Civic Education: A Must For A Better Haiti

Students at the Istitution Saint-Louis de Gonzague, on June 29, 2010, thousands of displaced earthquake victims are living on the school grounds while students continue to take classes in tents. Here elementary school students studying their vocabulary. Left to right are Elysee Pasquy Anderson, 10; Antoine Marco, 9; and Josiuf Dave, 9. AL DIAZ / THE MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Here elementary school students [at the Institution Saint-Louis de Gonzague] on June 29, 2010 studying their vocabulary. From left to right: Elysee Pasquy Anderson, 10; Antoine Marco, 9; and Josiuf Dave, 9. AL DIAZ / THE MIAMI HERALD STAFF

When I was at Cyr-Guillo [commonly called Ecole des Freres des Gonaives] for my primary, elementary and junior high school education, because the school knew they were preparing young kids to become responsible citizens of tomorrow, the curriculum was shaped to reflect that vision.

After spending 7 years in that institution, upon graduation to move on to high school,  we could proudly look at ourselves and say that we are prepared for life on every front because the foundation upon which the house of life is to be mounted or erected is strongly engineered.

In the curriculum, there was this course called Civic Education -a required core class we had to take for 2 years or so -conceived to teach us students how to love our country unconditionally, respect and love each other as brothers, be good law-abiding citizens by respecting established authority, the law of the land, etc.

I do strongly believe that Ecole des Freres des Gonaives was not the only institution in the country then to have instituted Civic Education in their curriculum; other schools had followed the same Education Department guidelines.

Unfortunately, at my great astonishment, some genius who took over the Education Ministry had removed Civic Education from the curriculum. I know you may be asking the same question everyone with some sense is asking: “why is that?” Well, that’s beyond my pray grade. I am just as dumbfounded as you are.

What a brilliant decision that was! No wonder we have today all this nonsense going on in our society.

Today, these young Haitian kids are growing up with no foundation in civic education. And we are acting so surprised to see the results of our recklessness and irresponsibility -delinquency, child prostitution, the zokiki phenomenon, disrespect for established authority and the law, the list goes on and on and on.

Why acting so surprised? We should have expected these results to emerge some day. That’s what happens when leaders fail their citizens -you have a chaotic and dysfunctional society because the young citizens have grown to become chaotic and dysfunctional citizens.

I heard a while ago that Mr. Varnneur Pierre, the head of our Education Ministry, was bringing back Civic Education in the classroom, I don’t know if he has ever delivered on his promise.  But I pray the Martelly administration could make a difference in the right. The teaching of civic education to our kids is a must. Making the right investment in the education of our kids of today is the only hope we have for a better, secure and sustainable tomorrow.

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