Haiti’s opposition parties want kids to return to school

Haitians have been protesting in the French-speaking country for months.

Opposition political parties that have been staging islandwide demonstrations in support of their calls for President Jovenel Moise to step down from office, now say they will support initiatives to get children to attend classes.

Last month, the Ministry of National Education released a new school calendar 2019-2020 indicating that “the revival of school activities is scheduled for December 2.

“On January 7 our children will go to school, however, the mobilisation continues every weekend.”

— Opposition Senator Youri Latortue

“This year there will be 147 school days and six days off. The number of teaching hours will be 735 hours for the fundamental and 882 hours for the secondary,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Back to the classroom

The classes have been disrupted by the demonstrations, and despite the ‘back to the classroom’ call by the Ministry of Education, students have stayed away for fear of the acts of violence that have accompanied the demonstration.

But in a statement on his Twitter account, Opposition Senator Youri Latortue, said: “Gonaiviennes, Gonaiviens, I am proud of your courage. On January 7 our children will go to school, however, the mobilisation continues every weekend.

“Happy fighting year. Your determination is an example,” he added, without making any reference to the role played by the opposition parties in keeping children away from classes.

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse has refused to step down.

Blame game

The spokesman of the opposition parties, André Michel, blamed Moise for the situation facing the school children even as he said they would support classes resuming on January 7.

“It is necessary that the children of the people return to school on January 7 next on all the national territory. We don’t want them to miss the school year. The State must take measures to guarantee security, pay the teachers, and other measures for the re-opening of classes.

“We are not going to allow Jovenel Moïse to make sure that schoolchildren miss the school year,” he said, adding also that the demonstrations to force the departure of the Head of State will be organised on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and also at nights.

The opposition parties have accused Moise, who came to office in 2017, of corruption, but he has denied the accusation and has called for the establishment of a government of national unity going forward.