Education International
Education International

Haiti: unions develop Action Plan for recovery of the education system

published 7 April 2010 updated 7 April 2010

The Executive Board of EI affiliate CNEH is working on an Action Plan, after getting feedback from the Federations, and the preparations for the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) Summit in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 8-10 April.

An assessment form will be completed by each federation in preparation for the upcoming congress to take place 17-19 September, in order to develop an overall assessment of the situation. EI assisted CNEH in organising their first Direction nationale and Federations meeting 26-27 March in Montrouis.

In relation to the school year, there is not yet a clear view of how many schools have been opened and where they have been opened. 700,000 students are expected to go back to school in the next two months, BBC reported lately. Schools are re-opening in Haiti's capital for the first time since the earthquake which killed more than 200,000 people in January. The quake damaged or destroyed more than 4,000 schools, and while many have been repaired, others scheduled to re-open are still not ready.

A report to come shortly will include details of the situation of those teachers who either lost their work places or were displaced. This is one of the main concerns of EI as it constitutes the baseline from where EI needs to start work to strengthen CNEH capacity to represent members and recruit new ones. The situation for some teachers and their families is still very difficult and in some cases is getting worse.

CUT and EI will coordinate activities to support the Federations, as they represent one of the main pillars in the strengthening of CNEH, as decided during the North America & Caribbean Conference in Trinidad last February.

René Jolibois and Jean Lavaud Frédérick from CNEH have had several meetings with the Ministry of Education and other authorities. They have also been participating in the Education Cluster of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This intergovernmental body, in a situation report dated 24 March, stated that “an estimated number of 302,000 children have been displaced to other departments, with an additional 720,000 children affected by the earthquake but remaining in their home communities. Of this figure, 309,500 children are currently living in spontaneous temporary settlement sites which lack basic social services.” “The immediate priority of the Education cluster, OCHA added, is to facilitate the provision of temporary learning spaces (tents/transitional structures) accompanied by training and materials packages for these children, teachers and parents. In the South East department, about 1,000 schools have so far officially re-opened while 49 schools have been identified as severely damaged, and 405 tents are needed to set up temporary learning spaces.”

For the ITUC Summit in Santo Domingo, EI is working on a background document on the development of the education system to be the baseline for the discussion with the Haitian Trade Unions, the Haitian government and other important organisations such as ILO. On 10 April trade unions will work on a road map for the reconstruction of Haiti that includes Core Labour Standards and decent employment plans. Education has a major role in it, as well as public services. Main themes to be discussed at this Summit are: How can decent work be ensured for all? How can the rule of law be strengthened? How can social protection be ensured for all?

To date, the Solidarity Funds of EI and of the Caribbean Union of Teachers have raised near 190.000 € (55.000 € already has been sent to Haiti) which represent 257.000 US $ (74500 US $ has been sent to Haiti). As the action plan is finalised, a budget for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of CNEH will be presented.

You can still contribute to EI Solidarity Funds, in order to help rebuild Haiti's schools and teacher unions:

Education International “Fonds de Solidarité” ING Bank Rue du Trône, 14-16 1000 Brussels Account number: 310-1006170-75 IBAN: BE05 3101 0061 7075 SWIFT OR BIC CODE: BBRUBEBB