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Haiti: reopening schools despite the dire situation is essential

While Haiti’s political, economic and social situation has been deteriorating for months, recent weeks have been truly terrible, to the point that schools are now closed - a dramatic development given that without education, there can be no national development.

The problems started several months ago with issues surrounding fuel and electricity supply, the devaluation of the currency against the dollar and the resulting price rises, and corruption scandals involving politicians at the highest levels. This led to numerous demonstrations against the current government.

More recently, however, things have become markedly worse, with looting and violence making people afraid to leave their homes. The country is currently experiencing a shortage of water, petrol and basic necessities, which is causing significant suffering among the population.

This is why all affiliates of Education International (EI) in Haiti condemn corruption at the highest levels of government and have been taking part, over the last few weeks, in the protests demanding the departure of the country’s current President. Furthermore, while schools and universities remain closed, teaching staff are not being paid.

During this difficult time, EI extends its full support to its members and to all teachers in Haiti. We are calling on all EI members worldwide to express their solidarity with their colleagues in Haiti, namely the Confédération Nationale des Educateurs d'Haïti (CNEH), the Fédération Nationale des Travailleurs en Education et en Culture (FENATEC), the Union Nationale des Normaliens/Normaliennes et Educateurs/Educatrices d’Haïti (UNNOEH) and the Union Nationale des Normaliens d’Haïti (UNNOH).

EI is particularly vigilant with regard to union rights: unionists must be able to freely express themselves and demonstrate without the risk of reprisals. EI stands ready to provide concrete support enabling its members in Haiti to take action throughout the country, by going and speaking to teachers, by publicising their demands for free quality public education and by supporting them to be partners in a social dialogue still to be built, so that teachers can have a real statute whether they work in the public or private sectors.