A former private school headmaster in Haiti, Alzire Rocourt was deeply affected by the earthquake. Her school was destroyed in the disaster, but now, she tackles the challenges of working in Haiti’s tent cities. The educator now teaches music classes in efforts to bring hope to her students.
Deacon Patrick Moynihan is a Catholic missionary who runs the “Haitian Project,” a non-profit religious charity. Located in a Port-au-Prince suburb, Moynihan’s Louverture-Cleary school offers free high school education to qualified area youth. Moynihan is one of many religious missionaries who work to reform Haiti’s education system.
Sixty-five percent of Haiti’s population is under the age of 25. After the 2010 earthquake, the obstacles to building a universal education system are higher than ever. Haiti stands alone in the Caribbean as a country with the highest rates of illiteracy and absolute poverty. The two statistics are closely linked: About half the country lives with under $1.25 USD a day and can’t read or write.
Haiti suffers from many of the same problems other developing nations face in education building. It bears the challenge of recruiting qualified teachers and providing adequate infrastructure to students. But its problems are unique to the impoverished Caribbean nation of 11 million. In its nearly two centuries of existence, there has never been a strong tradition of universal public education. The World Bank estimates that the country needs $3 billion USD to effectively address its failings in education.
© 2017 Paul Franz