compassion, Fairness and community Citizenship while providing daily feeding and nutrition to the children, their teachers and supporting staffs.

Bringing opportunity and giving support to the children of Haiti will pave the way for a brighter future and make a lasting difference to each impacted child.

If you Have, You Can Serve.

Maria Gutierrez