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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Haiti Day 2: What About Education?

Today I had the opportunity of meeting several people that are initiating various projects, all related to bettering the lives of children. Some focus on the day to day care of orphans, while others are planning to provide long-term education opportunities with goals of getting kids to college. I was so amazed at the many groups coming together for Haiti and the education of its children. BUT . . . .
There is NO REAL conversation in Haiti about providing a FREE education to ALL CHILDREN. In Haiti 90% of the schools are private, and the public schools that do operate face inadequate schools and classrooms, and a teaching force – very professional I must say – that does not get paid on a regular basis by the government. Why isn’t USAID touting educational initiatives? Why aren’t Bill and Hillary Clinton saying that Education is the future? What are the UN and Red Cross doing, except putting band aids on a century old problem?
Yes, I have the perspective of an educator. But THE ONLY true means of lifting a country out of poverty is through an educated populace. Only 70% of the population attends school, and of those, LESS THAN HALF finish primary school! At some point, the Haitian Government, USAID, UNICEF, Save the Children, the Red Cross, Bill and Hillary, and ALL the other stakeholders MUST put education first. We are all in this for the LONG RUN, not a short term solution that will only wreak more havoc.
So today I want to start a conversation. I want you in your dialogues and actions to reach out to our leaders, to our friends, and our colleagues and discuss the importance of Haiti having a system of education that will provide the opportunity for ALL children to learn. Please support our cause as we continue on this mission to help the most disenfranchised population in the world, our children.