Even people with a doctorate degree find it necessary to always have access to education. For them, it is not so much about getting the basic skills, but rather to keep up with new technology in their field of expertise.
Haiti, a country that has been on the road to development for the past two decades , is still struggling with the idea of making education accessible to all its citizens. We all know of the difficulty as far as adequate education is concerned in Haiti, for that as a people we must begin an educational policy and strategy to ensure a better future for our children.
The future of a developed Haiti lies in the way education will be provided to all. In a country with limited natural resources and scarce financial resources, officials must rely heavily on an innovative approach to educate the population. Trying to copy an American or French educational system has proven time and again ineffective.
We can no longer afford to fail our children, if we are indeed serious about getting our country moving in the path of prosperity. A sound education for all must be a national priority. Now, the bigger question is how do we get every child an education sufficient to be functional in society? Here are a few propositions that I am offering.
First, we must realize that education that does not improve one’s living conditions is as good as no education; hence, we have a responsibility to make education as practical as possible. To that end, I’m proposing that we adopt a co-op or internship as part of the curriculum starting in secondary school. It makes no sense that currently there are very few opportunities for students to be engaged in after-school programs. As part of a rethinking of our educational system, we must keep our youth intellectually stimulated throughout the day. There must be a linkage between theoretical knowledge- which we get from school – and practical knowledge, which is acquired through employment.
Secondly, we must adopt innovation in our educational system if we are to change the lives of the millions that have been excluded from the system. In today’s world, access to education must not be limited to the amount of classrooms available, but rather to sincerely reach out to everyone one in every corner of the country. Some of the approaches that I am thinking about are already being implemented in small scale in specific areas. For example, Luke Renner, who is heading the Caribbean Institute of Media Technology (CIMT) has just settled in Cap-Haitien to bring an alternative to the way we educate young people in Haiti. The idea of CIMT is to use mass media tools to bring education to those who can’t afford the traditional education system.
Furthermore, it is time that the educational system and curriculum reflect the needs of the country. There is a systemic failure in our approach. We need to teach our youth the necessary skills set that will ensure their competence and competitiveness in this global era. There is no reason why we can’t become an innovative nation, where our students can take an existing product and innovate it for an alternative use.
We have a country in dire needs of everything from better agricultural technology to a basic modernization of our sewage system. We have a duty to not only talk about providing education, but more importantly to understand exactly what type of education that will best serve our country.
Lastly, we must educate our students to become ethical citizens. It is a waste of resources when education is not used for the benefit of the greater community. As we will increase the pool of educated minds in our society, we must also emphasize the necessity of serving others. Being educated does not prevent one from serving the less fortunate. As part of our educational campaign, we must implant in our youth the importance of giving back to their community. It should be part of this new curriculum to encourage students at all levels to participate in community projects from neighborhood clean-up to literacy programs. We have a duty to invest in our education, as well as that of our neighbor.
Our country can no longer promote inaction, overdose of analysis, paralysis of strategy, and moribund planning. We must find the vitality within us to abate the negative thoughts that are holding us from become a vibrant society. We must engage in the rethinking of our destiny. We must hold ourselves accountable before we criticize anyone else for our tribulations. It is in that spirit that I will encourage everyone to propose their own idea of what they see in the future of our country.
It is possible that education might not be a natural right, but it is definitely a human right. It is the only process by which we are capable of becoming improving our lives. When we deprive a human the right to education, we also deprive them of their natural right to exist. An educated Haiti is a sustainable developed country. We must invest in an equitable education for all today, if we are to have a just and prosperous nation tomorrow.