Help for Haiti: Education

The Department of Education is intensely concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Haiti caused by the January 12, 2010, earthquake and the rebuilding of their education system at all levels including elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and vocational.

This is the first of what we hope will be an active blog site that will capture new ideas and insights on how best the United States can draw on our expertise to assist the Ministry of Education in Haiti, as they work to create a system that is better that what they had prior to the crisis. We will be checking this site every day, and passing the information on to policymakers here in Washington and on the ground in Haiti, so feel free to share your thoughts on what you think can make a difference!

Andre Lewis
Office of Postsecondary Education


  1. Distance Learning – is a real opportunity for Haitian students. I’ve been on 2 medical mission trips to Haiti. In June, I was in Port au Prince at the University hospital and developed a relationship with several translators. I stay in contact with them via the computer. One translator is pursuing on-line education. I’m committed to helping Jimmy, a 20 yo translator who is interested in health care get back in school. You should have seen his face when he took his first blood pressure. It’s very complicated to identify “good schools”. It’s clear a lot of money will be flowing into Haiti, creating opportunity for the youth who have an education. Distance learning degrees from accredited organizations enables a fast solution to rising above the congested, paralyzed, damaged governmental infrastructure. I would love to offer Jimmy an opportunity to re-enroll in an quality educational program that will permit him to pursue a career. Please contact me with opportunities.

  2. Haiti’s educational issues are made worse by its economic plight. Their deforestation had devastated their economy before the earthquake. It is therefore also imperative that other US agencies become involved in economic development. After all, what use is an education if you cannot use it.

  3. @jerry – Yes education is the key factor here. What we need to do is look more at the problems that are likely to arise from this situation instead of the ones that are currently in our face. .

  4. Education is important in every area, state or country. We should not let that disaster hinder the youth’s dream of being educated and acquiring the skills needed to be employed in the future. I’m sure the government will realize this and will find ways to reach out to these people and provide one of their basic needs – education..

  5. I hope that the Hatians are able to get their government under control in order to allow therm to have an educational system. To enable them to get out of poverty.

  6. No work is in vain if it is done with the best of efforts and some are helped. I do believe that there should be a group that travels to Haiti and meets with the remaining teachers in Port-au-Prince to assess what the human resource teaching capacity is and what they will need. Then I believe that shared knowledge and training should occur between the employees who have experience in K-12 pedagogy. This should help in the creation of a set of standards that could be enforced by the Ministry of Education in Haiti. Then trained bilingual staff should help make up the teaching capacity in Haiti. You can use the teachers that are left along with those who are literate and have at least university content students learn how to teach along side those that are sent from the U.S and those that are left in the country. Then once the teaching is done, the other teachers left can model and continue the process of building the teaching capacity in the country. The first thing is to make sure standards and policies are in place in order to have properly trained teachers that can teach the children.

  7. I think disaster awareness should be focused too in Education rebuilding in Haiti since, I believe if am not mistaken that Haiti in the ring of fire and anytime it would be shaken by earth quakes, we can’t really control the rage of mother nature all we can do is try to survive it’s rage

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  8. Cynthia. I love your comment. I’ve worked in Haiti for years and with a special school that would love to be a sister school to one in the US. Many university students have no where to go since many schools were destroyed i.e. Quisqueya Medical School, and are looking for help. Don’t know what policy is on this site for referring people to other sites but would sure like to talk to you. You might want to see what COFHED is doing in Haiti. With a little sleuthing I’m sure you can find them

  9. The US Department of Agriculture is very interested in re-establishing the vocational agriculture schools throughout Haiti. To this end we are planning an assessment mission that will determine what it will take to repair and modernize agricultural extension and vocational education. There are many other types of vocational schools within and outside of the earthquake zone, all in need of attention.

    Meantime, the universities and schools within Port au Prince all have lists of needs – tents and other temporary structures, writing tablets, temporary structures, supplies, curricula in French, computers, video-conferenced lectures (in French), etc.

  10. I feel confident about the Department of Education here in United States of America in offering their assistance for the ministry of education in Haiti. As a Haitian, I think the best way to help the education to restablish in Haiti is for the United States to created some type of organization that can go there and build the whole school system. If American try to raise money and some them to the government in Haiti that will be a waisting time. I believe creating a model of change in this type of situation is what nessesary. Student should be testing the same way American students are testing.
    If we can help to removed the people who is in power as of now it will a best way for the country.

  11. I believe assisting Haiti should be its award. Americans should be proud to share our blessings with others less fortunate at home or abroad. We, adults, are teaching our children about superficial rewards rather than focusing on the intrinsic feelings that are much more valuable than a tax credit or certificate. Is there any way we could adopt a classroom? Students write letter to each other and raise funds for a specific school or classroom of students of common ages.

  12. I am proud to be an American that the Department of Education is focusing some attention on the educational system in devastated Haiti.

    Two things must happen immediately in my opinion. One, there must be structures to hold classes in with adequate transportation to and from those schools, nutritious food when they are at school, and better health care using school nurses. Two, teachers must be trained quickly and must be paid higher wages than they had before the earthquake in order to attract exceptional and dedicated mentors. Those wages should be scaled according to the difficulty or level of their classes and by demonstrable competence.

    While our academic systems are excellent, we should not presume to know what is best for the Haitians. Collaborative redesign of Haiti’s educational system should include the best of those systems in other countries as well as the US.

    The US might consider a series of pilot schools where the US Department of Education has more direct supervision with the consent of Haiti.

    Haiti’s educational issues are made worse by its economic plight. Their deforestation had devastated their economy before the earthquake. It is therefore also imperative that other US agencies become involved in economic development. After all, what use is an education if you cannot use it.

    Private donations have already helped, and thanks to the passage of the The Haiti Assistance Income Tax Incentive Act, Americans will be able to deduct some of their gifts. Perhaps extending the Act for another year would encourage further charitable donations. Private organizations often do as much or more good as government agencies.

  13. This is a good effort but it may be in vain as the crisis in Haiti is now old news and celebrities and other media hounds have moved on to the next best thing. perhaps the government can give tax breaks for volunteers and people wanting to donate money to the cause or give another incentive for there generosity..Like tax coupons to be used at a later time, people who give freely there time and money with out “getting something in return” are far and few between, if you want to get the masses in reality says give them something for there effort. My 2 cents worth..

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