WASHINGTON, DC – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$44 million program to improve basic education attainment in Haiti.
The IDB said that since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, more than 2.4 million children have been prevented from returning to school in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
As a result, student attainment remains low, with limited access to quality public education. The Washington-based financial institution said that the funding package seeks to support institutional reforms of the education sector, maintain attendance in selected primary schools, improve the quality of teaching and learning, and carry out back-to-school campaigns to attract out-of-school children to school.
“The evidence shows that school feeding programme have a significant impact on academic performance, learning improvement, school retention, graduation rates, regular attendance, school dropout, and food and nutritional awareness.
“This grant will finance school feeding programs for primary school children living in areas with a high level of food insecurity for 110 school days per year between 2024 and 2027<’ the IDB said.
It added that the programme will also increase the quality of public education services in Haiti by supporting remote tutoring and teaching at an adequate academic level. It will also ensure the provision of a hybrid education by improving school connectivity to the internet and ensuring a source of energy to guarantee the functioning of the internet modems.
The programme seeks to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of National Education and Professional Development (MENFP) by supporting the curriculum reform and operationalization of the education management and information system.
In addition, the initiative will improve access to quality education services in primary public schools for girls and children with disabilities.
“To attain this objective, teachers and school directors will receive training in disability screening tools, and students with disabilities will receive reading glasses, hearing aids, and prosthetics; the grant will also finance data collection to tackle the lack of data on gender and students with disabilities,” the IDB said.
It said that the project will benefit current and future students attending primary, public, and non-public schools, present and future school directors, and teachers who will benefit from training.
The project includes additional financing of a US$10 million grant from the Education Above All Foundation (EAA) and a non-reimbursable investment of US$19 million from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The IDB grant of $15 million and an EAA grant of US$10 million have a disbursement period of five years. Whereas the GPE contribution is expected to be disbursed within four years.