21.07.2010 -

Haiti Education Ministry communicates at the grassroots

©Anette Haug

As the 2009-2010 school year ended, Haitian students, parents and teachers asked the same questions: How could exams be organized when classes had stopped for over three months, and when many schools continued to operate in tents? Mr. Emond, the principal of Charlotin Marcadieu, wondered if his school will be an exam centre, as in the past, now that the buildings were damaged.

Recognizing these difficulties, UNESCO and the Ministry of Education organized three information workshops in three areas hit by the earthquake for local education authorities, or inspectors. 

At the workshop held in the region of Jacmel, at the Naranjos campsite on 7 and 8  July, inspectors were informed of ministry decisions concerning the conduct of this year’s examinations and the following 2010-2011 school year. The inspectors in turn informed teachers, parents and students.  Mr. Meelody, director of the Ministry’s press office, pointed out that the inspectors were “representatives of the State on the ground.” 

The inspectors were also asked to review the appropriateness of the information disseminated by the Ministry and to prioritise the most important messages. Their opinions were of interest to the Ministry as they were better acquainted with the daily  reality and problems of education. After working in groups, the inspectors presented creative suggestions on how the Ministry should communicate with schools, students and parents. One of the groups wrote and presented a skit about school.  The inspectors also came up with a number of messages and slogans in French and Creole, such as “Lekol is wout ki nan Mennen devlopman,” (“School is a road that leads to development”) to be broadcast along with vital information. These suggestions will feed into the Ministry’s information campaign to be launched across various media platforms and supported by UNESCO.   

Ministry representatives and inspectors declared that they had learned a lot from each other during the workshops.  The inspectors were able to inform the government on realities and concerns at school level. After the meeting, a Ministry official said, “It is sometimes hard to hear some of their critiques, but we know they are right and we are working to improve the situation.  One thing is certain, this day has been a real success.”

 Reportage : Benoît Goffin

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