July 2010: Haiti-Futur started a pilot-project using digital contents with the sponsorship of Fondation de France.
Haïti Futur and Education
First teaching experience using digital contents in rural areas:
Fond Jean-Noel experiment
Key points on the success of a digital education program
1) Haitian Education
The essential question on education was developed in a report called “For a national pact on education in Haiti” ( http://www.commissioneducation.ht). The report was highly critical. The foreword stated: “the country has decided not to invest in education while the demographic pressure (3.5% in 2010, among the highest in the region) continues to increase demand on resources for the education sector.”
It is not surprising: that in 2008 for example, the country counted 2 793 829 Haitian people (38,8% of the total population) who never attended school.
That the government only provides for 8% of primary schools and that 82% of primary school students attend private schools.
That 56% of these private schools operate in structures that are inadequate (regular houses, churches, and arbors).
That 91% of these schools, located in rural areas, operate without electricity. That 65% of them do not have running water.
That out of 100 students who started first grade only 29 will attend secondary school (High School). That only 1,7% of handicapped children of school age have a chance to attend school.
Can this pattern change? Is it possible to break up this situation?
Numbers from other reports confirm these dramatic facts.
· 40% of the Haitian population is less than 15 years old (3,6 Millions)
· 50% of school age children did not attend school before the earthquake.
· About 375,000 children between the ages of 6 to 11 (about a third of this age group) do not attend school.
The education system register a large number of “older” students, this phenomenon is due because these students either started attending school late because of economic reasons, or because they had to repeat a year because of the poor quality of teaching and of practicing methods.
1.2 French and Creole
During the six year of primary school, French and Creole constitute the two languages of teaching. They are taught during the same number of hours, in theory at least. Teaching of Creole finds its foundation in a law dated 18 September 1979. This important law authorized the usage of Creole as a written and spoken language in school.
In the capital city, the teaching is done mainly in French; in the smaller towns and in provincial villages, the teaching is done in Creole; in the richer schools in the capital, teaching is only done in French. The school books are almost all written in French except those for Creole grammar. During the secondary school years, French is taught for seven to eight hours a week against only one hour for Creole.
Since the earthquake, half of the schools (between 10 000 to 12 000) have been destroyed or are dangerous. The situation of the teachers should be underlined and this is not new.
Before 12 January 2010, there were 20 000 teachers in the public schools of the country, including 7000 in Port-au-Prince. We know now that 38 000 students and 1300 teachers have died during the earthquake. One thing is for sure, there will be a shortage of teachers both in public and in private schools.
Out of the 60 000 teachers of the primary schools, close to 80% did not receive the basic initial training. About 40% of these 80% do not have the level of an 8th grade student. Only 5% attended university, 10% attended teachers’ training colleges, and 6% hold a certificate for teaching.
As a whole, those who teach in an urban area are better prepared than those who teach in schools located in a rural area. In general, teachers are not trained to teach children in Creole and write it with difficulty. In rural areas, most of the teachers do not speak French correctly. It should be noted that many teachers work at the same time in public and in private schools which creates problems of non-availability, meaning periodical absences of teachers in the schools.
2) Haïti Futur and Education
2.1 The projects
Carte des projets d’Haïti Futur
Haiti-Futur sponsors different education projects regarding all school levels since its creation. About six thousand students are currently benefiting from the association projects.
Ecole maternelle Youpi Youpi (Port-au-Prince - Delmas 24)
A Kindergarten is run by Mrs Marguerite Marcelin. The school has partially restarted its activities after the building was damaged. 150 students attend this school.
Ecole Les P'tits Trésors (Port-au-Prince - Santo )
A Montessori school run by Mrs Ghislaine Jean Louis, relocated in the neighborhood of Santo 15 after the destruction of its buildings in Port-au-Prince during the earthquake. 101 children from 3 to 6 years old attend this school.
Jardin d'enfants Nouvelle Génération (Camp-Perrin)
This kindergarten has 80 children from 2 to 6 years old. In addition, since the earthquake, fifteen children coming from Port-au-Prince have been accepted.
Saint François Orphanage (Ile à Vache)
Cette institution, dirigée par soeur Flora, regroupe une école de 450 enfants, un dispensaire et
différentes structures d'aide à la population de l'île.
Ecoles Balisier and Roche-Pierre (Paradis des Indiens, Les Abricots)
These two schools are part of a school group of 11 schools run by Michaelle de Verteuil. They are located in the mountains near Jeremie and cater to more than 3000 students. In addition to their academic education, the students receive manual skill training and classes in reforestation and agriculture. Many additional students were enrolled after the earthquake.
Centre d'Education Fondamentale (Fond Jean Noël, section communale de Marigot)
This school is run by Mr. Getho Severe. It was created in 1988 at the request of the community with the help of Mr. Jacky Lumarque, (the current rector of Quisqueya University) as a primary school with a unique cycle of four years. The objective of this initiative was to create a local formula of access to school for children who otherwise would have to walk several kilometers in order to get to a school in Peredo, which was not even accessible during the rainy season because of frequent floods of the rivers Pave and Figuier that the students would have to cross. Today the school integrated a high school with 11th and 12th grades classes (Rheto and Philo). 650 students attend the school included 55 that arrived after the earthquake.
Collège primaire et secondaire (centre culturel et classique / Pétion-ville)
This school is run by Gary Perodin and his two brothers who after their studies in France returned to Haiti to run the school created by their mother. This high school provides quality teaching in the working-class area of Delmas. Partially destroyed during the earthquake, the school started running again in a different building.
Ecole Jardin Fleuri (Marigot)
The 200 students who attend the primary and secondary classes of this school have been relocated and classes are held under tents since the earthquake.
Ecole de Canaan (Camp Perrin)
A Primary and Secondary school of 150 students. This school caters to the poorest children of the area. This project is under evaluation.
Mazenod (Camp Perrin)
This school was created by the priest of the Order of Oblats in 1945. The school is part of an institution that counts a dispensary, a print shop, a training center for adults and an alphabetization center for children who work as domestics. This school of 625 students accepted 40 children after the earthquake.
Ecole Wilner Antoine et centre d'Education professionnelle des Gonaïves (Gonaïves)
These two schools are under evaluation.
2.2 Types of actions
Haiti-Futur intervenes in many different ways in the schools that were chosen and validated because of their continuing action, the quality of the teachers, and their pedagogic projects. These interventions are as follows:
Provide school supplies and material (school books, pedagogic material)
Ecole primaire et secondaire de Petion-ville / Youpi-Youpi /Ecole nouvelle Generation de Camp Perrin: provide for the salaries of the teachers and grant scholarships.
Centre d'Education Fondamentale de Fond Jean Noel: participation to the functioning budget of the schools (and particularly provide for the addition cost incurred for the refugee students who arrived from Port-au-Prince after the earthquake). Also installed a Computer Lab.
Other selected projects:
Finance the studies in Medical school in the Dominican Republic of a student of the Ile-à-Vache orphanage.
Organization of a Fund raining with the former students of Mazenod (most of whom have left Haiti) in order to finance the renovation and installation of a computer Lab.
Finance the internship of one of Haiti-Futur member, Valérie Féquière, at the Ecole des P'tits Tresors in Port-au-Prince.
Provided material and books to the Oswal Durand library in Dondon.
Set up of a work-shop “Timoun Rezistans” in the frame work of the program “Education through Art” at the Fondation Culture Creation.
Ecole Saint Paul des Gonaives: participate in the creation of a Book bank for the students of this school after the major flood of Gonaives.
3) First digital education experience in a rural environment: Fond Jean-Noel
In 2003, the director of this school informed Haiti-Futur of his wish to create a computer lab. After a careful reflection on the needs and availability of resources, two members of Haiti-Futur traveled to Fond Jean-Noel to install the computer lab and all necessary infrastructures to include an electrical generator and a Internet liaison with a parabolic dish.
Centre éducatif de Fond Jean Noël
This came together with a practical training of the teachers (maintenance of the equipment and office automation.) The two members of Haiti-Futur, now living the United States, continue to visit this school regularly to provide training for the teachers.
It has been decided to replace the regular computers with a more modern and integrated digital educative material, an digital class equipped with laptops, a video projector, and a white Smart Board (an interactive white board).
This operation is being set up with the collaboration of the company Educatech based in Port-au-Prince which has been working for years on the concept of digital classes. A complete « package » was delivered to CE Fond Jean-Noel along with pedagogic material, a few Encyclopedias, Encarta on CD Roms, and the training of the teachers on how to use the smart board.
A first evaluation was done with the teachers during a visit to Haiti. Two working sessions were organized with teachers of the primary and secondary schools.
During our visit to Haiti 21 April to 1 May 2010, our experiences with the programs were as follows:
- The most urgent needs are for pedagogic material and teachers access to pedagogic contents for the teachers. Therefore, the encyclopedias provided with the equipment are not being issued adequately and are inappropriate. There is a very big demand for pedagogic support also from the other schools we visited.
- Internet connections in rural Haiti remain problematic.
- Access to computer – even in computer labs – is not enough. Three or fours students at a time use one station. This sensibly diminishes the efficiency of a workshop and the digital program.
This is the reason we recommend the pedagogic training of teachers as the main focus of our support for the coming years. We believe that creating a Computer Lab, although promising can not be considered without new pedagogic methods, based on experience and pragmatism.
This approach implies several consequences:
- The need to create a network for all our different projects in order to favor exchanges and feed backs.
- Reflection on the equipment to install. Digital education cannot be envisaged – on a short term – by providing one computer per student. Other solutions should be looked into which would be less expensive and more adapted to the reality on the ground.
- More importance should be given to the pedagogic contents. This should be worked in close collaboration with the teachers. This analysis led us to DIENA (the African Inter-ministerial Delegation forDigital Education) via its SANKORE program.
4) Key points on the success of an Digital Education Program
Digital education can be an important solution in answering Haiti’s challenge on quality mass education such as that championed by the “National Pact for Education in Haiti.”
Digital education entails basic equipment such as a laptop computer, a video projector, and a Smart Board (interactive white board) which allows the teacher to do a class by using digital exercises developed following the Haitian program. These digital classes are more like games and allow the children to enjoy learning. Teachers follow lessons projected on the smart board, which make it different from teaching based on repetition, this allow them to interact with the entire class by making the students think, observe and participate.
The success of such a program takes into account three elements:
The stakes require partnership in order to coordinate efforts and energy of each person.
- The quality and the low cost of the equipments
- The creation or adaptation of the contents following official programs of the Education Ministry
- The training of teachers taking in consideration the current level of the teachers.
PHOTOS OF THE PROJECT...
>Installation of digital classes at the Ecole des Salésiens in La Saline and Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince,
at the Centre Culturel de Petionvile, EFACAP of Mersan, and at the Pere Gerard school in Camp Perrin (campus Mazenod).
Teachers’ Training in Port-au-Prince (at Educatech) and at the EFACAP in Mersan
A First grade class working on experimental science at the EFACAP in Mersan.
4.1 Partnership with the Ministry of National Education in Haiti
Reynold Telfort, Director of
primary school at the Ministry Of Education
Partnership with Yves Voltaire, rector of the Public University of the South
(UPSAC- Les Cayes)
Signing of a cooperation agreement
with the Sankoré program (26/04/2011)
Working meeting with the teams
Paraschool and Haiti Futur
The Ministry of Education (MENFP) is very interested by the reinforcement that digital education can bring to provide quality education to large number of people.
The Director for Primary school at the Ministry follows and participates in this experiment (which for the first three year will be led by Haiti-Futur), in order to be able to implement this technique if the evaluation is positive.
EFACAP in Mersan (A school for practice at the Ministry which supervises 26 schools in the school district Camp Perrin / Maniche) is a privileged experimentation site. In addition, the public university in Les Cayes and its department of “ Education Science” contribute to the development of pedagogic contents, teachers training, and evaluation of programs.
4.2 Partnership with the SANKORE program
In France, collaboration between DIENA (Inter-ministerial delegation for digital education in Africa and SANKORE Program) provides a know-how which is in the process of being developed in Africa and in the Indian Ocean. DIENA also provides equipment to Haiti-Futur.
4.3 Partnership with Paraschool
Paraschool is a French company who edits digital contents. It employs professionals such as pedagogic designers, infographs, computer specialists, and integrators. This company works on creating digital programs for First grade level following the official Haitian program.
Paraschool is working together with Haiti-Futur on the transfer of its know-how and on the creation and training of a Haitian professional team who will start working in close collaboration with Paraschool as of October 2011.
The transfer of know-how is organized through visits of interns in France, Paraschool’s missions to Haiti and the set up of communication tools and follow ups between France and Haiti.
4.4 Partnership with a Haitian editor
The publishing center KOPVIT (a social action bookstore) provides school books to facilitate the creation of the digital contents without asking for royalties. The Ministry also provides publications (including that of IPN the National Pedagogic Institute).
5) Calendar of the program
August 2010 to August 2011
- Reinforcement of partnerships (Ministry of Education in Haiti, SANKORE-DIENA, KOPVIT)
- Creation of digital contents for First Grade level together with Paraschool
- Identification of schools to start the experiment, installation of equipments and teachers training
- Begin digital education teaching in at least 12 different schools for First Grade level
October 2011 – August 2012
- Begin creating digital contents in Haiti (in partnership with Paraschool)
- Creation of digital contents for the Second Grade level
- Extend the experiment : identify other schools, install the equipment and train the teachers
- Experiment solar energy production for schools in the country side
October 2012 – August 2013
- Extend the experiment to 30 classrooms (First Grade and Second Grade level)
- Create digital contents for the Third grade level
- Extend the experiment to 60 classrooms (First, Second and Third grade level)