Haiti Haitian Leaders In The News

Haiti Teacher Among 10 Finalists For $1M “Global Teacher Prize ” for Teaching

Picture courtesy of Frederick Alexis

Congratulations to Guy Etienne, the headmaster at Collège Catts Pressoir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is one of the 10 finalists whose been shortlisted from 5,000 nominations for the “Global Teacher Prize ” of teaching award which is also considered the “Nobel Prize for teaching.

Mr. Etienne’s private school encourages students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to help address needs in their community.

According to Miami Herald,

Picture courtesy of Frederick Alexis

A few years ago, a group of high school students attending the modest, privately run Collège Catts Pressoir came up with an innovative thought for their physics final: They would get a broken traffic light down the street to work again.

After studying how traffic lights work, they installed an inverter operated by 10 batteries in their classroom and ran an electrical cable to the nearby four-way intersection. Weeks later, at the corner of John Brown and Martin Luther King, the lights came alive.

“Difficulties are the ingredients of development,” said school headmaster and chemistry teacher Guy Etienne, recalling the day the lights came on. “What we are developing in students’ minds is that when you are confronted with a challenge, go find a solution; don’t just cross your arms and say you can’t because it’s difficult.”

That empowering philosophy has made Catts Pressoir one of Haiti’s most prestigious private schools. It also has given Etienne the biggest recognition yet of his 34-year teaching career: He is among 10 finalists for a $1 million award that is considered the “Nobel Prize for teaching.”

“For 30 years, a lot of parents haven’t agreed with me. But today, the world does,” said Etienne, who beat out more than 5,000 nominees from 127 countries for a chance to be recognized as the world’s most exceptional teacher. “This encourages me to keep doing the work that I am doing.”

Awarded by the Varkey Foundation, the prize is the brainchild of Indian-entrepreneur Sunny Varkey. Varkey said the competition isn’t about the money, but rather drawing attention to the enormous impact and achievements of teachers. He will name the winner Sunday at his Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. Etienne and his wife, Marilyn, also a teacher at the school, will be there.

“This is a great honor; not just for me but for the country,” said Etienne, 61. “What makes me proud is that every Haitian is identifying him or herself with this honor.”

Education Minister Nesmy Manigat, who named Etienne to his curriculum reform commission, isn’t surprised by his global spotlight.

“Guy is a leader and role model,” said Manigat, who has launch an aggressive push to fix Haiti’s broken education system — in which more than half of graduating students last year failed exit exams. “My wish is that our teachers use his nomination as a positive drive to help bring excellence to our schools.”

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The 10 finalists for the first Global Teacher Prize are:

Azizullah Royesh, Marefat High School, Kabul, Afghanistan

Kiran Bir Sethi, The Riverside School, Ahmedabad, India

Guy Etienne, Collège Catts Pressoir, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Jacqueline Jumbe-Kahura, Bofa Primary school, Kilifi, Kenya

Nancie Atwell, The Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb, Maine, USA

Naomi Volain, Springfield Central High School, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

Phalla Neang, Phnom Penh Thmey, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Madenjit Singh, GDI – SOLS 247 School (in Cambodia), Malaysia

Richard Spencer, Middlesbrough College, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Stephen Ritz, Public School 55, Bronx, New York, USA

Congratulations to all the teachers nominated but how incredible would it be for him to win the 1 million dollar prize. It’s so refreshing to see our Haitian leaders being selected for awards on such a global scale.

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  • C’est une attitude défaitiste ,yes a said suture attitude to bring Haitians more to the bottom its admitting that we are so dumbs we can even learn a language whom 90% of the words are already include in our creole . Listen to all of you out there saying those absurdities .in Matininique they are black like us speaking in creole in everydays conversation but “tout le monde parle Francais ” translation everybody speak French why do you think is that one word “alphabetisation ” the people who want tothe pupils to be taught in creole choose the easy way “ilsvont foutre tous les futures élèves dans la merdre “translation they are going to lead the future students in trouble.imagine all of ours writers poets historians of past centuries wrote in french ,the dilemma is this generation and future generations won’t be able to enjoy theirs books translate them in creole would be a disservice to the auteurs no wonder half the students failed their exam last year this comment is an answer to article about the virtue of the creole language as the main teaching tools in Haiti,I wish good luck to Professeur Etienne

  • Monsieur Desgrottes,

    Du V siècle au XVII siècle en France la langue de l’enseignement a été le LATIN. Les publications importantes ou scientifiques se faisaient en LATIN. Et ce n’est qu’au XVI siècle que le français s’est lentement imposé dans l’administration grâce à la volonté des dirigeants français de s’opposer au latin en vue de réduire le pouvoir de l’Église et renforcer celui de la monarchie et de l’État.

    D’autre part en Angleterre pendant ce temps à la Cour du roi d’Angleterre et dans les écoles en Angleterre le français était la langue obligatoire. Les nobles anglais envoyaient leur progéniture étudier en France pour les ‘débarrasser de la langue barbare’ de leurs pays, l’anglais. Jusqu’au XV siècle la langue des tribunaux en Angleterre, était le français. Et tout comme nous autres ici, les ‘gens de bien’ de la société anglaise, émaillaient leurs conversations d’expression françaises, question de paraître ‘cultivés’. Ces faits expliquent que 33 % de la langue anglaise provient du français.

    Depuis belle lurette maintenant les français ne parlent plus le latin et continuent tout de même à s’instruire, et les anglais s’accommodent assez bien de leur langue, l’anglais.

    Anpil pwoblèm sosyete mande gwo bon sans pou nou konprann yo, men gen de fwa sa rive ke nou bezwen konesans tou, se sak fè mwen ta konseye ou pran san ou pou tande e reflechi sou opinyon ak rezilta rechèch moun ki nan metye pedagoji (kit an Ayiti kit aletranje) sou avantaj lang matènèl pou ansèyman. Tout vou m pa ka toujou do.

    Mwen swete tou ke ou metrize kreyòl la pi byen ke 2 lang dadopsyon ke ou itilize pou ou trete de « absurdités » propozisyon pedagòg pwofesyonèl ki soutni itilizasyon kreyòl nan ansèyman an Ayiti. Parce que, cher monsieur, vous avez fait des entorses injustifiées à ces deux langues. Des fautes de frappe je présume. Relisez vous.

    Allez, buvons ensemble à la bonne santé de notre langue, le créole, et apprenons autant d’autres langues que possible.

  • This is one of my main concerns for the healing of Haiti, children’s education. I’m so very proud of Mr. Etienne, you & your students are well spoken, excited & motivated, do for that I pray you will win. I believe if its for you, its for you, but you all are winners already.


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