Goal 2 Achieve universal primary education
by Joanna Watson
Good-quality basic education can transform a society. However, many poor families in Haiti do not have schools in their communities. Where schools exist, too many people cannot afford to send their children to them.
The Federation of Haitian Protestant Schools (FEPH), as part of the Haitian Foundation of Private Schools (FONHEP) and in coalition with others, has changed this situation through its ongoing advocacy project.
Alongside other civil society representatives, FEPH developed relationships through meetings and conversations with the Minister for Education and other key government officials, presenting them with the needs of Haiti's poorest children.
Their request was simple. They wanted an 'Education for All' strategy that would:
- commit to reducing the cost of private education for poor families in Haiti
- improve the access to, and quality of, primary education across the country
- promote community-based schools
The result was that the government passed a law to establish a National Organisation for Partnership in Education (ONAPE) and a wider and more representative coalition of schools, the Consortium of Private Sector Educational Organisations (COSPE).
Plans for a new and fairer Haitian education system are now being designed and ONAPE will play an important part in their implementation.
COSPE is now a partner for the National Ministry of Education and Professional Training. COSPE helps all the public and private institutions who are concerned with improving education in the country to work together, contributing to the implementation of the 'Education for All' programme.
The 'Education for All' strategy has made Haiti part of a global initiative that finds and solves problems in national education systems. This will help the government attract external funding for primary education to pay for teachers and schools.
Now that the Ministry of Education is working on a stronger national plan of action for education, FEPH, as part of FONHEP and COSPE, is holding them to account for putting it into practice. This will continue until all Haitian children can access an affordable basic education of good quality – which is even more important after the recent earthquake destroyed many schools.
Joanna Watson is Tearfund's Advocacy Adviser. This story was written with the help of FEPH and FONHEP.
FEPH Fédération des Écoles Protestantes d'Haïti
FONHEP Fondation Haïtienne de l'Enseignement Privé
ONAPE Office National de Partenariat en Éducation
COSPE Consortium des Organisations du Secteur Privé de l'Éducation