Minister Nesmy Manigat wants to save the school year

In an open letter, Nesmy Manigat, Minister of Education, addressed parents a few days after a teacher’s strike which hinders the smooth operation of public schools throughout the ten departments of the country.

Publié le 2015-02-06 | Le Nouvelliste

llDear Parents, 1-We need to improve the quality of our schools Since the beginning of 2015, we have been committed to exchanges with the educational community. The results of official exams for the majority of our public and private schools in 2014 were catastrophic. It is time for a real debate. We need to discuss sustainable solutions that take into account various factors, including the low level of qualification of 85% of our teachers and principals as well as insufficient salaries. The teaching license, the evaluation and training of our teachers, and the National Education Fund are of utmost importance. The future of Haiti is in our classrooms. The Haitian education system is severely disabled both in terms of access and quality. It is for these reasons that the President of the Republic, Joseph Michel Martelly, has made education reform a main priority and directly supports the 12 measures to improve and modernize the education system. A calm debate on educational reform is needed. We had to start the school year in September so that the children could spend more days and hours in the classroom. We absolutely must stay on the path to academic success. 2- We need more funding for education Through the Free and Compulsory Universal Schooling Program (PSUGO in French), which finances more than one million children and with your efforts, 90% of our children are in school as opposed to 75% 5 years ago. We are pleased that the teachers' unions have signed an agreement with the MENFP in which they pledged to help in the promotion of National Education Fund, a lasting solution to the education problem in Haiti. Meanwhile, through this agreement, the MENFP will take steps to gradually integrate qualified teachers in the classroom. With this agreement, we have also renewed our commitment to continue to strengthen the institutional capacity of teachers’ unions. This will allow the teachers’ unions to be better equipped to promote the interests of their members. 3- We need to eliminate waste We know that a lot of resources invested by you, the parents, and the Government, to educate our children, are misspent. Here are some of the measures to address this issue: Gradual reorientation of PSUGO in public schools; Organization of a single official examination at the end of the fundamental and secondary cycle instead of four official examinations. Many other countries have adopted such a measure; The use of available ministries and state agency vehicles for official examinations instead of car rentals; Elimination of graduations, except for Philo; Uniforms must be worn during official examinations; Elimination of paychecks to absentee teachers in favor of the teachers who are actually in the classroom. Dear parents, these measures are appreciated by various interest groups and unpopular with others But it is the future of the Haitian schools, it is the growth of our economy, and it is the development of our country. Many people are afraid of these reforms and will do everything to block them. We need your support in order to better explain, adjust, and improve these measures if necessary, as it is in your interest as parents. 4-The main message of the month: Let's save the school year. Some of our public school children lost more than 20 school days in January. We will need to implement a tutoring or remedial program for our graduating students, but it is important that classes resume on February 2, 2015. The majority of unions have already signed an agreement to end the strike. We made an appointment for the others to continue the dialogue. This is an opportunity to tell you that conflicts between unions are delaying the dialogue to improve the working conditions of teachers. Get involved personally and be present at parent meetings. Remember that "it takes a village to raise a child." Translated from Le Nouvelliste by Rachele Viard

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