According to the Haitian Ministry of Education, 80 percent of those schools in the quake-affected areas were damaged or destroyed. In the six months following the quake, the majority of those schools have now been re-opened and up to 40 percent of schools damaged in the earthquake have been cleared of debris. Nonetheless, school attendance rates continue to suffer as the country slowly works to recover from the devastation, a concern which weighs heavy on many’s minds regarding the stability and future development of the fragile nation. Schools act as a safe-haven for children and help them deal with the heavy stress that follows disaster, as many children suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome. It is essential that Haitian children return to school as quickly as possibly, and while temporary means are obviously to be sought as the country continues to dig itself out from the rubble, international efforts must seek to see that the country’s educational system is rebuilt.
To mark the day UNICEF Radio podcast moderator Amy Costello reported from Haiti, speaking to Coralie Norris, a 14-year-old student, and Lisa Doherty, the UNICEF Haiti Education Cluster Coordinator, regarding the current climate in the country facing schoolchildren six months after the quake. You can learn more and listen to the podcast here.