Press note

A return to school in a chaotic atmosphere: The “Zanmi Timoun” foundation calls for the responsibility of the government of the Republic

In a deplorable context this year in Haiti, the “Zanmi Timoun” foundation notes with bitterness the conditions in which the reopening of classes is announced which do not promote respect for the rights of the Child. The right to education, which is a fundamental right, must be accessible to everyone without distinction. However, all sectors of activity which depend on the functioning of the school are in a state of suffocation. This results in an amplification of the level of vulnerability of several thousand families finding themselves unable to send their children to school.

Indeed, the 2022-2023 school year was a year disrupted in particular by acts of armed violence against schools in the country (shootings, rampages, and kidnappings). At a time very close to the start of the school year this year, several schoolchildren and teachers are fleeing the terror of armed gangs and taking refuge in several schools in the capital. At least 27 schools are occupied by families chased from their homes in Carrefour-Feuilles by bandits from Grand-Ravine, representing around 25,000 displaced people. However, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP), in a press release, maintains the school calendar for the 2023-2024 academic year, which sets the start of the school year for September 11, 2023.

Only a few days before the reopening of classes, across the entire national territory, particularly in Port-au-Prince, no enthusiasm among parents has been noted. The latter continue to complain about the high cost of living, the climate of insecurity that reigns in the country, the violence of armed gangs and the lack of will of state authorities to put an end to this chaos for the start of the school year. At the same time, the problems of the Haitian education system (lack of continuing training for teachers, insufficient and unknown social rights for teachers, poor salaries, neglected public schools, and inappropriate learning methods, among others) persist.

The “Zanmi Timoun” foundation, as a vanguard for respecting the rights of the Child, urges the state authorities concerned to take appropriate and effective measures within a reasonable time to promote the return to school and takes the opportunity to remind them that it is the responsibility of the State to guarantee the right to education as stipulated in the Haitian constitution of 1987, in its article 32. Furthermore, the State, as responsible for coordinating the education system, has the obligation to focus on improving the quality and efficiency of education through public policies from a global perspective with a view to resolving structural and administrative problems.

Done in Port-au-Prince, September 8, 2023

Manoach PRESNA
Program Manager
Tel: 509 3746 7196/3396 1778