Catholic schools have played a vital role in Haiti’s educational system, providing opportunities to some of the
most underserved citizens. Schools founded by French religious orders were among the first established in the
country. Recognizing the value of Catholic education, in 1913 the Haitian government committed financial
support to the Church to open and operate schools in underserved rural and poor areas. Unfortunately, this
pledged public support has been rare and sporadic. Despite this, Catholic schools are present throughout all
regions of the country and serve some of the neediest students, earning these schools a positive reputation
among the citizens of Haiti.
Catholic schools, which account for 15% of the schools nationally, are the largest cohesive provider of
educational services in Haiti. Public schools account for only 12% of the system, and the remaining non-public
schools are operated by various religious groups and independent private providers (MENFP N.d.). Because
Catholic schools are organized into a structured national network—as opposed to a system that is otherwise
fractured and largely unregulated—they have a unique ability to implement systemic change. Catholic
educational leaders have the opportunity to chart a positive course for all Haitian schools by exemplifying
strong leadership, academic quality, and a commitment to forming moral citizens.