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CATCHING LIGHT ON THE ROOFTOPS Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education Sunset over the northern mountains of Haiti

“It’s late evening in Port-au-Prince and as the day’s light fades from the city, I notice a young girl, perched precariously on the roof of her house. I soon realize that she has a schoolbook perched on her lap. She’s catching the sun’s last rays intent on learning as much as she can in a place where artificial light is often a scarce luxury.” Marie St. Fleur Chief of Advocacy and Strategic Investment, City of Boston On May 21, 2013, an eclectic gathering of leaders assembled in New York—representing both Haitian and international organizations, all with diverse perspectives in the service of one goal: boosting Haiti’s educational Haitian Education was co-hosted by the University of Notre Dame and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. in midtown Manhattan, provided for the event by the their attention on how a combination of strategy and comprehensive educational support systems, along with targeted and appropriately deployed resources, can work to revitalize Haiti’s Catholic education system and the viability of the nation overall. In his opening remarks to the 35 leaders present, co-facilitator James McHale, Vice-President- Program Strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, noted, “Our goal is to invest in

people in a manner that is not merely transactional but is truly transformational.” Roundtable participants included representatives from organizations and institutions in the philanthropic, governmental, development, and education sectors. education, education renewal and the role of the Catholic education system in helping to catalyze change, as well as future directions for philanthropic support of cussion about the Haitian Catholic Education Initiative being led by Haitian Church and community leaders in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Topic 1: Education in Post-Quake Haiti — Lessons Learned

NO MORE “FLY IN, FLY-OUT” The opening discussion on the state of education in post-quake Haiti was led by three leaders who are playing instrumental roles rethinking and reforming Haitian education: Jacky Lumarque, president of Quisqueya University, one of the architects of Haiti’s most recent operational plan; Sergot Jacob, a senior advisor with the Haitian Ministry of Education; and Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, lead education specialist with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the largest public donor to Haiti’s educational system. Jacky Lumarque Rector of Quisqueya University, Haiti and Chair, Presidential Task Force on Haitian Education (2009-2010)

: Jacky Lumarque, Quisqueya University

Mr. Lumarque began his remarks by describing education as “cement for society.” With candor and in a sobering tone he recounted some of the critical challenges facing Haitian education; challenges rooted in the nation’s ability to provide children with access to quality education. Mr. Lumarque noted the stark imbalance between public and private funding for Haitian education. The Haitian government only spends about 2% of GDP on education; this is in contrast to private funding which amounts to approximately 7% of GDP. He reminded the leaders in the room that because of the lack of public support, 80% of Haitian schools are private. School fees represent up to 40% of the average 2

Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, Education Lead Specialist for the Inter-American Development Bank

Haitian families’ annual income. Seventy-six percent of the population lives on less than $2 US per day. These longstanding economic realities have merely been exacerbated by the earthquake. A dearth of school buildings and schools with no furniture, libraries or sanitary facilities are characteristic of the serious education infrastructure and resource issues. Student enrollment and retention are serious issues as well. Haiti has some of the lowest school enrollment and retention rates, and highest rates of unqualified teachers in the world. It is estimated that up to 500,000 children (ages six to 12) are not in school at all and 67% of children who attend school leave before Grade 6. The quality of education is greatly hindered by the fact that 84% of teachers in Haitian schools are not qualified. Mr. Lumarque pointed to Haiti’s unstable political situation and ineffective relations and poor coordination with public donors as barriers to the system’s development. He suggested that the $4.3 billion dollar “Operational Plan,” developed in 2010 by Haitian leadership with support from the IDB and other public donors, is ambitious and still offers promise for the future. Yet, the government can only provide 40% of the necessary funding and it will require continued support from international partners to implement. Implementation, thus far, has been very slow. According to Mr. Lumarque, the delayed implementation of the Operational Plan points to the disconnect between planning and action. He described a sort of “magical thinking” all too common in Haiti in which word and deed are assumed to be one and the same, and plans are never realized. To this end, he emphasized the importance of information systems to guide action, inform the allocation of resources, and measure impact. In closing, he underscored the importance of schools being places that instill in Haiti’s youth the values of citizenship, moral integrity, environmental awareness, and the knowledge and will to solve the country’s deepest challenges. Sergot Jacob, Special Advisor to the Haitian Minister of Education and Vocational Training Mr. Jacob began by thanking the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Notre Dame for hosting the Roundtable. In his remarks he noted that because many large-scale efforts to reform Haitian education did not make much Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education

Sergot Jacob, Haitian Ministry of Education and Vocational Training

progress and many have failed, in the last few years the guiding principle the government is aiming for is ”thinking from scratch” with Haitian leadership coming to the fore to rebuild and develop the educational system for a brighter future. A rich process of dialogue between Haitian civil society and government has led to the current Operational Plan, which is a comprehensive vision for renewing Haiti’s educational system. He reminded participants that the earthquake struck at a particularly unfortunate time, when the country was still dealing with the aftermath of a devastating series of hurricanes and tropical storms. The Haitian government’s overarching goals are not just to provide more education, but to provide education that is affordable, of quality, and accessible to the population irrespective of gender, income, or location. He laid great emphasis on the fact that education must not just be about attending school, but on the mastering of a common set of skills. Mr. Jacob indicated that of the $4.3 billion required to implement the Operational Plan for Haitian education between 2010 and 2015, 41% has already been identified. However, the key challenge is that only 10% of the desired progress has been made to date and the pace of change and implementation urgently needs to be intensified. Still, he optimistically pointed to recent accomplishments, including a major effort for homeless children and the provision of educational services for 1,000 street children in Port-au-Prince. Mr. Jacob opined that one of the key remaining issues is to align top priorities. He concluded by emphasizing that the government remains firmly committed to improving the efficacy of foreign aid.

Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education

Sergot Jacob. tHaitian Ministry of Education and Vocational Training with Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, from the Inter-American Development Bank, stated that the Bank remains committed to supporting development and rebuilding efforts in Haiti. She stressed the long-term commitment of the Bank, which has pledged $2 billion in funding to Haiti over the next 10 years. The Bank has specifically committed to providing or raising an investment of $500 million for Haitian education from 2010 to 2015. Ms. Rieble-Aubourg suggested implementation difficulties represent the primary challenge for realizing many of the Bank and government’s shared goals. She observed that limited staff capacity within various government ministries is a key constraint. Given the IDB’s significant investment in school infrastructure, she was concerned about the poor standards of current school facilities and reconstruction efforts since the earthquake. She acknowledged that the Bank itself also has capacity constraints, a factor that influences the efficiency of government and international donor relations. Ms. Rieble-Aubourg suggested that the Operational Plan for developing and rebuilding Haiti’s educational system is very ambitious and comprehensive. Though the objectives are clear, the “how-to” of prioritizing goals, articulating strategy, and enlisting technical sup3

port are lacking in the plans. Despite these limitations, she suggested that significant progress had been made at the recent meeting hosted by the IDB in February 2013, where Haitian government leaders and international donors discussed priorities, means of improving implementation, and efforts to enhance coordination and efficiency between government and international partners. In conclusion, Ms. Rieble-Aubourg expressed a personal opinion that donor coordination is not as lacking as others had suggested, and that significant progress had been made to improve coordination and efficiency between the public donors and the Haitian government. She was optimistic that significant progress could be made in improving Haitian educational outcomes on several fronts: facilitating broader access across social class; boosting quality through improvements to curricula and teacher training; and increasing resources and the capacity of personnel. Questions for the Panelists Following the experts’ context-setting remarks, Roundtable participants queried Mr. Lumarque, Mr. Jacob, and Ms. Rieble-Aubourg about a new source of tax revenue on telephone calls coming into Haiti, to which the response was that this program is currently being examined by parliament before designated funds can be expended. With regard to quality, the leaders addressed the need to revamp the country’s school accreditation process and how to use tuition as an incentive to improve quality within the system. Breakout Discussions at Each Table To benefit from the collective knowledge in the room, the conveners asked participants to work in teams and grapple with the following questions after the first panel: Q. What can civil society and private philanthropy do to support educational efforts? Participants’ answers were varied but the key insights were: 1


Identify relevant Haitian partners and listen respectfully to their input from the beginning of any collaboration,

TJ D’Agostino, University of Notre Dame, and Lesha Greene, Open Society Foundation, engage in a discussion with Sabine Rieble-Aubourg from the Inter-American Development Bank.


Focus on long-term capacity-building efforts, and


Support the development of a curriculum contextualized for Haiti with an emphasis on civics and citizenship.

Leaders added that valuable lessons could be learned from models in other developing nations such as BRAC in Bangladesh in which 50% of Bangladeshi students are enrolled and BRIDGE in Kenya where costs are kept low and a well-developed curriculum is made available via tablets to help deliver quality education at lower costs with impressive scalability. Q. What are the bright spots in Haiti? Particular reference was made to the strengthening of governance. An example was cited whereby the Central Bank of Haiti had provided scholarships for English language training and international study to staff members to increase their skills, in return for committed years of service and gradual repayment. The Presidential Task Force for Education was singled out as a positive development for engaging civil society in dialogue with the government and leading to authentic Haitian leadership to provide direction to international partners. Finally, emphasis was placed on the importance of local community engagement in projects at both the strategic and implementation levels, with a move away from the long-existing centralized and “top-down” model. Key Insights, Consensus, and Main Topics for Further Discussion

Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education

In her summation of the first session, co-facilitator Marie St. Fleur led the group in thinking about how to practically apply the learning from past mistakes. Above all, she reiterated the pressing need for organizations to not just plan for planning’s sake, but to pay much more attention to careful implementation. She argued for a sense of urgency around speeding up the process for education reform. Every uneducated generation of children, she lamented, is a lost opportunity, not only for those children, but also for the nation as a whole.

formal schooling process.

Room Charged with Energy

the haitian catholic education initiative

Steve Perla, ACE Consulting, Marie St. Fleur, City of Boston; Alix Cantave, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and Martha Loerke, Open Society Foundation


Topic 2: Education Renewal: The Role of the Catholic Education System in Helping to Catalyze Transformation Jim McHale led the next discussion on the role of the Catholic education system with an overview of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s philanthropic philosophy. He spoke about the importance of a “whole child” approach to education, which recognizes that poverty and hunger can significantly affect students’ abilities to learn. He also highlighted the centrality of the parents’ role as the first educators, both before and during the Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is working to improve the Haitian education system through scalable interventions in targeted micro-regions throughout the country McHale framed education as vital to Haiti’s development. Core to the Foundation’s giving principles is the notion that people and communities are capable of solving their own problems. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s approach is to work alongside other organizations and individuals to make a lasting difference.

Alix Cantave, program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Latin American and the Caribbean division shared the Foundation’s country strategy for Haiti and explained that HCEI complemented the foundation’s country strategy. TJ D’Agostino and Kate Schuenke-Lucien, associate directors of the University of Notre Dame’s ACE Consulting division, along with Fr. Michel Eugene, CSC, representing the Haitian Congregation of Holy Cross, followed Alix and provided an overview of the Haitian Catholic Education Initiative. This initiative is a true collaborative effort with local Haitian partners both in its design and implementation. The Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education (CEEC), the Congregation of Holy Cross, and Catholic Relief Services each have played critical roles in establishing the initiative’s priorities, and strategies, and are rolling out components based on their respective core competencies Launched in 2012, the HCEI is a comprehensive effort designed to transform the Haitian Catholic school system aimed at markedly improving educational quality. The initiative is pursuing long-term, systemic change in Haiti through: 1

System-wide teacher training at both the primary and secondary levels;


Strengthened school governance capacity and effectiveness; and


Increased community ownership of and participation in local schools.

HCEI key activities include: 1

Training up to 800 primary school teachers in 200 schools over a three-year period, resulting in 5

teacher certification for all participating primary school teachers. 2

Training up to 200 school teachers in up to 10 secondary schools through a robust, two-year professional development program for in-service secondary school teachers administered by the Haitian Congregation of Holy Cross through their Institute Superior Marcel Bedard (ISMB). Founded in August 2012, in partnership with the University of Notre Dame, the ISMB is entirely staffed by qualified Haitian professionals. The ISMB accepted its first cohort of 35 students in August 2012.

nalized poverty, which he contends allows mediocrity to be accepted and robs individuals of the power to assert themselves or cultivate a better future. He expressed his enthusiasm about the possibilities ahead and stressed that Holy Cross was ready and eager for long-term partnership with all the other parties in the room. Final Reflections

The program requires more than 300 hours of instruction over two years, on par with international standards for teacher licensure. The ISMB uses an innovative teacher coaching program and technology-based distance education program. Focused on results, HCEI is also working to implement participatory governance structures at the school and regional levels to improve student and community participation in Catholic schools. The goal is to raise the proportion of Catholic schools with boards and parent associations from 30% to near universal coverage.

Following the HCEI overview, Fr.Eugene, CSC, described his vision for the future focusing on the role education can play in disentangling the roots of inter6

teachers locally on-site.


There was also an emphasis throughout the discussions on the challenge of motivating and training teachers because teaching in Haiti is often seen as a stopgap when other more lucrative professions are unavailable. The idea of incentivizing teachers through the provision of housing was discussed. The discussion recognized sustainability challenges of raising teacher salaries, but noted that certain quality of life incentives could be explored further as a means of retaining talent in teaching. Another proposed idea was recruiting members of the Haitian Diaspora—possibly bringing them back to be mentors and master teachers.

In the spirit of an honest willingness to acknowledge— and thereby overcome—difficulties, roundtable facilitators drew attention to the some of the key tensions that needed to be consciously addressed by organizations working to focus on education transformation in Haiti: 1

Tapping into international philanthropy and the Haitian Diaspora while effectively respecting and boosting local leadership, respecting local decision-making, and building local capacity.


The delicate balancing act of addressing major existing needs while prompting innovation and scaling the most promising forward-looking solutions.

providing system-wide coherence Jim McHale, Kellogg Foundation and Fr. Tim Scully, CSC, University of Notre Dame

Jim McHale and Fr. Tim Scully, CSC reflected on the key takeaways of the day’s discussions, pulling together the key points from the diverse strands of the Roundtable discussions. Mr. McHale emphasized the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s long-term commitment to the task of ensuring children’s well being in Haiti and supporting comprehensive efforts aimed at improving Haiti’s education system.

Fr. Michel Eugene, CSC, Province of our Lady of Perpetual Help, Haiti and Fr. Tim Scully, CSC, University of Notre Dame

Leadership Roundtable Key Insights

Fr. Scully drew upon his personal experience, sharing an anecdote about an evening about four days after the earthquake, when there was still no power and a team of Notre Dame and Holy Cross recovery workers were taking a moment to rest and recuperate after the day’s labors. Fr. Scully commented on the spirit of hope and tenacity that he had witnessed during this most trying time in Haiti. His Haitian hosts wryly acknowledged that “Hope is what we live with. It’s what we face every day with… it’s the only thing that sustains us.” This heartfelt comment especially moved Fr. Scully, and, addressing the assembled group, he recognized that far from being recipients of charity, the Haitian people would certainly be the key protagonists in the rebuilding of Haiti’s education system.

Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education

Participants noted that the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education could be an especially effective means for scaling quality interventions in the largest segment of the Haitian educational system. Participants suggested that perhaps certain dioceses with better staff capacity, funding, and sophistication regarding data use could help other dioceses which are lacking in those resources and skills. In some instances, larger, wealthier Catholic schools are already setting up smaller schools to help poorer children; in particular those children who are forced to work as “restaveks,” indentured domestic servants. Overall, such collaborations at the Diocesan level could create unity and facilitate sharing of best practices throughout the educational system. training, supporting and retaining teachers Two key issues mentioned by various roundtable members were the proper training of teachers and the use of information systems such as TIMS (Teacher Information Management System) and PERMS (Professional Educator Records Management System). The use of information systems is being investigated by the IDB along with the Ministry of Education. In addition, the discussion covered how to deliver training to teachers already in service, perhaps during courses delivered over the summer and during holidays, as well as monitoring Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education

HOW CAN CATHOLIC EDUCATION PROVIDE MAXIMUM BENEFIT TO THE SYSTEM? This wide-ranging question was met with a very lively and engaged discussion. The following were some of the ideas raised by the various tables in the room: 1

Considering the community as an integral part of the process


Recording what works and what doesn’t, and transmitting this information to key players. On this note Sergot Jacob mentioned the new task force that will aim to have ministry inspectors highlighting model schools for recognition and replication.


Symposia and conventions in Haiti could be used to share information and successes, as well as best practices across the country. Fr. Scully emphasized that excellence in teacher training is especially effective and could have an extensive multiplier effect throughout the system. Furthermore, Jackie Lumarque suggested that the Inter-University Consortium of Haitian Education could be of particular use.

Alix Cantave placed great importance on building the best—that the goal should not be “to build a school for poor children” but the best school that could possibly be built. Moreover, he echoed other participants in stressing how vital it is that a school be a core part of a community—both integrating the school into the community and integrating the community into the school. The school, after all, can (and should) be a means to improve the community.


government’s responsibility for growing an effective tax base that would fund education improvements on an ongoing basis. All saw the need for collaboration on three different levels; namely between private bodies, the Haitian government, and the Diaspora. Kate Hovde of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania stated that private funding could play a particularly valuable role, not by replacing government efforts but by trying approaches that could then be replicated by the government. She felt that a great deal could be learned by studying other Diaspora organizations, such as those active in supporting development initiatives in India. Elementary school boys studying at St. Louis Catholic School in Jeremie, Haiti.

Although not the only factor, once again the group highlighted the need to make education affordable in a country where many families make $2 a day. SPECIFIC POINTS FOR INVESTIGATION AND ISSUES THAT WILL GUIDE FOLLOW-UP At this stage of the proceedings, the participants were visibly excited about the progress that could be made, and eager to discuss how the valuable insights of the day could be turned into an enduring reality.

Alix Cantave acknowledged these contributions and ventured that there were specific issues key to success in Haiti: 1

Overcoming the tendency toward centralization


Making sure the mission is not subject to constantly changing shifts in political power


Maintaining complete transparency and trust

The consensus at the close of the discussion was one of hope and enthusiasm for what could be accomplished in Haitian education in the short and long term. The group shared a profound sense of accomplishment that a one-day roundtable had both contextualized the situation and outlined directions for future action.

Alix Cantave emphasized how important it was that the process of improving education in Haiti continue for generations to come, because the vital process of education has the potential to be an equalizer in society. He raised the idea of creating a Haitian Education Fund whose endowment could continue helping thousands and thousands of students after all those present in the room at the moment were long gone.

The leadership of both the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the University of Notre Dame expressed a commitment to following up from the day’s meeting, to disseminate these ideas in the form of a report to interested stakeholders, and to follow up with the participants as next steps were elaborated.

Karen Procter enthusiastically responded, highlighting the need to retain local control while generating funds internationally. Soon the discussion turned to the specifics of setting up such a fund, where it should be based, its possible transnational structure, and other key considerations, including a body that would operate in Haiti but be recognized in the US. The discussion noted the importance of ensuring that rural parents would be heard and have their needs considered.

Final Words and Blessing

Of course, all present acknowledged the challenges that would lie ahead with setting up such a fund, as well as the need to ensure the fund did not preclude the 8

Bishop Joseph Decoste of Jeremie, Haiti, was called upon to say a prayer in closing. With a smile, he asked the audience if he could be permitted to close the session in God’s language, which, to much merriment from the audience, he explained (in case anyone there didn’t know!) was Haitian Creole. His Grace emphasized his particular gratitude to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Notre Dame for making the event possible and for all their dedicated work on behalf of education in Haiti.

Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education

Leadership Roundtable on the Future of Haitian Education  
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