This article argues that Haiti’s French-dominant school system is an impediment to the nation’s development, whereas Haitian Creole-dominant education will lay the foundation for long-term development. In that Caribbean country, 95% of the population is monolingual in Haitian Creole while the portion that additionally speaks French does not exceed 5% with an additional 5–10% having some receptive competence (Valdman 1984: 78; Dejean 2006). Even though French is the language of the school system, as many as 80% of Haiti’s teachers control it inadequately and only a minority of students completes school (Dejean 2006). Economic, historical, sociolinguistic, and demographic factors are a part of the explanation for Haiti’s low educational achievement. Another important but often ignored factor is educational language policy. Data on educational language policy compared internationally show that the use of a second language in schools correlates with high illiteracy rates and poverty (Coulmas 1992). I reject arguments in favor of maintaining French-dominant education in Haiti (Lawless 1992; Youssef 2002; Francis 2005; Ferguson 2006, etc.) because the resources for it are woefully lacking. I argue that the progressive promotion of Haitian Creole throughout Haitian education will lead to improved learning, graduation, and Creole literacy, in addition to a more streamlined and coherent State, economy,
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“The trees fall from time to time, but the voice of the forest never loses its power. Life begins.”
Jacques Alexis, Les Arbres Musiciens (Paris, 1957)
Oral histories are a powerful tool in developing historical understanding
Oral history offers an alternative to conventional history, filling gaps in traditional research with personal accounts of historically significant events or simply life in a specific place and time. Oral histories do more than provide charming details to dry historical accounts. In fact, oral histories help others recapture lived experiences that are not written down in traditional sources.
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" Bwa pi wo di li wè lwen, men grenn pwomennen di li wè pi lwen pase l "
The tallest tree says that it sees far, but the seed that travels says that it sees even further.
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