Haitian teachers protest school reopening

Haitian trade unions protested outside the Education Ministry to denounce the irresponsibility with which Minister Pierre Josué Agénor Cadet decided to reopen the school activities in the country.

August 13, 2020 by Haitian Popular News Agency
Protest outside the Ministry of Education. Placard reads “When will the schools in the poor neighborhoods be opened?” Photo: Haitian Popular News Agency

Several dozen teachers and activists organized a rally on Monday August 10 outside of the Haitian Ministry of National Education and Professional Training. They were protesting against the decision taken unilaterally by the Minister Pierre Josué Agénor Cadet to reopen schools, which was done without consulting other actors that are crucial to the proper functioning of the Haitian education system. They also demanded better working conditions for teachers in Haiti.

“We do not have a problem with reopening schools, it is normal that it happen, but it would be necessary for it to be planned in complete collaboration with the different actors of the educational system,” declared professor Josué Mérilien, general coordinator of the National Union of Haitian Teachers (UNNOH). The UNNOH has been demanding a reasonable salary for the teachers because according to Mérilien, it is not right that while teachers earn around $100 a month in salary the State pays $5000 for the monthly rent of the residence of Minister Pierre Josué Agénor Cadet.

Participants in the protests manifested, “We the teachers are not dogs, and in no way will we allow for them to continue violating our rights. The price of essential goods continues to increase, but our salary has not.”

The placards of the protesting teachers read, “When will the schools in the poor neighborhoods be opened?” “No school without security”. The issue of public insecurity was central to the demands.

According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard, today Haiti has 7,743 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 187 deaths.

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