Education International
Education International

Haiti: Strike leads to social dialogue

published 6 March 2013 updated 22 March 2013

Following the three-day strike in public and private schools on 27, 28 February and 1 March, called by the Teachers’ Platform, the Minister for National Education and Vocational Training, Pierre Vanneur, has pledged to resume discussions aimed at improving the Haitian education system and giving greater recognition to the teaching profession.

The Confédération nationale des éducateurs d’Haïti(CNEH) and the Fédération Nationale des Travailleurs en Education et en Culture(FENATEC), both national affiliates of the EI, are part of the trade union platform.

“The strike called by the teachers’ platform was supported by 80 per cent of teachers in different regions of the country such as the North West, North East, Artibonite, Bas-Plateau, Haut-Plateau, West (all the secondary schools and national schools in Port-au-Prince went on strike), Nippes and the South,” said Lourdes Edith Joseph Delouis, General Secretary of the CNEH, on the first day of the strike.

The joint decision by the education unions, she said, demonstrated their desire to put an end to repeated strikes in the interests of the nation, despite the indifference shown by the national authorities towards their educators.

Ministry heeds trade union demands

René Prévil Joseph, President of the FENATEC, also welcomed the decision by the National Education Minister to review the demands of the Haitian unions in order to end the series of strikes in the country’s schools. “We welcome this decision by Minister Pierre Vanneur and we are following the negotiations closely,” he said.

He invited the other leaders concerned to follow the example of the Minister for National Education and Vocational Training to help avoid another teachers’ strike in the country.

The Minister stated that the strike signalled the urgent need to respond to the teachers’ demands.

Teachers, the key to rebuilding Haiti’s education system

“The Haitian state wants to create better working conditions for teachers, in order to form an intellectual elite capable of shaping our country’s destiny in the future. The rebuilding of Haiti’s education system will not be possible without competent teachers,” Vanneur said.

At a meeting on 27 February with the Platform, followed by a press conference, the Chairperson of the Education Committee of the Chamber of Deputies declared that the teachers’ demands were justified.

Objective: Quality public education for all in Haiti

“We welcome this statement by the Haitian Education Minister and support our Haitian colleagues,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.  “We call on the national authorities to negotiate in good faith with the teachers’ unions.”

He added that EI will ensure that the measures set out in the Resolution adopted at its World Congress in 2011 on a campaign for quality public education for all in Haiti are implemented.

To read the full text of the resolution, please click here.