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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Haiti's (lack of) capacity for education oversight: Encourage, entice, and enrich

I'm amazed at the commitment level of teachers and directors (principals) in Haiti. Of course, like in Canada, there are exemplary teachers and not such exemplary teachers. Yet, considering the wages and teaching conditions, it's remarkable that so many educators are as committed as they are.

This past trip reminded me although there is significant commitment at the local (i.e. school) level, the Haitian government is ill-equipped and ill-prepared (and ill-committed??) to oversee macro-type of change. The disparate school systems (state, private, "blended" - and a whole spectrum of quality within each) are essentially left to monitor themselves. I firmly believe that most teachers want to do the very best they can in their profession. However, without encouragement, enticement, and enrichment from an overseeing body, sometimes the lowest level of expectation is the target.

A healthy, functioning Ministry of Education should encourage and enrich teachers by providing paper, human, and electronic professional resources available to all. It also would entice teachers through a certification and qualification process. By identifying, and monitoring, expectations of pedagogy, classroom management, communication, etc., the Ministry of Education would contribute significantly to the improvement of the educational system in Haiti.

For now, grassroots efforts are making a difference - just without the consistency and "10,000 foot view" that an overseeing body should be able to provide.

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