PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – “Even if she should continue to learn other languages at school such as English, French, Spanish …, the student should not be forbidden to speak their native language,” said Pauris Jean-Baptiste, President of the Academy of Haitian Creole (AKA). According to him, the Haitian education efforts to make students ignore the Creole language leads to discrimination, bullying and poor performance.
AKA is organizing a forum on the linguistic rights of children on Friday at the Hotel Le Plaza. The event is expected to bring together language experts, professors and directors of schools and universities, psychologists, witnesses, parents, students, writers, etc.
Mr. Jean-Baptiste spoke in an interview with Le National from his office at #6 Rue des Marguerites in Turgeau.
“It is unfortunate that most of the schools in Haiti wants to bully children who speak Creole at school,” said Mr. Jean-Baptiste who believes that students who go to school are forced to ignore all they have known. “The student must”, he said, “turn from the Creole language she has mastered, in order to reach the French or any other language to learn. This practice contributes, indeed, to make dumb students or apparently limited, and subsequently grow up sometimes with a certain shame they do not manage to express adequately in the language that was imposed on them.”
“We have many testimonies of children who have experienced difficult times in their schools for speaking Creole in the classroom, or in the school yard,” said the President of the Akademi Kreyòl Ayisyen who finds this situation extremely worrying. He even recounted a case quite particular when, for speaking Creole in class and in the school yard, a young schoolboy szx kept in detention throughout the afternoon and forced to clean the school yard. “These decisions prove”, according to the professor, “many people still consider speaking Creole is a stain.”
This forum on linguistic rights of children to be organized under the theme “Let us respect the language rights of children” will be a panel discussion on the problems related to language learning, development and all the prejudices developing in the Haitian Creole around.