· Initiative marks the first time program has been used in a post-disaster setting
· Students will be able to complete bachelor’s degree in 12-18 months
· News comes as Haiti’s Ministry of Education reopens nation’s schools today
April 5, 2010, Port-au-Prince — World Vision and the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL) have launched a first-of-its-kind education program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. GULL provides Haitians with opportunities to pursue their bachelor’s, master’s and even doctoral degrees through an innovative community education approach. The program is free to all participants, and it is the first time in the world that it has been used in a post-disaster setting.
“This is a unique opportunity to help Haiti’s children and young adults continue their education,” said Noah Ochola, World Vision’s senior advisor for children in emergencies. “This initiative will help Haiti’s next generation find a future for themselves in this country.”
To help provide classroom opportunities for young children who have been displaced from their homes, many young adults (17 – 25 years old) have been volunteering as teachers in World Vision’s Child-Friendly Spaces throughout the camps in Port-au-Prince. The GULL initiative will work with 500 of these young adults to provide them with community-based training to become effective community educators. The program will culminate in a Bachelor’s of Professional Studies in Community Education. Because many of Haiti’s universities were destroyed in the earthquake, most of these students would otherwise have no opportunity to pursue a higher education. In addition, the staff leading the training will have the opportunity to complete a master’s degree in Community Education.
As part of its 12-month response plan, World Vision also plans to implement its Early Childhood Development Learning Space (ECD-LS) program in 20 locations throughout Port-au-Prince and the rural communities. World Vision hopes to provide community-based learning for thousands of children (0-8 years old) throughout the country.
The news comes as the Government of Haiti’s Ministry of Education reopens Haiti’s schools today. Despite this announcement, thousands of children will still be unable to receive a traditional education, either because their school was too badly damaged in the earthquake or because they can’t afford the school fees.
“Right now, Haiti’s children have very few educational resources, but they have a spirit and enthusiasm for learning,” said Dr. Richard Teare, president of GULL. “Through the efforts of World Vision and GULL, there is now a brighter hope for their future.”
The initiative is founded on the principles of “action learning” and focuses on providing educational opportunities for those without the funds, academic qualifications, or access to other more traditional forms of education.
An awards ceremony is scheduled for June 2010 to honor the students who have completed the first two levels of the curriculum. This inaugural group of students is expected to complete the 5-level Bachelor’s of Professional Studies degree program in 12 – 18 months.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.