Haiti’s hope lies in access to education

February 5, 2010

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MARIA SACCHETTI (“Much rests on Haiti elite,’’ Page A1, Jan. 31) writes that the central question for Haiti “is whether the wealthy elite that controls the bulk of the economy will help rebuild Haiti and create a thriving middle class.’’ As we have seen with the collapse of the industrial base of the United States, people who manage the status quo rarely have the vision or flexibility to adapt to change and innovate for the future.

The middle class of 21st-century Haiti, like that of the United States, Canada, China, and India, will not come from industrialists hiring more factory workers at the minimum wage. Instead it will be built by the Haitian equivalents of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Sergey Brin and will be populated by educated professionals.

In a country that has lost 85 percent of its university graduates to emigration, Haiti’s middle class must be built from scratch through universal education and access to higher education for all deserving students. This effort depends not on a few wealthy Haitians but on everyone who wants to see Haiti’s battle for independence succeed, more than 200 years after it started.

Conor Bohan
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
The writer is founder of the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP), Haiti’s largest university scholarship program.

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