A petition to Sustaining the Reconstruction of an Educational and Research System in Haiti

The mobilization of the community of the teachers, the academics and the researchers is extraordinarily important, it is the reason for which we ask you to sign (or resign) directly on-line this petition.

We thank you for your commitment.

The researchers of the CIRESC, Tubman Institute, MCRI.

All of our thoughts are at the moment turned toward Haiti, a country where we have roots and friends, a society with which we work - through research programs carried out with Haitian teachers and researchers, our own teaching there, or the students that we train - a country also that we study for its contribution to the history of Humanity and of Freedom. We extend our since condolences to each and every Haitian, and we would like, specifically, to address our deepest sympathies to our colleagues and students of the schools and universities ruined by the earthquake.

The magnitude of the disaster is shocking, but beyond immediate emergencies, we must already think of the future and undertake the reconstruction of a system of education and research as a sign of a better future... if it is well organized. The "earthquake of disengagement" that Haiti has known in the past should invite us to take the dramatic rupture, fatal to so many Haitians, as a signal of the necessary changes that must be brought to bear upon that country, especially in terms of how Haiti is represented and implications for the concept of international solidarity, both being interconnected. There is neither irreversible "fatality" nor a "curse" in the destruction of the major part of the educational infrastructure, but, instead, highlights the effect of the rural exodus and establishment of precarious zones of habitation. What we have witnessed is not "insecurity" and "disorder" but dignity and resilience in the midst of crumbling buildings of the Ecole Normale Superieure
and in the demand for resumption of classes that Haitian correspondents send via the incredible mobilisation of our international research networks through the Internet. The keys of Haiti are not being handed to foreigners as stated by the Président of Haiti, René Préval, even though solidarity is sought from the international community.

Gérard Barthélémy, an anthropologist recently deceased, never stopped reminding us that bad development in Haiti was inversely proportional to the international aid provided the country. We must, without doubt, remind ourselves of this with respect to education. Reconstructing the education network through dispersed initiatives launched by nations, organizations, or individuals must be avoided. Under the aegis of responsible Haitians, a global scheme integrating primary schools, technical (agricultural and artisanal) and university education, and training of teachers must be enhanced. In relation to the forthcoming conference in Montréal this coming January 25th, we ask each of our governments, to support the organization of an international plan that would bring synergy to all initiatives aimed at the system of education and research in Haiti, which is essential to the cultural and intellectual vitality of the country and a guarantee of its survival.

Without waiting for future decisions, we insist on the necessity of sustaining Haitian researchers and students. We call for resources to support teachers and students through scholarships and bursaries that can be implemented as soon as possible. We also call for the establishment of "Haitian Chairs" for professors and teachers and the creation of training stations for education. We need to implement flexible visa and other requirements. Our honor as teachers and researchers in the international community is at stake.

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