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Secondary School Education in Haiti

Quick Facts:

Total years of primary and secondary school: 12-13

Official languages of Haiti: French and Haitian Creole

Language of instruction: French

Education in Haiti is the responsibility of the Ministre de l’Education Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle/MENFP (Ministry of National Education and Professional Training). In actuality, however, the Ministry has little oversight over schools, and most schools are administered by private organizations, such as churches. Less than 2/3 of students complete primary school, and only 29% go on to secondary school.

Although Haiti gained independence from France in 1807, it has retained many aspects of the French educational system. In the 1980s, Haiti began to reform its educational system, although the new system has only been partially implemented, and both the traditional and reform systems are operating in tandem.

Traditional System

In the traditional system, students are awarded a Brevet élementaire du Premier Cycle/BEPC (Elementary First Cycle Certificate) after the end of the ninth year of study. Students must then decide if they want to pursue an academic or vocational track in upper secondary school based on their future goals.

Students who pursue a vocational track have several options, including nursing, teaching, and technical studies. Nursing studies are one to four years and lead to a Diplôme d’Infirmière Auxiliare (Diploma of Auxiliary Nurse) or a Diplôme d’Auxiliare- d’Infirmière Polyvalente (Diploma of Auxiliary-General Nurse).

Teacher training occurs three years after completion of the ninth year of school. Teachers trained at this level will teach primary school. Primary school teachers are awarded a Diplôme d’École Normale d’Instituteurs (Teacher Training School Diploma), Diplôme d’Instituteur (Primary School Teacher Diploma) or a Diplôme de Fin d’Etudes Normales (Diploma of Completion of Teacher Training Studies). Students who wish to teach vocational subjects at the primary level can continue in a one-year program leading to the Certificat d’Aptitude a l’Enseignement Professionnel/CAEP (Certificate of Professional Teaching Ability) or a Diplôme d’Enseignement Professionnel (Diploma in Vocational Teaching).

Technical studies vary in length. Programs that train accountants, hotel managers, and in business are one year following the 9th year and lead to a Brevet/Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle/BAP (Certificate of Professional Ability). Advanced vocational studies are offered after completion of the 10th year or completion of a BAP program. These consist of two years of study and lead to a Brevet Supérior (Advanced Certificate) or a Diplôme de Technicien (Diploma of Technician). Be aware that the Diplôme de Technicien is also offered at the post-secondary level.

This academic track prepares students for university admission, while also focusing on classical subjects. Students specialize in mathematics/science or arts and letters, depending on their future university studies. The academic track is four years and is divided into two parts. Part I is three years and upon completion of the third year (grade 12), students sit for an examination leading to the Certificat de Fin d’Études Secondaire Classiques, Première Partie (Certificate of Completion of Classical Studies, Part I). Students often refer to this as the Baccalauréat I or Bac I. Students who wish to enroll in a university continue on for an additional year of studies in Part II. After completion of Part II, students sit for an examination leading to the Certificate de Fin d’Études Secondaire, Deuxième Partie (Certificate of Completion of Secondary Studies, Part I). Similarly, students often refer to this as the Baccalauréat II or Bac II. Students must have this diploma to be admitted to a university in Haiti.

Reform System

In the reformed system, students sit for an examination leading to the Brevet d’Enseignement Fondamental (Certificate of Fundamental Instruction) at the end of the ninth year of study. This certificate represents completion of mandatory education.

Upper secondary studies offer classical, technical, and professional streams. All streams are three years, and after the third year, students sit for an examination leading to the Baccalauréat (Baccalaureate). It is sometimes referred to as the Nouveau Baccalauréat (New Baccalaureate). The Baccalauréat is required for admission to post-secondary education.

Primary school teachers are trained in a three-year program following the ninth year. Upon completion of the program, they are awarded a Diplôme d’Enseignement Secondaire (Diploma of Secondary Instruction).