Update – Some Haitian schools in worst quake-hit areas to reopen by 31 March 2010

During emergencies it has been found that providing some ‘normalcy’ for children e.g. going to school , can reduce the psychological trauma that children are likely to suffer. News from Haiti provides evidence of the efforts being made to provide emergency education following the Haiti earthquake.

From the UN News Service
Despite only a handful of schools being open in the Haitian capital and outlying areas, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working with the Haitian Government on a new deadline by which classes in the areas worst affected by last month’s earthquake will resume by the end of next month.

“Some of the schools in non-affected areas are now open, others in affected areas for sure will be open by then and we will do an accelerated learning programme so they do not lose the school year. This will be challenging in terms of coordination but everyone is on board and in support of the Ministry to meet this deadline,” Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF’s Spokesperson in Port-au-Prince told the UN News Centre.

According the UN, only 10 per cent of the schools in the capital, Port-au-Prince, were functional as of 1 February and about 40 per cent in the southern port city of Jacmel and other localities.

“We can’t afford to waste a school year. Even if our buildings are destroyed, we can set up tents so the children who are still alive can come back to school to learn,” Louis Montespoir, Director of the Daniel Fignole School, told UNIFEED.

Working with the Haitian Ministry of Education, UNICEF and other partners plan to set up tents for immediate use as classrooms until the rainy and hurricane seasons start in the spring. By then, UNICEF says it hopes to have temporary learning spaces which can be used for a year or two until the schools are rebuilt.

For access to the full article click here.

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