This event held in the Wilson Center on February 7th, 2013, was on “Nation Building: The Plan for Public Education in Post-Earthquake Haiti.” The two speakers were H.R. Vanneur Pierre, the Minister of Education of Haiti, and Paul Vallas, a scholar at the Wilson Center who focuses on education reform and serves as education consultant to the government of Haiti.
While I was aware of the fact that Haiti was severely stroke by the earthquake in 2010, I was not really paying attention to the education of the people in Haiti, but in its recovery from the disaster. It was interesting to know that “nearly 50% of the Haitian population is under the age of 18;” therefore, it was understanding that education in Haiti was at the top priority in the Haitian government’s agenda.
The speech by the minister of education Pierre was touching in the sense that he showed great passion and optimism on the educational need in Haiti. He said things like, “turning the disaster into an opportunity for development,” and “we want to give all children in Haiti potentials to contribute to the society.”
An interesting fact among the things he said was that 1 million children were currently learning in Haiti without parents being concerned about tuition fees.