Education International
Education International

Hope for Haiti: EI support continues in the aftermath of the earthquake

published 3 June 2010 updated 3 June 2010

Education unions around the world remain committed to helping colleagues in Haiti after the devastating earthquake that hit the country on 12 January, 2010.

EI has assisted its Haitian member organisation, Confédération nationale des éducateurs d’Haiti(CNEH), to arrange its first national meeting, held during March, in Montrouis, Haiti. This was followed by a meeting between representatives from EI and CNEH with more than 120 trade unionists from around the world in the Dominican Republic during April at a summit focussing on a trade union response to the reconstruction and development of Haiti. One key section of the report entitled: ‘Trade union road map for the reconstruction and development of Haiti’, which was issued after the meeting, was dedicated to ensuring that ‘vocational, technical training and free, compulsory, public and high-quality education are the basis for sustainable development’. The document also states that ‘sustainable development cannot be achieved without education’, and ‘requires access to free, high-quality education for all at each level, as well as a vocational and technical training programme covering the main areas of the country’s employment and development policy’. Although some schools have re-opened in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, since the earthquake, reports suggest that more than 4,000 schools were badly damaged or destroyed and many are still in need of repair. Other schools that were scheduled to be re-opened are still not ready. EI’s initial assessment is that private schools, which represent 90% of all schools in the country, are mostly out of use, and there is still no clear overview of exactly how many schools have re-opened. EI is also working with CNEH to assess how many teachers have been affected by the earthquake – what numbers have lost their workplaces, how many are displaced, or have lost their homes, and how many fled north after the disaster struck. This assessment will form the basis on which EI and its member organizations can provide further help to strengthen CNEH’s capacity to support and represent teachers, and to give every child in Haiti a better chance of improving their life chances. CNEH has developed an action plan that it is following until its next national congress meeting that will take place in September, 2010. An assessment form will be completed by each of CNEH’s federal branches in preparation for the congress, in order to develop an overall picture of the situation on the ground. In line with an agreement at the North America and Caribbean Conference held in Trinidad during February, EI is working with the Caribbean Union of Teachers to co-ordinate activities in support of these federal branches, as they represent the main pillars in strengthening the CNEH. CNEH General Secretary, Jean Lavaud Frédérick, and Deputy General Secretary, René Jolibois, have also had meetings with the Ministry of Education and other authorities since the disaster struck. They continue to participate in the Education Cluster of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, according to which, ‘in the South East Department of Haiti, 1,000 schools have officially re-opened while 49 schools have been identified as severely damaged, and 405 tents are needed to set up temporary learning spaces.” Consequently, the immediate priority has been to facilitate the provision of temporary learning spaces, which include tents and transitional structures, accompanied by training and materials for the children, teachers and parents. To support CNEH’s efforts to rebuild and help its teachers, EI has set up an account within its Solidarity Fund to which contributions can be made for this purpose. To make a contribution to this fund, please send your donation to: Education International “Fonds de Solidarité” ING Bank, Rue du Trône, 14-16, 1000, Brussels, Account number: 310-1006170-75 IBAN: BE05 3101 0061 7075 SWIFT OR BIC CODE: BBRUBEBB For more information, please email Nicolás Richards EI’s Senior Coordinator for Solidarity and Development at: [email protected]

This article was published in Worlds of Education, Issue 34, June 2010.