Although 80% of the students speak Creole and have only rudimentary knowledge of French, educational programs are mostly conducted in French. The Office of National Literacy and Community Action has the major responsibility for literacy programs throughout the country. The adult literacy rate for the year 2000 was estimated at 51.4% (males, 49.0%; females, 53.5%). In 1990, public expenditure on education was estimated at 1.4% of GDP.
Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 12. However, prior to the late 1990s the majority of children did not attend school. It was estimated that in the early 1990s only 22% of primary-school-aged children were enrolled in school. This figure had risen to 56% by 1995 and was estimated at 81% as of 1999. In 1991, Haiti had 7,306 primary schools, with 555,433 pupils and 26,208 teachers. In general secondary schools there were 184,968 students and 9,470 teachers. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 31 to 1 in 1999. The Université d'État d'Haïti (Port-au-Prince), dating from 1920, offers the following schools: administration and management, agronomy, economics, ethnology, law, medicine and pharmacy, odontology, science, and surveying. There are about two dozen other universities in Haiti, including the Université Jacques Theodore Holly. There are also several vocational training centers and trade schools.