The Alliance for Catholic Education has been working closely with the Congregation of Holy Cross in Haiti (CSC Haiti) since 2011. CSC Haiti runs two flagship K-12 schools in Haiti in Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince and also has a network of 20 additional rural, under-resourced schools in the Northern and Southern regions of the country. CSC Haiti wants to improve the quality of education in these rural schools, where access to resources and quality teaching staff is a challenge due to the schools’ remote location and inability to adequately compensate faculty and staff. ACE in Haiti has made it a strategic priority to work alongside CSC Haiti to improve the quality of education in these rural schools.
Definition of Problem
Rural and under-resourced CSC schools in Haiti face many challenges that drastically limit the quality of education students receive. Some of the significant challenges include: limited training for teachers, extremely limited access to texts and instructional materials for both students and teachers, and limited use of native-language instruction. One of the most pressing challenges is ensuring that all students become proficient readers with strong comprehension in early grades. Literacy achievement in the early grades is the foundation of all other learning and is highly correlated with lifelong educational attainment. Forty-nine percent of Haitian students cannot read a single word when they enter the third grade, with devastating life outcomes (Gove 2010; USAID 2012). To address teacher quality, the importance of native-language literacy development, and the pervasive need for quality instructional materials, USAID and others have developed relatively low-cost, scripted programs. One program, ToTAL, is being used in some under-resourced Haitian schools to teach students basic phonemic awareness, decoding, and fluency skills in Haitian Kreyol with a transition into French. The program addresses early grade instruction in students’ native language to build a foundation for literacy with a transition into French instruction.
ACE would like a DAT to help with the following questions:
- What are the most promising education programs that aim to improve literacy outcomes for all students in highly under-resourced developing counties (e.g. Africa, India, Latin America)? Do these programs include native-language instruction?
- How are teachers with relatively low literacy levels trained to implement the identified education programs?
- How do these programs train teachers and provide coaching and/or ongoing support?
- What are innovative approaches showing success in addressing early grade literacy gaps, such as access to texts, pre-literacy skills, instructional quality, parent engagement, and other related issues?
Initial Steps and Options
- Identify effective literacy intervention models of relevance (literacy programs that include teacher training) in other development context countries (or in Haiti). Identify what these programs have in common and key variations, including funding, evaluation, and cost per student or school.
- Identify how teachers were trained to participate in the promising programs and the level of ongoing support teachers received.
- Learn more about what the World Vision working group mini-grants are researching on innovations in early grade literacy.
Definition of Success
ACE would like Development Advisory Team to produce a report on innovative programs that have impacted early grades literacy skills for under-resourced school populations, including information on how teachers were trained and supported by the program. These case studies will serve as potential models and thought partners for ACE Haiti’s ongoing work to significantly improve the quality of literacy education for students in highly under-resourced CSC schools.