Educating for democracy in Haiti : a teachers’ and students’ perspective
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Haiti has a long history of political instability contributing to its precarious economic situation. Thus, education for democracy is particularly relevant for enabling students to participate in a political system that would enhance the well-being of Haiti’s citizens. The Haitian Ministry of Education released an Operational Plan in 2010, giving importance to educating democratic citizens. However, implementing this education reform has been challenging for public schools with limited resources. Teachers and students are the ones who enact democratic citizenship in Haitian schools. Therefore, their perceptions can shed light on opportunities and obstacles for developing an education system that can enhance democratic citizenship in Haiti. Qualitative data was collected through interviews and observations to expose teachers’ and students’ perceptions of democracy, education, and the potential relationship between them. Informants’ conception of what democracy should be conflicted how they saw it was applied in Haiti, exposing a disconnection between Western knowledge valued in formal education and students’ reality. Therefore, I argue that knowledge taught in school should be closer to students’ everyday experiences. Moreover, students expressed a strong will to improve their country’s situation but they lacked opportunities to enact their political engagement. Thus, creating a space for learners to share their opinions, and adapting knowledge taught in school to learners’ reality could be opportunities to re-appropriate democracy in students’ situated context.