Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Questions from my great-Uncle & My Answers

BY Paige- (with some help on some of the answers)

Some questions...

Are the kids of Haiti required to go to school ?
No, it is not required. Many kids do not go to school. The parents will not get in trouble like in the USA.

If so – through what grade level ?
The kids who choose to go, or GET to go often just go until 6th grade and then stop. There are schools for 7-12th grade, but not as many kids go that long.

Does Haiti have its own school system like we have in the USA ?
Haiti has a very limited one -- my parents say it is basically non-existent in rural areas. The public schools are not too great, but also they don't have enough schools for the kids that want to go to school.

If not, who provides the school system?
Most of Haiti's schools are sponsored by NGO's (non-government organizations) most of those are Christian ministries but not all of them are. More kids in this country go to these mission schools than go to the government schools. It is estimated that well over 50% of school children are attending non-government sponsored schools.

Is it at any cost to each child?
Yes. It depends on the school. Some of the better secondary schools might cost about $250 U.S. per year. For kids that are going to a mission-sponsored school, like the Lifeline school, it is very inexpensive, maybe $5.00 U.S. for the whole year. Primary schools are cheaper than Secondary and missionary-operated schools are cheaper than government schools. There is a option of secondary school that is free or low cost but it is only for the VERY best students and is hard to get into.

Do you still teach English in school? At what grade level ?
I teach English after-school hours, just to kids who want to learn. I had not been doing it for a long time but we just had a class again yesterday so maybe we will start back up. Some of the kids are younger, but most of them are 4th-6th graders. My Creole is getting pretty good so it makes it easier now to teach English.

Also, you asked what else might be interesting to know about school in Haiti. The kids get report-cards just like in the USA and most of the way they teach here is based on memorization. The kids do lots of chanting back to the teacher. You can start school as an older kid, so sometimes there are great big kids sitting with little 1st graders. Right now we have some kids as old as 17 in the 6th grade class. At the end of 6th grade you have to take a big government test and pass it in order to go on to secondary school, if your parents can afford to send you that is.