The Papaye Normal School
The Papaye Normal School, also known by its French name, Ecole Normale d’Instituteurs Hinche Papaye (ENIHP), is located in Papaye, about five miles from Hinche, in the Central Plateau region of Haiti. The term “Normale” refers to the teacher training program, and “Ecole” means school. Students at the school are enrolled in a 3-year teacher training program which results in the preparation for certification as a teacher of the 1st through 9th grades. Average cost of yearly enrollment is about $400 and class size is approximately 50 students.
Students range in age from 18 to 35. On average there are 150 students enrolled in the program, with about 40-45 due to graduate each year. Many of the students live at the school because of the distance and cost to return to their homes. Others live in Hinche or the surrounding area. In addition to the teaching students, the school has a pre-school program that allows the students to practice the teaching skills they have learned. They also work with primary school students located close to the grounds.
The Papaye Normal School is operated by the Little Sisters of Saint Therese and lies within the Diocese of Hinche.
Past and Current Directors of the School
For many years, OLN’s Haiti Ministry has had a wonderful partner in Sr. Jeanna Marseille, who served as Director of the Papaye Normal School. In the fall of 2014, just before the opening of the new school year, we received news that Sister Jeanna had been transferred to a school at Pelerin, just outside Port-au-Prince. She is now the Director of a school with 1,000 children in grades K-8. We are grateful for Sr. Jeanna’s many years of dedicated service in training Haiti’s future teachers, and thank her most abundantly for her hospitality and friendship towards OLN. Our prayers remain with her always.
The new Director of Ecole Normale is Sister Moline Verica. Sr. Moline was born in Jacmel, Haiti and most recently served as the Director of the school of Saint Vincent de Paul in Cap-Haitien. Our 2015 team had a wonderful introduction and visit with Sr. Moline, and the OLN Haiti Ministry committee looks forward to working with her and the broader PSST congregation and community as partners with the school and the future teachers of Haiti.
The Importance of the Papaye Normal School
The Papaye Normal School is a three-year teacher training school opened in 1983 by the Petite Sisters of St. Therese (PSST). The Petite Sisters of St. Therese were the first indigenous order of religious women to be founded in Haiti. Their mission is to spread the word of God, provide education and health care to children and adults and to teach and use environmentally sound agricultural techniques. The Papaye Normal School prepares young people to become leaders in their communities as well as quality teachers who are able to improve the quality of education available to all children in Haiti.
Increasing education standards in Haiti is one of the key factors to reducing illiteracy and decreasing poverty in the country. Classes are taught, and formal communications are, in French, although Haitian Creole is commonly used in the countryside. A first step to improving education is increasing the number of certified teachers available to educate the next generation of Haitian children. The Papaye Normal School is working to make this a reality by continuing to train quality teachers to staff the elementary and primary schools of Haiti. During the 2014-2015 school year, 137 students were enrolled with 33 of the 35 3rd year students who completed their studies passed the exam to become certified teachers. During the 2015-2016, 165 students were enrolled with all 40 of the 3rd year students passing their school exams. They are currently awaiting the results of their teacher certifications. The new school year starts for the 2nd and 3rd year students on September 12th, while the 1st year students begin the first week in October. The school is well respected by the Department of Education in Haiti and has seen a steady increase in enrollment since it began. Some of those who were students in the first years of the schools operation have progressed to become directors and supervisors for the Department of Education and now visit the school as inspectors.
Lack of education is one of the key factors and root causes of poverty in Haiti. In order to provide young children with a quality education, teachers must be properly trained and possess the skills necessary to successfully educate young children. Properly trained teachers were in short supply before the earthquake, but with the estimated loss of 1,350 teachers due to the earthquake the situation now is dire. Before the earthquake only a little more than 40% of the population could read or write. Only 15% of primary school teachers had basic teaching qualifications, and many have only a 9th grade education with no teacher training at all. The Papaye Normal School is the only Normal School located in the Central Plateau of Haiti. The new government of Haiti has made a commitment to ensure all children have the right to attend school throughout the country. The work of the Papaye Normal School in training future teachers will support the government in achieving this objective. The increase in certified teachers will provide better quality schools and increased leadership in this area of the country ensuring that the basic right of education for all children becomes a reality.