By Bryan Schaaf on Thursday, February 7, 2013.
Below is an article by Trenton Daniel concerning the increasing use of Haitian Kreyol in schools – which is a good thing. In a hemisphere dominated by Spanish and English, French remains the language of the Haitian elite. While true that Haiti has produced artists of note who worked in French, countless children didn’t have a chance at a good education because they were instructed in a language neither they nor their teachers were comfortable with. Learning multiple languages makes sense – but so does being tought in (and proud of) your first language.
CROIX-DES-BOUQUETS, Haiti — Teenagers in blue-and-white uniforms pour out of classrooms of this boarding school at the edge of Haiti’s capital, chattering in their native language of Creole about the science test they have just taken. “Eske ou te byen konpoze?” asks one boy in the campus courtyard. In English, it translates as “How do you think you did?” “I’m not so sure,” a girl answers back in Creole with a shrug of her shoulders. “The exam was really difficult.” The students don’t speak much French at the school, although it remains the primary language of instruction in most Haitian classrooms. In fact, less than 10 percent of the country’s 10 million people speak French fluently, and in most schools, even the teachers don’t understand it very well although they’re asked to teach in it.