CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Haiti’s CARICOM Youth Ambassador, Leticia Cadet, on Thursday, made an impassioned plea to the Caribbean Community to help re-build, as a matter of priority, the education system in Haiti.
At a special meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in Paramaribo, Suriname, Ms Cadet recalled with obvious grief the devastation caused by the earthquake, which crippled Port-au-Prince on 12 January, leaving in its wake a climbing death toll of more than 200, 000.
Ms Cadet said Haiti needed the support of its partners, including members of the CARICOM Community, to continue providing education to its current students “to avoid creating a potentially detrimental gap in qualified human resources.”
She added that Haiti had little capacity and few facilities to offer tertiary education, and that the catastrophic earthquake had further weakened the tertiary education system.
Haiti has one State University with nearly 23,000 students. Each year 18,000 youth seek attendance at an undergraduate school, but only 3,000 are admitted. During the earthquake, the School of Nursing and the School of Human Sciences collapsed, while the other buildings were damaged. It is likely that those students who escaped, will not only lose the rest of the academic year but their education and training might be disrupted for a longer period. This will have a serious impact on the human capital so necessary for the rebuilding of that nation.
In this regard, Miss Cadet called upon the COHSOD to impress upon Heads of Government the need to provide at least 20 scholarships per year for the next five years (starting in Fall 2010) for Haitian students to attend the University of the West Indies (UWI). In addition, she expressed hope that the UWI would be more ‘flexible’ in enrolling Haitian students during this special disaster relief effort.
Ms Cadet further urged CARICOM to develop a mechanism that would help youth in Haiti to access funding for entrepreneurship. Those young people, she said would also get support and mentoring from the State University and the private sector of Haiti.
The COHSOD endorsed her appeal and agreed to present her petition to the Heads of Government at the Special Summit on Youth Development set for 29 – 30 January in Paramaribo, Suriname.
The full text of the petition endorsed by Haiti’s CARICOM youth ambassadors and former ambassadors is appended.
RECOVERY RELIEF EFFORT TO SUPPORT YOUTH DEVELOPMENT THROUGH TERTIARY EDUCATION AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN HAITI AFTER JANUARY 12TH EARTHQUAKE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CARICOM MEMBERS.
A petition of CARICOM YOUTH AMBASSADORS FROM HAITI
Addressed to: THE COUNCIL FOR HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (COHSOD)
WE THE UNDERSIGNED WOULD LIKE TO BRING YOUR ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING PROBLEM, WITH RECOMMENDATION(S): ________________________________________
The January 12 earthquake left thousands of students without schools, universities, and teachers in Port-au-Prince and around Haiti. Current efforts are focusing on providing food, water, and shelter; but in the coming months and years, the most pressing issue will become the lack of qualified human resources to rebuild Haitian society, which will result from the generations of displaced students unable to access quality education during and following the crisis. The demand for quality education is, and will continue to be, very critical. In this time of crisis, HAITI needs the support of its partners, including members of the CARICOM Community, to continue providing education to its current students to avoid creating a potentially detrimental gap in qualified human resources.
Haiti has little capacity and few facilities to offer tertiary education, and this disaster has further weakened the tertiary education system. The State University of Haiti has around 23,000 students; each year 18,000 youth seek attendance at an undergraduate school, but only 3000 are admitted. For example, the School for Nursing and the School of Human Sciences collapsed, and the other buildings are cracked. Most likely, the rescued students will lose the academic year, and the country will suffer from a lack of qualified personnel during the recovery and reconstruction periods following the immediate response.
As acting and former CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, and with support of the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs at the State University of Haiti and stakeholders from Youth serving Organization in Haiti, we appeal to the CARICOM Youth Commission to urge the Heads of Government to offer education support to Haiti in this humanitarian crisis.
First, we request that CARICOM dedicate money for 20 scholarships per year for the next five years (starting in Fall 2010) for Haitian students to attend the University of West Indies (UWI). In addition, we hope that UWI will be more flexible in enrolling Haitian students during this special disaster relief effort.
Second, we urge CARICOM to develop a mechanism that will help youth in Haiti access funding to develop businesses, for instance, through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), while receiving support and mentoring from the State University of Haiti and the private sector.
Thank you for your attention.
AGREED UPON BY THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE:
NAME ADDRESS/SCHOOL/GROUP TELEPHONE
1. Isnel PIERREVAL / former CYA for HAITI / firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Frantz SEIDE / former CYA for HAITI/ email@example.com
3. Anick SUPPLICE/ former CYA for HAITI/ firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Gyliane Anne-Leticia CADET/ CYA for HAITIemail@example.com
5. Wilson LALEAU / Vice Dean of University State of HAITI/ firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Marcel GABEAUD / MegaConsulting Group/ email@example.com
7. Arnoux DESCARTES/ Founder of Volontariat Pour le Développement d’Haïti (VDH)/ firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Abner SEPTEMBRE/ Founder Association des Paysans de Vallue (APV)/ email@example.com
9. Igor Jonatan PAULTRE /CYA for HAITIfirstname.lastname@example.org