The University of Notre Dame’s ACE Haiti Initiative, in partnership with the Haitian Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education (CEEC) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), is launching Read to Learn, an innovative literacy program in 50 Haitian Catholic schools. Starting in the summer of 2014, the project is supported by over 1 million dollars in private funding and will reach more than 7,500 students in the Dioceses of Cap-Haitian and Gonaives.
Read to Learn address a critical need in the Haitian population. Forty-nine percent of Haitian students cannot read a single word when they enter the third grade and almost 50% of the adult population is illiterate. Lacking this basic skill, the majority of Haitian students fail to complete elementary school, only 5% making it to secondary school and only 1% to college. The result? Devastating long-term repercussions on student outcomes, job preparedness, and ultimately the health of Haiti’s economy and the vitality of its Democracy. Haiti’s widespread illiteracy is rooted in an extremely under-qualified and poorly educated core of teachers and the lack of an effective literacy curriculum in Creole, the language most Haitians speakand understand.