School Rebuilding, a Bright Spot in Haiti Reconstruction

Haitian schoolchildren read their textbooks. A plan to rebuild the country's education system was among the most encouraging things to come out of the earthquake, according to a New York Times editorial. Photo by: Kendra Helmer / USAID

Plans to rebuild Haiti’s education system should rightfully take center stage during the second meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission slated Aug. 17, according to an editorial by The New York Times.

“A plan to build a new education system in Haiti is one of the most encouraging things to emerge from the rubble of the Jan. 12 earthquake,” the Aug. 16 NYT piece says.

Although ambitious, that plan should be relatively simple, as there is no need to build the sector from scratch. NYT expects many of the schools to be privately run, similar to the situation before the deadly earthquake, and parents to receive subsidies for sending their children to schools “that accept new layers of oversight and accountability, including government accreditation, a modernized national curriculum and teacher retraining.”

The effort, which is likely to take 20 years, involves providing free or nearly free education from kindergarten through 12th grade in accredited schools, building 625 new primary schools and retraining 90 percent of the country’s teaching force, or 500,000 people, to teach the new curriculum. NYT projects the cost of the first phase at USD500 million, with half coming from the Inter-American Development Bank.  

NYT concludes: “Eight months after the quake, the list of things that need to be fixed in Haiti is dauntingly, disturbingly long. Indeed, there are still more than one million people who are displaced and need homes. This education plan, built with a constructive mix of homegrown initiative and outside help, should be a model for moving other desperately needed projects forward. There is no time to waste.”

About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.