WE NEED TO ELIMINATE PUBLIC EDUCATION IN HAITI

This is a public policy matter, and I do expect many to disagree with me. Public education in Haiti needs a total reshuffling; it must be incorporated in a comprehensive plan to reform our economy. We cannot be talking about reforming the economy if we do not address the problems with our education.

We need a new system of education to prepare our kids to compete for the jobs of tomorrow at home and abroad.

Public education is a total failure in Haiti, and things will not get better if we do not change course. We need to take government out of the business of educating our kids and let the private sector take over.

Is Haiti a socialist or a capitalist state? Maybe we need to be clear on the type of economic system we have and the type we really need for Haiti. I am a big proponent of capitalism, for it does make sense to me. Maybe that’s what we need for Haiti. Right now, whether you want to agree with me or not, we have a socialist state; government controls almost everything.  

Before we get further in this, let’s take a moment to explain what the job of government should be in a capitalistic economy.

The role of government in a capitalistic economy is NOT to create jobs and compete against the private sector. It is, rather, to enact policies that would encourage private sector jobs. It should work to strengthen the private sector, and the two must work hand in hand to get things to work for the betterment of our society. So needless to say, we need a strong private sector.

In Haiti, government is the biggest competitor we have in the market, preventing the economy from expanding because it stalls competition. It should not be this way. Government is not to compete against the private sector. It is to set the path for the private sector to walk on.
 
I propose the elimination of all the public schools or state-funded institutions of learning and let the private sector take over them. As we have them right now, they are ineffective and represent a symbol of failure because of a lack of competition within the sector of government. We need to get rid of that.

Government should not be in the business of opening schools. It needs to allow the economically disfavored students to attend private schools or the school of their choosing by making grants and scholarships available to them. Doing so will create a market of schools for them to choose from. Giving them the ability to choose the school of their liking will empower them, and that will fuel the competition needed to get the system to work.

If competition is the engine that gets the economy to move, choice is the ignition that gets it to crank up. When government gets in the game, competition is stalled; the economy automatically stops expanding. On the other hand, when you have the players in the private sector competing against one another, it is good for competition in that it results in quality production or quality education for the students. In such a competitive climate, only the best schools will stand. The subpar or mediocre ones will have to close their doors because they won’t be able to sustain the competitive wave. That’s the phenomenon of the “invisible hand” Adam Smith, the Father of Capitalism, talked about in his masterpiece entitled An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.    

In conclusion, we need to revamp the system of education in Haiti by allowing the private sector to assume its total control. The government should not be in the business of opening and managing schools. It should be there to subvention the economically disadvantaged students by providing them with grants and scholarships to attend the school of their choosing. Such a strategy will automatically fuel competition within the system, which, in turn, will produce the best educated kids to contribute in the economic and social development of their society.

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9 comments on “WE NEED TO ELIMINATE PUBLIC EDUCATION IN HAITI

  1. It looks like storms and disease will eliminate schools and much of the surviving population of Haiti. I believe conditions in the country are now more critical than they were after the earthquake. Haiti is a country starting over with nothing, much like industrail nations were in the 1700’s. Education should concentrate on basic trades to rebuild the country. Even in America education is not preparing students to compete in a 21st century economy. Conditions today will not allow Haiti to compete in a modern world. Rebuilding the country to at least 20th century conditions with basic safe housing, renewable fuel (not trees)electricity,clean water, sewer treatment, agriculture. Workers educated and trained to weld, farm, build, handle cement and heavy equipment would be a start. With thousands of trained construction workers in America, many could be brought in to teach. Haiti can survive and thrive with opportunities provided by basic education.

  2. I disagree Emann. We don’t need to eliminate public education in Haiti, we actually need to create more public schools and re-vamp the public education system to make sure that they are aptly educating Haiti’s youth. Quality public schools (like back when the Lycees were some of the better schools in the country) would guarantee that all of Haiti’s youth have an education and would minimize the separation between those who received a private vs public education (in other words, the poor children would have a chance instead of this huge gap that always exists btwn the classes).

    Having the private sector assume total control is not the answer. Rather that would result in even more favoritism and subjectiveness to those admitted. Furthermore, there needs to be a financial echelon where regardless of family income, children can attend school, which is why public schools are needed.

    It is not the system of having public schools that is the problem but rather how they are run.

  3. You do realize that the vast majority of schools operating in Haiti right now are run by the private sector, right? Does it seem like that system is working?

    • First, let me commend you for the question, Nadeve. In fact, I was expecting someone to ask me that question. And I am glad that someone is you. I thought my good friend SM was going to ask me the question, but too bad she got beaten by you on that. lol

      Indeed, we have quite an imposing private sector investing in our education, yet the situation has not changed. In fact, it is moving from bad to worse. Ask yourself this question: why do we have so many subpar or mediocre schools in the private sector?

      The answer to the question is simple. It is because there is a demand for them. Why is it that in spite of their mediocre performance, kids are still frequenting them? Well, kids are still frequenting them in spite of their subparness because a) they are cheap for the most part and b) the parents of these students do not have the financial easiness to send their kids to better or high performing schools. Now, what do I propose to solve this problem?

      To fix this problem, I propose that:

      1. The government stay away from the business of investing in opening and managing schools.

      2. The government make funds available to assist the economically disfavored students to attend the school of their choosing.

      How would such proposal change the system for the better?

      Sometimes, the economically disfavored student has potential to excel; because their parents’ financial situation does not allow them to attend a top school, they end up in a low performing one. But in reality, had they received financial aid from the government to attend any school of their CHOICE, no way they would have chosen a low performing school to attend. So eventually these mediocre schools, when no students are frequenting them, they will be drawn out of business.

      That’s how competition would eat up the low performing schools. At the end of the day, only the best schools, the ones that can keep up with the toughness of the competitive market, would stand.

      With this proposal, the return on the government’s investment would be greater for two reasons:

      1. The government would not have to absorb the cost of opening, operating, maintain and managing these schools anymore.

      2. The money that was going to be allocated initially to operate, maintain and manage these schools could be used to provide financial aid to the financially struggling kids to help them attend any school of their choice so long as they meet the academic requirements.

      • Basically, what you are proposing is that the Haitian government take its money (of which it has very little) and give it to people to spend on whatever schools they want and over which it has no oversight and control. That does not make any sense to me. The government needs to build and invest in its own schools. That is the only was to get rid of the lekol bolet phenomenon. And it is the only way to ensure that all Haitian students have a decent education.

  4. Truly E, you have to really look at the situation in Haiti as it is now (not years b4 when u or your parents were raised there) and how most cannot afford food, let alone education. This is just an excuse to let the bad govn’t off the hook. They need to reform public schooling so that it’s effective and available to all Haitian children. C’est tout.

    • As I said early, when government gets on the way of the players in the private sector, bureaucracy comes to life, stalling competition -a necessary element for quality goods and services.

      We need competition in the market, which cannot be found in the sector of government. If competition is absent, excellence in performance will be just a wish.

  5. Eman,I would like to suggest you to revise some notions in Economy.You have to understand the way economics work,master certain concepts.On what planet are you living?Even The US,the bastion of the savage Capitalism,wouldn’t go so far as you imagine it.You have to understand how Haitian society operates.My Country is already an apartheid mess.Your medication would accentuate the break and kill any hope for the poor.
    Can you understand that a peddler working hard to fulfill his dream by sending his boy at Saint-Louis de Gonzague School’s school.A middle-class element said to the director of this institution to raise the fee,so that his son will not have this “have not”as friend.Other thing you miss in the picture is the weight of the International community.The haitian Government is too weak to apply your medication.
    Your proposition is not different from the Tea party or Ron Paul.
    Good nite.

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