Tag Archives: education news

HAITI – Creole, Literacy, and Education

The question as to which language or languages to use in educating the children of Haiti and in adult literacy programs, which are organized by both government and voluntary organizations in Haiti, has generated a lot of debate among educationists and the Haitian public at large. Two languages are spoken in Haiti, Creole and French. Creole is the most universally spoken language in Haiti, accounting for over ninety percent of native monolingual speakers; whereas French language has for the past two centuries enjoyed the pride of place as the country’s sole medium of official government and business transactions as well as the language of education. To understand the position of the various parties to this debate, we have to go back to the evolution of language and education in Haiti since its independence from France on January 1, 1804.

Post Independence Haiti Haiti transformed itself from a slave colony of France to a full fledged self-governing and independent entity through sustained armed struggle and war between the French slave owners and their enslaved African fellow human beings. The revolutionary war was long, bitter, but sustained by the grim determination of the enslaved Africans to break the yoke of French enslavement from their necks or otherwise die in the attempt. When the white French were finally expelled from Haiti, their language remained as the means of official communication in all government and business transactions. The place of preeminence and influence vacated by the departing French was taken over by their mulatto offspring, who then occupied the elite upper class of the emergent Haitian society.

The unique position of the half-French and half-African mulattoes, as heirs to their departing French fathers, gave them the economic and political clout to call the shots in all aspects of Haitian public and educational life. This they did by entrenching the continued use of the French language in all official government business, as well as making French the only language of educational instruction. The vast majority of Haitians could neither speak nor write in French. This majority was consisted mostly of the Afro-Haitians, who were uneducated, and thus could not in any way contributed to the national discourse; whereas they constituted over ninety percent of the total Haitian population. The Afro-Haitians spoke only Creole, which until recently, was not recognized as an official language in Haiti.

Modern Haiti The situation of things continued like this for over a hundred years. The little progress made by a rather small number of Afro-Haitians who became educated did not have any effect on the dominant status and position of French language in Haitian national affairs. Instead, by what would amount to a rather ironic twist of events, these Afro-Haitians having moved up from their lowly status in the rural peasantry, through urban low class, to the urban middle class, were more interested in entrenching their positions, rather changing things for better for their fellow marginalized brothers and sisters in the lower classes of Haitian society.

These middle class Afro-Haitians behaved like typical status seeking social climbers, who believed that the French language was their passport to further their upward movement in Haitian society. Hence they teamed up with Haitian mulattoes in the elite upper class to frustrate any attempt at changing the status quo. To complicate issues further for the promotion of Creole into a national language, and a medium of instruction in schools, some members of the peasant class felt that it was better for their children to be taught in French, so that they could escape the poverty trap of Haitian rural peasantry. Even those past Haitian governments that claimed to represent the interests of the masses have hesitated to give Creole and French equal legal status, in order not to step on powerful toes of elite mulattoes in the upper class.

Creole language thus remained an informal medium of communication for over a hundred and seventy years. It was only in the late 1970s that the government gave approval for the use of Creole in education. Implementation of government approval was not wholeheartedly carried out. As late as the 1980s, there was still some doubt about whether Creole should be used in primary schools. In 1987, a major break through came with the inclusion of Creole in the Haitian National Constitution, as a co-national language of Haiti along with French. The door was now open for integration of the more popular Creole language into the school educational system.

However, a lot still needs to be done by both government and non-governmental organizations to really take Creole language into its rightful place as the authentic national language of Haiti. As a first and urgent step, the standardization of Creole orthography should be pursued with vigor by linguists in academia and all those interested in its progress, beyond a mere glorified appendage to French. The National Pedagogic Institute (Institut Pédagogique Nacional–IPN) has taken the initiative by developing an orthography of Creole language that includes elements of the two systems previously in use. In the areas of popular literature, books and magazines need to be produced in Creole at a faster rate than is available at the moment. The print and electronic media have taken tentative steps to popularize Creole literature, but much more needs to be done.

The government of Haiti needs to take the implementation of the relevant portions of the 1987 Haitian National Constitution more seriously. All aspects of the national life of Haiti need to feel the presence of Creole language, as a medium of official transactions. Much work needs to be done urgently in curriculum development at all levels of Haiti’s education, using Creole as a medium of such development. Similarly, adult literacy programs should be established to upgrade the literacy level of Haitian rural peasant and urban lower classes. It is noteworthy that some church groups have taken the bull by the horn, by publishing some religious literature in Creole language. The popular monthly Bon Nouvel, published by a Roman Catholic group, is one such publication. The New Testament half of The Holy Bible has also been published in Creole through the efforts a group of Protestant churches.

"Success" and Education

“The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.” – Newston D. Baker

The prospect of success is what drives many people to continue their education. Whether this success means the expansion of their person, the opening of their mind to possibilities, the sharpening of their skill set, building marketability, or a pay raise – higher education is considered by most to be a very valuable asset. The implications are many: you have dedicated a portion of your life to studying a particular subject, and so have gained specialized knowledge and skills; you most likely have incurred some debt; and somehow, you are now supposed to be prepared to take on the world. But are the students of today prepared for life? Are they ready and equipped with what they need to be successful?

Everyone has an idea of what “success” means. And the general idea probably looks pretty similar for most – someone doing well overall; emotionally, financially, and spiritually. They probably have a good job, a good head on their shoulders, money in their pocket, and a good future ahead of them. They are moving along in their life, and they appear happy and fulfilled.

Although up front this dream may appear rather simple, figuring out the specifics, or one’s own path to reaching such success, is the real challenge. What decisions must be made so that one can have a successful life? Does education today prepare students to answer these difficult life questions?

Education blogger Tom Whitby touches on the lack of focus in K-12 schools on critical and out-of-the box thinking in this era of standardizing testing. “We talk about personalized learning for each student… We recognize that all kids are created differently. Even in consideration of all that, we standardize their assessment… We are not matching up the skills that our children will need in a future that we know little about to the education we provide today. Yet, we still claim to be preparing kids for life.”

“We cannot continue on the current path of education if we want to prepare our children for their future,” he declares. “Our children will not live in the world that we grew up in. We need to prepare them to be flexible, critical thinking, problem solvers. They need to be able to get beyond the limitations of their teachers and parents.”

In Alain de Botton’s TED talk “A kinder, gentler philosophy of success,” Botton points out that our ideas of success are often greatly influenced by society, by ads, and by our parents, and that we are highly susceptible to suggestion. We are also, Botton says, very worried about what others think of us.

“When we think about failing in life, when we think about failure, one of the reasons why we fear failing is not just a loss of income, a loss of status. What we fear is the judgment and ridicule of others. And it exists,” Botton said.

Botton suggests that we take care to ensure that our ambitions are our own, and that we recognize that “success” cannot exist without “failure.”

A paradox in our society, Botton continued, is the simultaneous existence of both the belief that we are all equal – that anyone can achieve anything – and low self-esteem. Suicide rates, he explains, are higher in the developed countries than anywhere else in the world. “[S]ome of the reason for that is that people take what happens to them extremely personally. They own their success. But they also own their failure,” he said. Our society, furthermore, and now more then ever before, attributes success to one’s own work ethic, ability, and determination; we believe that people deserve the lives they have, because we are all supposed to be in the driving seat.

In other words, we are supposed to have all that we need to succeed. However, disparities, gaps, influences, and circumstance, all exist and perpetuate inequalities within our society, and the individual is not always in control. We are not all on an equal playing field, either; we do not all have equal opportunities. This is not an excuse, but something that deserves consideration and care. America will continue to work towards the dream of a meritocratic society, but this dream is impossible to fully realize.

“The idea that we will make a society where literally everybody is graded, the good at the top, and the bad at the bottom, and it’s exactly done as it should be, is impossible,” Botton said.

It has been said that education is the great equalizer. And I believe that education can change the world, and our future is dependent on the youth and the quality of their education. Education can help people find their success because it can open their minds to the world and to their own potential so that they can have the opportunity to choose their way. But what can we do from here?

Continue to grow. Continue to move. Know that moving and growing is the only way. Not look back. Be bold. Instruction may end in the school-room, as Frederick W. Robertson said, but “education ends only with life.” And John Dewey concurs: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself,” he said. If these things are true, then success is not immediate, nor something that can immediately follow formal education either, but can be found only in the outcome of the entirety of our lives and the completion of our journeys. Education is a form of success on its own, and leads to more successes, but only if we choose to own our own person and lives, and accept our “successes” and “failures.” “You can’t be successful at everything,” Botton said. “You can’t have it all… [A]ny vision of success has to admit what it’s losing out on, where the element of loss is.”

School can’t prepare someone for all that will come, or give them direct answers for what choices they should make. Formal education is only a beginning. We don’t always know where we are going, and we can never know all that lies ahead of us, but we must continue moving forward and becoming the people we want to be. The paths will unfold as we face the challenges and are open to what may come. And if we get through all of that, we will have succeeded – in living.

Facts About Online News

It has created a lot of opportunities for the newspapers to provide breaking news more timely. In this way they can compete with the broadcast journalism. Online newspapers are also cost effective compared to the printed-newspapers. Online newspapers follow the same legal regulations of the printed-newspapers. Online publications are known to reap larger rewards than the printed publications. It can draw larger traffics compared to the printed publications.

Many news reporters are taught to shoot videos and to write news stories that can be published in the online publication also. In many journalism institutions students are being taught about the online publications and online newspapers along with the printed newspapers. Some newspapers have already integrated the internet into each and every aspect of their operations. The classified advertisements are now also being published in both the printed newspapers as well as online newspapers. In today’s scenario it would be difficult to find a newspaper company without a website. With the declining profit margins from the printed newspapers they have explored every corner to get higher profit margins from the websites. Most of the online news-papers do not charge any subscription fee. Some of the news-papers have come with a new version of newspapers that is called E-paper. These E-papers are regarded as the digital replicas of the printed news-papers.

There are also some newspaper companies who provide only the online version of the news-paper. They don’t have any connection with the printed newspapers. These news-papers are recognized by many media groups which makes them different from blog sites. Some of the leading news-papers company which has been operational in printed media for over 100 years have been stopped their printed newspapers and are running on only online news-papers. There are newspapers companies who have only online news-papers but also provide limited publishing or hard copies. These news-papers are called hybrid news-papers. Recent development in electronic news-papers may force some of the newspapers companies to supplement electronic papers too.

Today, you will also come across online news portals that will deliver exam news and short news on the most significant happenings in the country or the world.