Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018
HomeOpinionOp-EdHaiti’s future is secure! It has lots of children

Haiti’s future is secure! It has lots of children

Children in a homeless camp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Haiti’s future is quite secure; it has children in large quantity, especially young girls, all attending schools. Thank God for the good nuns, they are providing continually an excellent education to those girls frequenting their schools. Thank God for the Haitian parents, they are not afraid of spending beyond their means for the education of their children.

I could not send the same kudos to the Haitian government; it has been derelict in taking full responsibility in educating all the children of the nation. The vista is clearer in a city like Cape Haitian, where most of the large buildings are converted into schools by entrepreneurs to satisfy the growing demands of educating the children.

Anyway, if the resource of a nation is above all its people, God has blessed Haiti with an abundant young population, in particular after the earthquake of 2010, to replenish the land that lost some 300,000 people. I have crossed the country all over, and all I have seen on school days are children walking sometimes a dozen miles to receive the bread of education.

To the positive statement that Haiti’s future is secure because of its growing population, there is the sad fact there is a planeload every day of young people taking their chances as nomads to Chile. There are also those who are taking the illegal steps of a risky boat to The Bahamas and toward Florida.

The reason being that there isn’t now and there has not been in the past 60 years a systematic project of nation building in the country. The international programs as well the national ones have been cosmetic schemes designed to make believe help is on the way! The country is sustained by a fatal cocktail of arrogance by the government, misguided policies by the international donors and international organizations and lethargy by the population that keeps electing leaders who ignore its interest.
As such, my ebullient feeling of hope for Haiti is tarnished by the reality that Haiti is doomed for a long time if it does not decide to elect a better government that will take care of these children.

Haiti has a deficit of two generations of young people who lost the precious time when they should have been in school to be educated. They are now shoeshine workers, selling water by bags, or vendors of used clothing and a growing business everywhere, motorbike taxi drivers.

There has been no governmental policy of recuperating this mass of productive workers operating beyond their potential because of their lack of education and formation. Furthermore, the ministry of education, in spite of the fact its budget has been increased, is plainly insufficient to meet the state demands.

The chain of value in providing education to the children is circumvented soon after the kindergarten up to the university. Since the government does not provide excellent schooling in each catchment area, entrepreneurs are filling the void. As the parents cannot continue to pay the exorbitant school fees, children are withdrawn from school.

Those who sustain until the end of the formal secondary education must face the fact there are not enough seats on offer in the public universities. I have before launched the cry of who will take care of the children? The question has been left without an answer.

Haiti, like the rest of the Caribbean, needs better governance, better leaders who see their future resting in the children produced by the mothers of the nation. It is the job of the government to take care of this precious resource. They will be tomorrow’s taxpayers. The economic survival of the nation is at stake!

• Jean H Charles LLB, MSW, JD, is a regular contributor to the opinion section of Caribbean News Now. He can be reached at jeanhcharles@aol.com. Published with the permission of Caribbean News Now.

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