These are excerpts from an article by Annik Chalifour that was published (in French) in L’Express, a Toronto-based publication.
Following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, several volunteers from the Ministère de l’Éducation (MEO) and the Ministère de la Formation et des Collèges et Universités created a support group for Haiti, independent from these departments, to raise money to send school supplies through humanitarian aid agencies. The group is now planning to send 16 teachers and 4 other participants to Haiti this summer to offer training to 300 Haitian counterparts in Port-au-Prince and in the town of Les Cayes.
“We have $10,000 left from our previous fundraisers to cover the transportation costs and living expenses of 16 teachers and 4 other participants who will travel to the island from July 27th to August 12th. The cost estimate for the project is $70,000, noted M. Beaudin, so we need to get the remaining funds by the end of April in order to confirm the project and finalize the travel arrangements.”
Although the 12 FLE school boards have committed to help finance the project, the group is also counting on all other donations in order to accomplish its mission of solidarity with its peers in Haiti. As mentioned, the Haiti Support Group acts independently of the government and has not received, nor will they receive, any government funding to complete this mission.
Classroom management, pedagogy and didactics
“The 16 participants come from 6 FLE school boards. The 4 other participants include 2 academic advisors,” said Gabriel Osson.
The Haiti Support Group has carried out its selection of teacher trainers in recent months. “We needed teachers who had at least five years of professional experience in addition to having prior international and adult education experience. Our mandate is to provide training for Haitian teachers in the field through 3 local partners: Sister Rosenelle Lagredelle, Senior Coordinator for Immaculée Conception Schools in Port-au-Prince, Yves Voltaire, Rector of the Université d’Haïti in Les Cayes, and Jeannette Charles for the educational component.”
The project aims to strengthen the capabilities of 200 to 300 elementary and secondary school teachers. Two Ontario teachers will work with an average of 40 Haitian teachers. Twenty teachers from the kindergarten level will also participate in the project.
The training will include classroom management, pedagogy and didactics, followed by a support component and a pairing of Haitian and Ontario teachers. The subjects that will be covered include French, mathematics and science technology.
Reality on the ground
“There is no training available for teachers, says Gabriel Osson. The science of education does not exist. Although Haitian teachers are qualified and have experience, they have no access to official training. Haiti has lost many teachers because of the earthquake. Several elementary schools have been destroyed while high schools are limited to major cities only.”
Donations through BMO
Donations can be made to the Haiti Support Group at the Bank of Montreal in the “Education Support For Haiti” account.