Creole conference,
Attendees of "The Kreyòl, a scientific language" forum in Port-au-Prince on May 25, 2022. Photo by Murdith Joseph for The Haitian Times

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Spain will provide scholarships and exchange programs to the Haitian Creole Academy in a move to help integrate Haitians’ mother tongue into professional settings. Estime Sergo Cuesta, Spain’s Ambassador to Haiti, made the promise during a May 25 forum on Kreyòl.

“Literacy in the mother tongue is needed to ensure the academic success of children,” Sergo Cuesta said in french during the event, titled “The Kreyòl, a scientific language.”

“It doesn’t make sense that some people unfortunately don’t know French and have difficulties talking with their own administration, the Haitian administration,” he added.

Cuesta did not provide details on the proffered scholarships and exchange programs.

“We believe a lot in Spain’s support and its desire to integrate Haiti and its language because a country is developed when its language is valued,” said Rogeda Dorcé Dorcil, president of the Haitian Creole Academy.

The Haitian Creole Academy was founded in 2008 to support the development of the Creole language.

The Spanish Embassy organized the conference-debate in collaboration with University State of Haiti, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Initiative MIT-Ayiti), Basque Agency Cooperation and the Haitian Creole Academy. The event is part of the Edukayiti project of the European Union but was carried out by the Spanish cooperation in order to strengthen Creole in education.

In the forum, Jon Sarasua, a professor at the University of the Basque Country in Spain, spoke about how the Basque language went from being an oral language to being integrated into secondary and higher education in the 20th century. It was also recognized as a scientific language, which means instructors thought in Basque and scientific works were written in Creole. 

Creole encountered its first challenge at its formation in colonial times, Dorcil said.

“This is an opportunity for the ministry to recall the importance of the mother tongue in any learning process,” said Minister of National Education Nesmy Manigat.

Murdith Joseph is a social worker and journalist. She studied at the State University of Haiti and Maurice Communication. She first worked as a journalist presenter and reporter for Radio Sans Fin (RSF) then as a journalist reporter for Radio tele pacific and writting for the daily Le National. Today she joined the Haitian Times team and covers the news in Port-Au-Prince-Haiti.

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