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Haiti - Education : Rosny Desroches share his concerns in the field of education...
"[...] I would spend most of my remarks to the great innovation that today characterizes the work of the Ministry of Education, the PSUGO, Universal Schooling Program Free and Compulsory. From the outset, I wish to acknowledge the extraordinary intuition that the President Martelly has shown by choosing the Free School, as the flagship promise of his campaign [...] universal schooling in Haiti must be taken seriously. With the initiative of PSUGO where 164.000 students on the 500.000, which were outside the system have been integrated, where more than 430.000 students from the private sector have received a grant of 3,600 gourdes per year here school fees were abolished in public schools, the Haitian education system has just crossed a Rubicon.
Socially and politically, it will be impossible to reverse. All future governments will have to work with celerity to meet the constitutional requirement of universal education, of the school available for all Haitian children of school age [...]
However, we must be aware that this will be expensive. We made a calculation that the operation for this year will cost 52 million U.S. dollars. Next year it will take 94 million, the 3rd year: 120 million and the 4th year U.S. $ 124 million, represents nearly 400 million for four years. For each year, it will be necessary to include a new cohort, including the 300,000 children who are still outside the system. Does the National Fund for Education can generate all this money ? Does the International could substantially increase its contribution to education in Haiti ? Does the Haitian economy will going to experience such growth, to enable it to meet this expense without neglecting other key areas ?. These are all questions that the Ministries of Finance and Education will have to respond by presenting to the nation a new operational plan as rigorous as that which was developed after the earthquake.
Regarding funding of the process, allow me, Mr. Minister [Reginald Paul], to express a concern. One of the observations we have made in reviewing the budget that has just been voted by Parliament is that the budget of the National Vocational Training Institute, INFP, was reduced substantially this year. However if you want increase domestic production, print to our economy a growth that allows it to meet its expenditure on education, it should be instead give a place of choice to vocational training.
A second concern that we want to express is related to the draft Law of National Education Fund. We are deeply concerned that the National Fund of Education as conceived by the Bill becoming a competitor to the Ministry that you lead and weaken still further the Ministry of Education already torn by the often conflicting requirements in terms of procedures and project management, imposed by a variety of donors. Indeed, this fund will not only pay the amounts raised, to the national education budget. It will have its own program of activities including support for tuition, school infrastructure, school furniture, purchase of materials and more. Not to mention that this fund which will enjoy greater administrative autonomy will be powered not only by calls and international transfers but by resources from casinos, gambling, importation of food products, state enterprises and banks.
In terms of governance, the Fund Board will be composed of four ministers and one person appointed by the President. No participation of non-public sector of education which provides 85% of services in the area. No power of decision and control of Parliament.
The direction taken by this fund worries us as citizens, because it goes in the direction of the concentration of power in the hands of the Executive, of the weakening of the Ministry and the negation of democratic principles of participation, control , transparency, of balance of power. [...]"