Teaching Creole in Haiti

To the Editor:

Re “A Creole Solution for Haiti’s Woes,” by Michel DeGraff and Molly Ruggles (Op-Ed, Aug. 2):

I agree that children acquire necessary reading and writing skills best in the language most familiar to them: Kreyòl for Haitians.

But while Kreyòl is the key to strong educational foundations for Haitian youths, it is not the end destination. In the global economy there are obvious advantages to being a polyglot, especially when one’s native tongue has limited international reach.

At The Haitian Project’s Louverture Cleary School, which is just outside Port-au-Prince, we use Kreyòl as the base language and then teach French, Spanish and English to prepare our graduates to develop Haiti’s full global potential.

I also urge caution in accepting the claim that access to elementary education in Haiti has increased considerably. On the ground, work — including testing of hundreds of prospective students and community service with the children of our neighborhood — reveals little change.

The voucher President Michel Martelly designated to improve educational access covers only a third of the true cost, leaving school as unaffordable as ever to many Haitians.

President, The Haitian Project
Providence, R.I., Aug. 4, 2014


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