Dozens of schools in southern Haiti opened today as part of UN efforts to bring back education to the devastated country although, as UNICEF spokeswoman Jennifer Bakody says, “In many areas a lot of schools have been damaged or have collapsed””due to the January 12 earthquake, leaving students nowhere to continue their studies. The UN’s children fund estimates that over 4,000 schools were destroyed, along with the Ministry of Education headquarters.
In some regions, for example, in Jacmel, many schools have been operating since March 8. Bakody stresses that the major challenge is to bring back education to students living in the tent cities of the devastated “Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas that sprung up following the disaster, which left over 220,000 people dead, including around 38,000 students and 1,300 teachers.” UNICEF estimates some three million students had their education interrupted or completely halted due to the quake, and the school year has been extended to August to allow students catch-up time for the learning they missed.
UNICEF, working alongside the Haitian Government, has provided around 3,000 school tents and teaching materials since January. An interim curriculum has also been set up to cover basic life skills and disaster preparedness.
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