Penn GSE Helps Rebuild Haiti’s Education System

It has been one year since a devastating earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti, and Sharon Ravitch, a senior lecturer in Penn’s Graduate School of Education is helping the country rebuild its education system from the ground up.

A widely recognized expert in international applied development research, Ravitch was recently named the senior international advisor to the Haitian Ministry of Education for its Educational Reconstruction Plan.

“My role as an external advisor will be to work very closely with the Haitian Ministry of Education to assess and explore the challenges that existed before the earthquake and evaluate those in relation to the incredible strengths and possibilities that exist within and outside of Haiti,” Ravitch says.

The collaborators will build on the strengths that exist in Haiti and evaluate the country’s educational reconstruction plan, taking into consideration teacher education, leadership development and infrastructure and language issues, as well as concerns about access and accountability.

“All of these issues converge in this work and we need to think comprehensively and critically about these multiple, intersecting moving parts so that we’re able to create the greatest set of possibilities for educational improvement, broadly defined,” Ravitch says.

This past summer, Ravitch traveled to Port-au-Prince with her Applied Research Team, where she began talks with Mathurin about an educational redevelopment project. While there, the team conducted a needs-assessment focused on education, and toured educational facilities in the region, including make-shift schoolhouses and remote islands without schools.


Text by Jill DiSanto-Haines