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From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.
Haiti is among the poorest nations in the world. Only about half of Haitian children go to primary school. And the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, says fewer than 25 percent attend secondary school. Many Haitian schools lack running water and dependable electricity. Recently, the United States’ Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, visited Haiti and met with Haitian President Michel Martelly. Mr. Martelly was elected in 2011. He is working on his campaign promise to make education free for every child. Secretary Duncan announced that the US Agency for International Development will invest millions of dollars to improve Haiti’s education system. Haiti is one of six countries getting aid through the USAID’s Room to Learn program. Mr. Duncan said the United States will also provide technical help to Haiti’s Education Ministry. The education secretary spoke later with VOA’s Creole language service about his visits to schools in Haiti. One school was for children forced to live on the street. The education secretary praised the students for their efforts to gain a better life. Secretary Duncan said he would never forget their stories. He noted that many children lost parents in the 2010 earthquake.
He also talked about language use in Haitian schools. The country’s two official languages are Creole and French. Most Haitians speak Creole, but most schools use French. Mr. Duncan said he believes the situation is difficult for children whose language at home is Creole. He praised an experimental program that now teaches reading in Creole.