Science and science education critical for Haiti’s future

“Science for Haiti reflects the resilience of the Haitian people and their strong desire for science and science education as a pathway towards sustainable development, even under the most challenging circumstances,” said Colón.

The project is founded on a key principle: Haitians must chart their own future and their own goals for science, while the international science community must provide collaborative partnerships and other support.

“Haiti needs to integrate science into the process of reconstruction and renewal,” said Fritz Deshommes, vice rector of research at l’Université d’État d’Haiti. “This report will help build the scientific community in Haiti and strengthen bonds with the regional and global scientific community.”

Science for Haiti “is an important, ambitious document,” said Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science. “The authors have recognized that science, engineering, and education are crucial to the future of Haiti….Through this collaboration, they have developed a road-map for building Haiti’s prosperity and improving the lives of its people.”

Nations such as Rwanda and Vietnam have endured historic disasters, but are successfully pursing science-for-development strategies to build economic vitality. The new report suggests that Haiti could follow a similar path.

Among the specific proposals for achieving those goals:

Set national policies to build science capacity as an “integral element of social and economic development”;

Develop science education at every level, while training and hiring more teachers and improving curriculum and textbooks to support that effort;

Promote more working engagement between Haitian scientists and their international peers through research programs in key disciplines and a program that identifies opportunities for collaboration.

Read the full report: http://www.aaas.org/go/haiti2011/

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