University of the Nouvelle Grand’Anse

After the earthquake on January 12, 2010 Haiti’s best universities are in wreckage, their campuses now jumbles of collapsed concrete, mangled desks and chairs, and buried coursework. Hundreds of professors and students were entombed, although the exact number of dead is complicated by the fact that class lists and computer registries were also wiped out by the quake.

This obliteration of higher education is expected to have longstanding effects on Haiti, unless we rebuild higher education not only in Port au Prince, but also in the provinces. Having viable educational institutions in the provinces will keep young people in the countryside. There will no longer be the need to go to Port au Prince to get an education. Such a system will also serve to strengthen the communities which host them, and can lead to educational outreach providing non-student groups with continuing education. In addition it will also create jobs, and can lift up a whole community.

It is imperative for the rebuilding efforts to invest in the next generation to create a critical mass of people to run the country. We do not want Haiti to continue to depend solely on experts from the outside. It is with these sentiments in mind that we propose to strengthen the Université de la Nouvelle Grand’Anse via the institution of a General Studies curriculum.

The Université de la Nouvelle Grand’Anse is located 5 km outside the city limits of Jeremie, the seat of the Grand’Anse department. Its infrastructure is in place with two main classroom buildings; a large assembly hall/cafeteria, offices, internet and electricity access as well as a medical clinic and an agricultural infra structure (chicken coup, pig husbandry, and available irrigation, as well as demonstration plots for farming).

The university has currently two programs, one in agriculture and the other in administration/management. The school can be called a technical school or a community college. Unfortunately it does not have a stable staff, and its educational level fluctuates quite a bit. Therefore the proposal to institute a year of general Studies before the students embark on their specialization.

The purpose of UNOGA’s (Université de la Nouvelle Grand’Anse) year of General Studies is to introduce students to a broad range of human knowledge and intellectual pursuits, to equip them with the analytic and expressive skills required to engage in those pursuits, to develop their ability to think critically, and prepare them for life-long learning. This curriculum provides students with the intellectual, ethical and aesthetical foundation necessary to make informed choices, foster a creative spirit and a sense of service to their country and their communities.