15.02.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti Michaëlle Jean calls for urgent overhaul of education system

Port-au-Prince, February 14 - The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean will ask the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (ICRH) to urgently add the overhaul of the education system to its list of priorities.

The UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti will appear before ICRH on Tuesday 15 February at the Karibe Hotel in Pétion-Ville, to present UNESCO's strategy.  She will tell the commission that education remains the cornerstone of Haiti’s future prosperity.

 "It is imperative to implement the National Pact for Education, which was developed by Haitian authorities in the world of education and endorsed by the President of the Republic. This plan lays the foundation for building an education system that is accessible, universal and offers quality instruction," Ms Jean said.

UNESCO intends to support the Haitian Ministry of Education and Professional Training (MEPT) in the implementation of the plan recommended by the National Pact for Education. Haiti wants, among other things, to provide a free and high quality education for all children from 6 to 12 years of age by 2015. The objective is ambitious. Before the earthquake of January 12, 2010, only one in five children had access to public school. A large segment of the population was deprived of education because parents lacked the financial resources to pay the registration fee.

The MEPT also aims to increase the proportion of students pursuing studies at the secondary and university level and provide literacy to 2.5 million inhabitants. Haiti can count on UNESCO in all its actions, whether it is capacity building or improving the quality of education through teacher training and curriculum development.

"Haiti must rely on an educated workforce to implement the Action Plan for the rehabilitation and development of Haiti, Ms Jean said. The plan’s goals for territorial, economic, social and institutional reconstruction presented by the Haitian government in March 2010 in New York will be realized only if its citizens have all the tools needed to tackle future challenges. In this regard, education is essential. "

UNESCO also stands ready to assist the Haitian government in its other spheres of activity such as science, communications and culture. In this regard, the establishment by UNESCO of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding of Haitian Cultural Heritage reflects its commitment to the protection of the tangible and intangible heritage of Haiti and its cultural industries that are inseparable from its development and essential to its economy.

For more information, please contact:
Micheline Laflamme
Communications Advisor to the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean
mlaflamme.unesco@uOttawa.ca
Tel: 613-618-2754




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