Only 6 out of every 1,000 teachers have a diploma or certificate in their field in Haiti.

Nearly 25% have not attended secondary school.

As part of our ‘Education for All’ blog series, we have been digging into the challenges and joys of education in various forms - from vocational skills training to literacy classes and from a school for parents to the impact of Covid-19 on school children. For our final post of the series, I thought it would be great to see things from the perspective of the teachers themselves. How are they equipped with the skills they need to teach effectively?

What began in 2011 as a ministry to provide a Christian education to children on the island of La Gonâve, Haiti, has slowly developed to become the holistic support network it is today. Our ministry partner, PiFò Haiti, currently supports over 500 students and 30 staff members through 5 interlinked programmes. One of these programmes is called ‘Teacher Certification Support’.

Beginning with 9 teachers in 2019, PiFò Haiti has been providing funding for a 3-year professional teaching qualification.

When contacting PiFò Haiti’s director, Wendy Thiessen, for more information on their teaching programme, I wasn’t expecting to receive such a passionate response back! Here’s what Wendy had to say…

"We used to do a week of teacher training each summer when I first got involved in Haiti. It was so interesting to watch Haitians trying to comprehend a curriculum and classroom organisation skills from North America. It cost so much money and wasn’t serving any sustainable goals, other than to appease North American teachers who humbly thought they had more to offer and needed to share their knowledge. I realised that a knowledge of the language and culture, as well as good, solid relationships with Haitians who have the vision for their schools/classrooms, was the way forward.

PiFó Haiti teacher training

So, we asked what the Haitian teachers wanted – ‘What would make you feel valued and respected as a teacher?’ They wanted to go to the Lekòl Normale (the local teaching training college) to learn the Haitian curriculum and obtain a nationally recognised certificate from the Haitian Ministry of Education. Perfect!

So that’s what we’ve been doing. We will have three teachers graduating in June 2022 and we have three more who just started this year. There is a waiting list of our teachers wanting to participate. The tuition is approximately $200 per year per teacher. This doesn’t include their uniforms, exam fee or books, but that is just to give you a rough idea. When I first came onboard, they were doing the teacher training week each summer at a cost of at least $10,000.

I cringe when I think about how we could have done things differently… we, as first world foreigners, think we know more so we never bother asking. Plus, we assume they don’t have quality educators because it’s a ‘poor’ country. The teachers need to be far more creative because they have much less traditional material to use in the classroom. They use bottle caps for math which works perfectly fine."

Here at WorldShare, we feel privileged to support such a brilliant ministry. Being able to see the difference this programme makes to the lives of the teachers themselves is wonderful. Maccia, a school director supported by PiFò Haiti, says this…

Teachers are not valued very much in Haiti. We make very little money and have little respect in the community. I feel so honoured that you are blessing us with the gift of knowledge so that we can offer our students a good quality education. Thank you!

If you have been inspired by what you have read, please would you consider giving to enable this brilliant programme to continue making such an impact on the lives of many? By purchasing our ‘Teacher Training’ Freedom Gift for £20, you will help PiFò Haiti to fund a three year professional qualification for a teacher. You could even buy a few and give them as presents for loved ones this Christmas.

By Emily Hobbs, WorldShare’s Marketing Communications Assistant

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