Haiti, the first black nation to win its independence, threw off its French shackles in 1804. Haiti is located in the Caribbean. It occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola and shares this island with the Dominican Republic.
The term Haiti (Ayiti) means “land of high mountains.” Haiti was once known as the pearl of the Antilles; however for decades Haiti has been the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Population: 9 million people
Capital: Port-au Prince—with over 3.5 million people
Employment: Over 80% of Haitian people are unemployed
Gross National Income per Capita: $650
Life expectancy: 53 years
Official languages: French and Creole
Currency: The Gourde. Currently $1 US=40 Gourdes
Recent Events: January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the already impoverished country killing over a quarter of a million people and leaving the country in ruin
Education in Haiti: Normal School year runs from September through June
- Over 80% of the schools are private making it very difficult for parents to send their children to school.
- Over half of Haitian children do not go school (about 1.5 million children)
- Approximately 50% of rural children ages 6-11 will never go to school
- Only 35% of Haitian children reach 6th grade, the rest drop out due to financial hurdles
- At the end of grade 6, 9, 12, and 13 government standardized exams are given. Each student must pass these difficult exams in order to continue their formal education
- Less than 1% High school graduates attend post-secondary education