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Haiti’s “linguistic apartheid” violates children’s rights and hampers development

November 22, 2019

 

Haiti’s “linguistic apartheid” violates children’s rights and hampers development | open Democracy

 

Virtually every Haitian in Haiti speaks Creole (“Kreyòl”) as their native language, while no more than 10% speak French, perhaps as few as 3% if we only count those who speak fluent French. The systematic use of Kreyòl at all levels of education, administration, justice, etc., is therefore indispensable for ensuring equality of opportunity and non-discrimination among all Haitians. Using their native tongue is critical to provide the most sustainable and optimal foundations for investing in children (and adults), and to develop Haiti’s human capacity for problem solving and socio-economic development. This is the fundamental premise that underlies the workings of the MIT-Haiti Initiative, funded by the US National Foundation since 2012. By providing state-of-the-art teacher training and pedagogical resources in Kreyòl to faculty in Haiti, the Initiative is directly contributing to the Millennium Development Goals in Haiti—particularly the goal of quality education without discrimination.

 

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