Joseph Woaly sits at a desk in the middle of a classroom. He’s been overseeing students for over seven years in a primary school in Haiti. Small children in pink uniforms and laughing girls with pink ribbons in their braided dark hair, walk by him. Years ago, his dream was for his own children to study in the same school where he was teaching, but the cost of tuition was very high.
Thankfully, when a tuition waiver program started, he was able to enroll all five of his children. His eldest son, Woade, is 10-years-old and wants to be an eye doctor.
“It is my duty to send my children to school” he says, when asked how he would have managed without the program. Even as a teacher, he doesn’t know how he would have paid for the tuition otherwise.
In Haiti, more than 200,000 children remain out of school with a high percentage of these children in rural villages like Williamson and Luly. However, enrollment rates have been increasing in recent years, thanks to programs like the WWV Student Sponsorship Program. A new World Bank study looked at the impact that tuition waiver programs have on education in Haiti. We learned four important facts everyone should know about education in Haiti from The World Bank:
- Almost all schools in Haiti are privately run.
- A survey in the early 2000s found that about 90% of schools in Haiti were private. These are very diverse and are run by religious organizations, non-governmental organizations, or for-profit institutions.
- Most schools ask for tuition fees, a barrier for many.
- Being privately owned, these schools usually require tuition fees. Along with the cost of transport, books, and the mandatory uniform, it is very hard for Haitians to send their children to school.
- Enrollment rates have risen in recent years.
- The World Bank study notes that, when a school participated in a tuition waiver program, more students enrolled and the school also hired more staff. Offering free tuition puts much less financial strain on families and helps create jobs in the schools.
- Waiving tuition fees can help children be in a grade that’s appropriate for their age
- In 2003, the average age for students in grade six was 16 years old even if they should have been 11 or 12 years old. Due to the high cost of schooling, poor families would send their child to school only during months or years when they could afford it. As such, children lose years of schooling and are often too old for their grade level when they can financially afford tuition. Programs like the WWV Student Sponsorship Program help children remain in school full time.
“I completed primary school at 17 and secondary school at 25,” says Joseph Woaly, (a teacher at a private school in Haiti). “When parents don’t have to pay monthly or quarterly fees, the children can move forward much faster.”
Thanks to our amazing student sponsors, even children from the poorest families in Luly and Williamson have an opportunity to attend school. Education is helping break the cycle of poverty in Haiti and offering this generation hope for a brighter future!