The definition of preschool is as follows: a school for children whose ages fall below kindergarten or the first grade. In a country such as Haiti, it is important to expand such pre-primary school programs in order to encourage more children to complete their primary education, so that their chances of attending secondary and higher-education institutions may be increased. However, various obstacles stand in the way of achieving HavServe’s mission in succeeding in the expansion of preschool programs, but not all hope is lost.
With a lack of school funding, the Haitian education sector is plagued with issues of high tuition fees and low quality education; this is especially true in the public sector – along with a shortage of qualified teachers and school supplies. It’s a domino effect, with poor quality education leading to failing marks, repeating grades, which in most cases results in elevated dropout rates. Also, up to three-quarters of primary school students are noted to be, on average, two years older for their grade level. This is due to students being pulled out of school by parents in times of economic distress, then enrolling back in school again. Haitian children’s education is at stake; yet, there are strategies in conquering the education sector issues.
With the establishment of more preschool programs in Haiti after the necessary investments are made through partnerships with world organizations, younger children would be more likely to remain in school. Such partnerships refer to the eighth MDG of developing global partnerships. More specifically, this offers consultation to Haitian families, while addressing their concerns about education, the economy, and building an agenda of strategies to overcome existing issues. Participatory development is crucial to the success of development projects, as the voices of those who are to benefit from development are heard.
School feeding programs, in collaboration with preschools, cannot only improve the health of preschool children, but also their quality of education (enhanced concentration in class), and school attendance. For many preschoolers, they will be dependent on such meals for proper nutrition, because in their households, there could be a lack of food containing the nutrients needed to develop. With feeding programs continuing into the primary and secondary years of schooling, families and students would be less likely to put their education to a halt. Achieving the second MDG goal of universal primary education is more than full enrollment; it’s also about younger children attending classes regularly and retaining the literacy and numerical skills they learned in a high-quality curriculum.
In order to accomplish such a task, funding for the public education system is crucial. The majority of Haitian families cannot afford to send their children to attend private schools, with a portion of them living under $2 per day. Promoting President Martelly’s agenda of the National Fund for Education, in which international funding comes to play for free education for all, is a start to educational development initiatives. Global partnership is important for development projects relating to education to succeed, as more investments and resources can be utilized for expanding Haitian preschool programs. The low quality of education currently present in the education system also needs to be addressed through using the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training as a guideline to ensuring that teachers in training are qualified to teach. Haitian universities can also potentially reform their curriculums in regard to teacher training programs to improve the level of education future educators receive. It’s a domino effect, with improvements in the Haitian education system being passed down in a series of steps, towards a brighter future for Haiti’s preschool programs and even higher-education levels.
We all can do something to help Haiti improve its educational sector into the expansion of its pre-primary programs. Take a look at HavServe’s present initiatives; surely, there is a way for you, the reader, to contribute towards this worthy educational initiative.