Twenty-first Century

Though the Constitution requires that a public education be offered free to all people, the Haitian government has been unable to fulfill this obligation. It spends about 10% of the federal budget on the country's elementary and secondary schools. Out of the 67% enrollment rate for elementary school, 70% continue on to the third grade. 21.5% of the population, age 5 and older, receive a secondary level education and 1.1% at the university level (1.4% for men compared to 0.7% for women). Nearly 33% of children between the ages of 6 and 12 (500,000 children) do not attend school, and this percentage climbs to 40% for children ages 5 to 15 which accounts for approximately one million children. The dropout rate is particularly high at 29% in the first basic cycle. Close to 60% of children drop out of school before receiving their primary education certificate. Of the two million children enrolled in the basic level, 56% are at the required age for the first cycle (ages 6 to 11). While the mandated age for entering grade 1 is 6, the actual mean age is nearly 10, and students in grade 6 are on average almost 16, which is 5 years older than expected. 83% of those ages 6-14 attended school in 2005. These rates are much lower for the poor.

With the exception of higher education, private schools in Haiti account for 80% of total enrollments and serve the majority of Haitian students. According to Wolff there are three main types of schools that make up the private sector. The first and largest type of private schools are for-profit private schools run by entrepreneurs. These schools have very few, if any, books and unqualified teachers and school directors. They are popularly known as "écoles borlettes," which translates to "lottery schools," because "only by chance do the children learn anything."
The second type of private schools are those run by religious organizations such as Catholic and Evangelical churches, as well as some nonsectarian schools. The Ministry of Education at the time of the 2010 earthquake reported that Christian missionaries provide about 2,000 primary schools educating 600,000 students - about a third of the population that is school age. Some of these schools offer a better quality of education than for-profit schools do, but they often have risky conditions and staff with no professional capabilities.

The final type of private school composes of "community schools," which are financed by whatever funds the local community can mobilize. They tend to be of very poor quality, worse than for-profit schools, but they do charge very low fees.

A handful of private schools in Haiti, mostly clustered around the capital city, Port-au-Prince, and accessible to the rich (except for limited scholarship fund opportunities), offer education with relatively high quality standards.
Furthermore, three-fourths of all private schools operate with no certification or license from the Ministry of Education. This literally means that anyone can open a school at any level of education, recruit students and hire teachers without having to meet any minimum standards.

The majority of schools in Haiti do not have adequate facilities and are under-equipped. According to the 2003 school survey, 5% of schools were housed in a church or an open-air shaded area. Some 58% do not have toilets and 23% have no running water. 36% of schools have libraries. The majority of workers, about 80% do not meet the existing criteria for the selection of training programs or are not accepted in these programs because of the lack of space in professional schools. 6 out of every 1,000 workers in the labor market have a diploma or certificate in a technical or professional field. In addition, 15% of teachers at the elementary level have basic teaching qualifications, including university degrees. Nearly 25% have not attended secondary school. More than half of the teachers lack adequate teacher training or have had no training at all. There is also a high attrition of teachers, as many teachers leave their profession for alternative better paying jobs. Sometimes they are not paid due to insufficient government funds.