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#1225: DeGraff, Valdman, Switzerland & Haiti: DeGraff: Carey response (fwd)

From: Henry F. Chip Carey <polhfc@langate.gsu.edu>

I do not know whether Michel DeGraff's persuasive arguments are completely convincing for two reasons:

1) There are very few nation-states in the world.  Multi-lingual countries like Switzerland, where the standardized, "high" dialect is taught in schools as a means of assimilation, represent 80% or more of the world's countries.  In other countries with which I am familar, like India, Pakistan, Romania and the Philippines, attempts to use either local dialects or national languages have BOTH been unsuccessful; and,

2) The main problem with Haitian education is its low quality or absence.  I certainly am more concerned with whether Haitian children can be taught well by well-paid teachers, in any language, or in two languages, than in which langauge should have exclusivity.  

Teaching in French is perhaps the third or fourth ranking cause of low educational achievement, I would guess.  Parliaments and foreign aid donors that do not appropriate sufficient funds for mandatory universal primary and secondary education is surely the largest reason, along with low literacy among parents.

Assistant Professor of Political Science
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA 30303
tel: 404-651-4845
fax: 404-651-1434