Haiti: Agreement promotes quality education

published 2 June 2014 updated 2 June 2014

More than a fortnight of countrywide strikes and demonstrations has resulted in an agreement being signed by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) with the platform of Haitian teachers’ unions.

In response to a call from the platform of Haitian teachers’ unions, teachers, pupils and students rallied in almost all towns and cities between 28 April and 13 May with a list of demands for the government to meet. The unions’ demands included calls for:

·        Immediate, full payment of all salary arrears and certification of employed teachers and graduating students from teacher training colleges;

·        A minimum monthly salary of HTG50,000 (about €840) as laid out in UNNOH’s Convention Final Report, and social benefits for all teachers;

·        A law establishing the status of the teaching profession; and publication and implementation of the law on the National Education Fund;

·        Thirty four per cent of the national budget to be allocated to education (30 per cent for pre-school, primary, secondary and vocational, and at least four percent for public higher education which currently receives just 0.55 per cent);

·        Decent working conditions at all levels of education;

·        Participation of teachers’ unions in the administration of social welfare insurance, and the insurance card to be issued to all insured teachers;

·        Establishment of a quality public education system which guarantees free access to education;

·        A proper immunisation campaign in schools and colleges against cholera, which is still taking lives daily, and all necessary measures to be taken by the UN and the government to eradicate it;

·        Establishing cafeterias in all schools and colleges to guarantee a hot meal for all pupils, students, teachers and other staff;

·        Short, medium and long term concrete measures to be taken to protect the environment and promote environmental education

“This agreement, wrested in the heat of battle, came at the price of a hard and bitter fight which is only just beginning, because it will only be enforced through an even harder ongoing struggle,” cautioned UNNOH General Coordinator Josué Mérilien.

EI: Agreement must be implemented

EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen welcomed the agreement reached. “We congratulate our Haitian colleagues on being able to secure this major agreement to guarantee quality education. We call on the Government of Haiti to ensure that this agreement is now properly implemented.”