The Collective Defenders Plus requires the government to ensure a climate that can facilitate the return of classes throughout the national territory

The Collective Defenseurs Plus requires the government to ensure a climate that can facilitate the return of classes throughout the national territory

The start of classes initially planned by the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) was on September 5, 2022, then postponed to Monday, October 3, 2022. This 28-day gap seems to represent nothing in the face of the challenges which are faced by both the parents and the MENFP, for minimal conditions facilitating the reopening of classes.

The reopening of classes becomes every year more difficult for a population that is impoverished day by day. So is it appropriate to ask what is the fate of those who have already been forced to pay the fees for the month of September? In some cases, the previous academic year has not yet been completed because school records are still kept in some schools due to inability to pay. In fact, the cost of education constitutes one of the huge burdens for the majority of Haitian families.

Indeed, according to a report published in 2017 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2 out of 10 children between the ages of 6 and 11 do not attend primary school in Haiti. In addition, the law on school fees called the Bastien Law, has certain measures to regulate school fees. Among these measures, we can cite: school fees must be set in local currency (gourdes), no additional fees for re-registration, the deposit amount is limited to 500 gourdes. Force is to note that these measures are not applied by many educational institutions. In addition, this same law provides in its article 3, that the amount of annual fees must not, in any case, exceed the equivalent of two months of schooling for preschool and three months of schooling for elementary and secondary. But to counteract this measure, the majority of schools change the monthly payment system to adopt one of installments or installments. In other cases, schools are transformed into bookstores and supply stores where the state does not charge any taxes for such activities. These observed anomalies contribute to increasing the overall cost of schooling for parents.

Accessibility to schools is an essential element for the functioning of schools. However, the earthquake of August 14, 2021 caused the destruction or damage of more than 1,000 schools in the departments of South, Grand’Anse and Nippes. In the metropolitan region, according to a report by the MENFP several schools have been abandoned including 772 à la Croix des Bouquets, 446 à Tabarre, 274 à Cité soleil and 200 à Martissant, Fontamara, Center-ville et au Bas de Delmas. You are still in the areas of Pernier and Torcel. It is also worth noting that these schools have been moved because of wars between rival gangs. This situation of insecurity is completed by the problem of public transport generated by the increase in the price of petroleum products by 128 percent, or the absence even of these products in the petrol pumps. Since three weeks, the “country lock” phenomenon has intensified the ordeal of parents. The paralysis of economic activities remains a brake for a possible return to classes.

The Defenseurs Plus Collective is asking to what extent the 28-day period that was granted to the MENFP made the lines move when we consider that the cries of the parents still remain the same. As for this will to do, the MENFP also seems not to have the means for this policy. The low quota of 13.3% allocated to this educational sector in the national budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022 reflects the lack of interest of the State in this sector.

The Defenseurs Plus Collective recalls that the political, economic, and social crises completely hinder the proper functioning of educational institutions (schools, universities, and professional establishments). It requires in this sense, the government, to ensure a climate that can facilitate the operation of educational institutions, notably facilitating the return of classes throughout the national territory. Then, to put in place a mechanism to guarantee the right to education, which includes especially access to education for all and free primary education as a human right.

Done at Port-au-Prince, on October 3, 2022

Samendina Lumane JEAN
Responsible for Communication and Advocacy
Tel: 509 4737 69 60

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