The Importance of an Education in Haiti
I have yet to meet a Haitian that doesn't think school is important. School is a top priority among Haitian parents and families. No matter how poor or wealthy, everyone values education in Haiti. Despite what you may read or hear in the news, the majority of Haitian children go to school. Parents will do everything that they can to make sure their child gets an education no matter what. Their determination is one of those things that fascinates me most about the Haitian culture.
Just like we do in the United States, parents and students in Haiti prepare to go back to school in the same ways as us. Because I've never attended school in Haiti, I can't express my experiences on that. So, I asked a friend of mine, Fedno Lubin, who is a student in Jacmel, Haiti. Fedno is also a photographer who I hire occasionally to capture The Real Haiti. *All photos on this post are by Fedno Lubin*
About Schools in Haiti
Haitian students primarily go to private schools, which means there's tuition fees or there are tuition waiver programs available to some. Here's a breakdown of how the education system in Haiti works: (research info below provided by classbase.com)
Common grading scales:
80.00 - 100.00 or 8.00 - 10.00 Très Bien (Very Good) US - A
70.00 - 79.99 or 7.00 - 7.99 Bien (Good) US - B
60.00 - 69.99 or 6.00 - 6.99 Assez bien (Satisfactory) US - C
50.00 - 59.99 or 5.00 - 5.99 Passable (Sufficient) US - D
0.00 - 49.99 or 1.00 - 4.99 Mal (Fail) US - F
According to the Ministry of Education in Haiti, the official school calendar has September 4 as the start day for back to school.
What are your favorite memories of 'back to school' in Haiti or somewhere else! Share it with us below in the comments.
Back to School Gear to Represent Haiti and Haitian Culture
Check out these must have items for the kids (or yourself!) to go back to school!
First tip I can give to get to Jacmel is hire an experienced driver or ask someone you know that has experience. It's not somewhere you want to try to drive yourself if you're not used to mountain driving and Haiti driving. Also, make sure the car you're traveling in can handle mountain driving. There are also professional companies that have buses that go to Jacmel as well.
Our experience in Jacmel
We arrived at the 2 story freestanding building at ACFFC - Art Creation Foundation for Children - with beautifully decorated in mosaics on the front, including the choublack (hibiscus flower) with inspiration from Haiti’s logo. We entered the little shop where the art is for sale to visitors with so much to look at…papier mache masks, ornaments, wall hanging, bowls and glass mosaic bottles. We were given a tour downstairs and upstairs where we saw the computer room, the pharmacy and the library. Art made by these children is everywhere…it’s absolutely beautiful. Aside from its aesthetic beauty, the beautiful children were sitting quietly waiting for their professor to come. We chatted with them and hung out for a little bit while we enjoyed the view of the city of Jacmel.
The city of Jacmel is covered in beautiful mosaic walls done by the children of ACFFC throughout the years. We got to drive around and see all of the different designs and creativity!
Carnaval in Jacmel
We were lucky enough to see Carnaval in Jacmel, Haiti...a kind of toned down version of Carnaval in the capital. During Carnaval every afternoon (around 2 p.m.), the city shuts down and everyone starts celebrating...it's pretty wild!
Bassin Bleu in Jacmel, Haiti
Bassin Bleu is a must see in Jacmel! Again, you will need an experienced driver and a local to help you get there...it's quite a journey, but so worth it!! There's lots of walking and climbing, including roping down a small rock. Don't worry, everyone's super helpful! I was definitely nervous to do it at first, too. Look at this amazing view.
Lakou New York in Jacmel
Lakou New York is a beautiful mosaic boardwalk in a public area, perfect for getting some exercise or strolling around with your honey. It's right on the ocean and you can find vendors selling classic Haitian goods and snacks.
Hotels in Jacmel
Have you been to Jacmel? What's your favorite activity to do there?! Let us know in the comments!