Maguy Durcé, Secretary of State for Vocational Training, speaking as representative of the Minister of National Education; Caroline Hudicourt, head of the Consortium of Private Sector Education Organizations (COSPE); Nesmy Manigat, former Minister of National Education and Darline Alexis, officiating as moderator, such is the constitution of the panel of this “Thursday of Saint-Louis” of the month of June carried out, taking into account all the constraints imposed by the Covid-19, in a completely virtual format.
The Covid-19 appeared in a context where the Haitian education sector was quietly trying to recover from the upsetting “peyi lòk” episode that deprived schoolchildren of several weeks of class. Because of the pandemic of the new coronavirus, the limits of the Haitian education system, its perennial structural weaknesses, are therefore revealed in broad daylight.
“Reduction of school days… Difficulty of continuing distance learning for lack of a reliable supply of electrical energy and a stable and accessible internet connection… Impoverishment of the population, therefore of schools and teachers… Risk of loss teachers… Possible dropout of children who were already in difficulty… ”
This is the non-exhaustive list of the difficulties drained by the pandemic that the career educator Caroline Hudicourt, school principal and professor of educational technology at Quisqueya University.
For the former Minister of National Education Nesmy Manigat, “nothing will ever be the same again”. He therefore alludes to the challenges posed by health protocols which require a global rethinking of school infrastructure and equipment, distance training offering new possibilities for teaching practices and didactic interactions and new possibilities to support learning paths. learners forced to become more and more autonomous. Nesmy Manigat therefore calls for a true national, municipal, local partnership, both from state actors and non-state actors to innovate or strengthen certain ongoing reforms.
Highly anticipated at the turn in its costume of the one whose mission was to carry the word of the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) as the regulatory institution of the education and professional system the Secretary of State for Vocational Training, Maguy Durcé, replacing Minister Agénor, hinted at a possible inclination to transform the global health crisis into opportunities by the ministry through actions geared towards the protection of children, parents and actors in the sector.
Preventive actions, of course, said Maguy Durcé, but who also count on the revival and consolidation of initiatives already undertaken as well as the modernization of the national education system. l while taking into account the poor access, quality and relevance of education and training, inadequate school infrastructure, uncertified and unqualified teachers, the country's poor supply of electrical energy, inadequate educational resources, the lack of textbooks, among others.
On the strength of all the above, the three panelists unanimously recognized the opportunities offered by Covid-19 to rethink our education system on its knees because of yet another closure of schools, and to overcome its many shortcomings to teach and learn differently.
In this sense, Maguy Durcé says to see in the hundred schools under construction at the primary and secondary levels and the construction underway of 4 training schools an opportunity to increase access to educational and vocational training in relation to these new infrastructures.
The Secretary of State then associated access generalization of the MENFP's digital educational and professional platform to an obligation to directly improve the learning system. At the same time, she pointed out, vocational training is in the process of setting up its own digital platform.
Alongside the short-term actions arising from the ministry's response plan to Covid-19, Maguy Durcé mentioned some structural projects on which the MENFP is currently working. These include, among other things, the finalization of the ten-year plan 2020-2030, the development of the curriculum reform, the national certification framework (which will be launched next July), the preparation of the validation law. acquired knowledge and professional experience.
Despite all current efforts, Nesmy Manigat stressed, distance education in Haiti is not going to make too much of a difference. Except for schools that already had this culture. In addition, many schools do not have the capacity to respect the physical distance between students. The former minister pleaded for an inclusive dialogue – therefore the ideal solution does not exist – because, according to him, the hybrid school will sooner or later be a reality in Haiti, with digital or not.
Questioned on a possible date of reopening of classes, the representative of the Minister of Education was unable to communicate a date and relied on the scientific unit and the Ministry of Health (MSPP ) in charge of deciding on the end of the pandemic.
Citing approximate figures produced by the MENFP, Darline Alexis, the moderator, indicated that 4.5 million children in Haiti attend school under the responsibility of 149,643 teachers in 20,900 schools across the country, while 320,000 children of school age do not have this opportunity due to the advanced level of precariousness of their parents as well as the lack of the state. The Haitian state spends the equivalent of $ 90 for each child attending a public or semi-public school. In the meantime, says Darline Alexis, households spend more than 46% of their annual budget to enable their children to attend schools with no guarantee that the education they will receive will be of good quality.