In the Fall of 2011, after having scraped all the money drawers and found to the identified needs the most creative alternatives, we finally launched the Foundation’s new leadership program Plaisance Avenir. We first started thinking about it in early 2007 as a natural follow-up to our universal schooling program. It took us five years to materialize this dream of offering our children a training of international standard so that they become full members of the 21st Century. During those five years, we have worked relentlessly to change the École Mixte Luc Guillaume in Gauthier (founded by Doktè Lik himself in 1987) into the new École Léopold Luc Guillaume. Redeveloping the structure cost US $ 50,000.00, a fifth of which was covered by the Digicel Foundation . We then set about filling the shelves of the Léopold Luc Guillaume Library and adding 24 computers, a printer and 2 large screens to our Laboratory on Information Science, Education and Novation (LIEN). During the same time frame, well aware of the community’s educational system’s shortcomings, we worked on developing a new curriculum to meet the new school’s ambitions. The process featured a review of some of the best school systems in the world:
- Finland and South Korea, for their performances in world ranking,
- France, for the similarities with the Haitian education system
- The United Kindgom and the United States, for the dynamism of the Anglo-Saxon model and the emphasis on leadership and volunteering.
From Finland, we kept the short lesson times and the focus on individual potentials; from South Korea, the strict discipline; from France, the already in French material and from the Anglo-Saxon world, the school’s community service component. With the Haitian curriculum as a base, we added courses in visual arts, computer, music, tennis, English, Spanish (with the possibility of learning others alone, using language softwares). Most classes are completed with exercises at the LIEN, generally with the excellent GCompris suite. Building the curriculum was undoubtedly the most difficult task and it still is. It is extremely difficult to find good teachers willing to go in a small provincial town, 5 hours away from the the capital with the only road leading to it barely deserving of that name. One does not work in Plaisance for 13 years without a knack for finding a way around things. It took us some time but we found teachers for all classes and help from the most wonderful people. On its very first year, the program had the chance to host Sandrine Lerault (from France), interning for the second year of her Master in Consulting, Engineering and Organization Management at the Université Paris-Est Creteil (UPEC), who has been of a great support to the program in its infancy. There is obviously much to do but we remain confident in the program’s future and those who believe in it.