About Me

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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.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Haitian Education - The key to a thriving country

Our group had the pleasure of hearing Haiti’s Director of Education of the North speak about his vision for the future of Haiti’s education system. His passion for this cause was both genuine and compelling. During his address to the group, he indicated that educators in Haiti are in this field not because it is a job, but because they live this role as a vocation in their lives.

It is generally accepted that doing what you love and are passionate about makes “work” not feel like “work” at all. Throughout this trip, I have been astounded by the passion of our diverse group. Our evening debriefs and meetings have overwhelmed with ideas, debates, inspiration, and “aha” moments. In fact, much of the conversation has revolved around how to reign in the passion to find concrete and manageable next steps without over-committing. Furthermore, the devotion of this team is emphasized by the fact that many of our members are participating on personal time.

Not everyone has the opportunity to thrive in this way throughout their career. Haiti, for example, lacks much of the infrastructure necessary to give its younger generation ample choice and opportunity in vocation. Having said this, I have been so impressed with the consistency of Haiti’s value of education. In fact, this value appears to be embedded in the Haitian culture. As a country, Haiti sees education as the key with which the country can thrive. Pastor Caleb, a Haitian man, even told us that at his age of 54, if he told his father he wanted to pursue further education, his 80+ year old father would begin harvesting sugar cane to afford this. This speaks to the goal and vision Haiti has for its people. It also reinforces why continued collaboration to achieve this dream is so necessary.

By Jessica Vorsteveld

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