World Bank Approves US$6 million for teacher training in Haiti

WASHINGTON DC, United States April 30, 2008 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors yesterday approved a US$6 million grant for the Republic of Haiti to support the training of large numbers of new teachers to increase children’s access to quality primary education.

The ‘Meeting Teacher Needs for Education for All’ project will support the development and implementation of an accelerated teacher preparation program to improve access and learning in basic education in order to reach the Education for All (EFA) goal of universal basic education by 2015.

Under the project, recent high school graduates will be selected for a three-year programme, consisting of 10 months in a Teacher Training Institute and two years of full-time practice teaching.

By the end of the project in 2013, it is expected that the system will expand from graduating fewer than 500 new teachers per year to graduating more than 2,500 new teachers per year.

“Expanding access to education is a cornerstone of Haiti’s poverty reduction strategy,” said Yvonne Tsikata, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.

“This project will directly support the Haitian Government’s efforts to strengthen governance in the education system and deliver visible benefits to the Haitian people by improving human development outcomes and employing thousands of new teachers.”

Haiti’s education sector suffers from weaknesses in access, equity, quality and institutional capacity. Approximately 500,000 children aged 6 to 11 do not attend school of any kind, and only about half of all six-year-olds enroll in first grade.

Additionally, fewer than 500 new teachers are certified each year, even though it is estimated that over 2,500 teachers are needed annually to achieve the EFA goal by 2015.

Nearly 25 per cent of primary school teachers have never attended secondary school and only 15 percent are considered qualified.

“Teachers are essential for the expansion of both access and quality of education. The reform will make it possible for new teachers to be available to schools only one year after entering teacher preparation, as opposed to the current three-year lag,” said Raja Bentaouet Kattan, World Bank task team leader for the project.

EFA is an international commitment first launched in Thailand in 1990 to help low-income countries achieve a free, universal basic education by 2015. Partners comprise a broad coalition of national governments, civil society groups, and development agencies such as UNESCO and the World Bank.