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9041: American Lekol Bolet (fwd)

From: JHUDICOURTB@aol.com

(For those who are not familiar with the term:  Lekol Bolet literally means 
lottery school ;it is a disparaging term to describe the multitude or bogus 
schools around Haiti where the only principal's bank account profits from the 
entreprise.  Just like a Bank Bolet.)
Since this is the start of the  a new school year I would like to warn those 
who are sending their children to school in Haiti.  I spent last year in 
Haiti with 3 children.  The youngest one did fine in third grade in a Haitian 
school ran by my own sisters in Petion-Ville.  He learned to read and spell 
both Creole and French and kept up his English at Acacia Ecole Bilingue.  The 
older boys did not want to take the challenge of a French speaking school in 
the 9th and 10th grade.  The 2 best known American Schools, Union and 
Quisqueya were not accessible to us.  Union because it is too expensive and 
Quisqueya because we do not share the Baptist faith.  One school seemed to 
offer some advantages: 1) it was close to our home in Freres 2) the curricul
um came from the University of Nebraska 3) the cost was not too prohibitive 
although higher than most schools in Haiti (U$2000 in September + 4000 gdes a 
month).  We went for it and it was a big mistake.  Here are some of the 
1) the hidden cost:  while the principal told us that we had to order the 
books from the University of Nebraska, she didn't really explain that we also 
had to pay registration fees there.  So a call to the University to "order 
books" set us back another U$1,500 per semester.
2)lack of teachers:  Most of the people working there were occasional Haiti 
residents, people who were there because their spouse were working in an 
international organization.  They were totally uncommitted and came a few 
times a week to help out. One of them actually pulled out her stack of 
magazines to read during class time and told the kids: "go ahead and work on 
the lesson, I am just a supervisor."
3) Poor administration: The school was supposed to mail assignments to the 
University so that the children could get credit for their work.  It turns 
out that they lost many of the kids' stuff.  My kids "completed" few of the 
courses they signed up for and even the ones they thought they had completed 
remained unfinished according to the University's records because the schools 
did not send in the assignments.  Some courses hardly ever started.  For 
example:  we were asked to buy materials for French which would start in 
October.  No teacher was assigned and no time was scheduled for French until 
mid-March.  Then they tried to rushed the kids through one year of French 
during the months of April and May.
Basically we got no service for our 4 thousand gourdes per child per month.  
It was just babysitting from 8 am to 1 pm.  So watch out for schools in 
Haiti.  If you are going there temporarily with a high school child you are 
probably better off just doing the University of Nebraska course at Home 
without the additional course or clearly counting on kids to go to school 
just to meet friends.  Otherwise if you can gain admission to a Haitian 
school you are probably better off.  Watch out for those Lekol Bolet in U$.