Funding for Education in Haiti

The Haitian government, mainly the Ministry of Education is not in a position to close deficient schools because it is not equipped to take on the additional responsibility, nor does it have the resources or capacity to do so. After a peak of 19% in 1987-88 and 22% in 1994-95, the percentage of Haiti's national budget allocated to education declined from 17% to 10% between 2001 and 2010 with 20% of education-related expenditures reaching rural areas, which is where 70% of Haiti's population is found. This figure is low compared with other countries that are comparable according to the Human Development Index (HDI), which puts Haiti in 145th place out of 169 countries. However, Haiti receives international aid which supplements, to a certain extent, the insufficient educational budget. In 2006 the country received $10.4 million to support basic education programs and $2.5 million to support higher education programs. According to USAID, ongoing US-supported education programs have lowered dropout rates and raised the performance of more than 75,000 Haitian youth.

The substantial growth of the private sector, despite the constitutional guarantee of free education, indicates that the reality is that providing free education for all is very expensive. The majority of private schools do not receive any government subsidizes. There is no government scholarship program to alleviate the burden on poor families. Help comes from the "Fonds de Parrainage", a private sector foundation which offers scholarships to needy children enrolled in eligible private schools. The annual number of beneficiaries is around 13,000, representing a mere 1.3% of the student population enrolled in private schools.

Financial support from the government is a salary subsidy covering approximately 500 teachers working full-time in private religious schools. This represents 2.5% of the private sector teaching force. The public schools have collected fees because government funding has been insufficient. It had become common practice for school principals to require a parental financial contribution from each student. Thus, for many parents, it did not make as much financial difference to put their children in public or private schools. When President Aristide returned from exile, he decided that public schools would no longer collect fees. This decision actually had a negative effect because it left public schools more destitute. It is clear that the growth of the private sector has become a substitution for public investment, as opposed to an addition.