Should Creole replace French in Haitian classrooms? While French culture plays a pivotal role in defining contemporary Haiti, only a small percentage of Haitians have the ability to speak proper French; however, Haitian administrators continue to push for schools with curriculum taught entirely in French. Administrators deem Creole as unfit for classrooms and identify French as the most effective language for Haiti’s future workers.
Proponents for French based schooling argue that the benefits of bilingualism, such as improved job opportunities, outweigh the difficulties Haitian students face while mastering the language. However, the many Haitians who disapprove of the language requirement in schools argue that children learn most effectively when taught in the vernacular. Opponents of a strictly French curriculum push for a bilingual approach to teaching.
The most productive teaching method is a bilingual curriculum that focuses on Creole and slowly incorporates French as students advance into secondary school. This eases the language transition for students and instills an appreciation for their native Creole. Is it a stretch to believe that bilingualism in classrooms will lead to the acceptance of a Creole-based curriculum in Haitian academia?
Haiti’s language controversy is a clear example of France’s deeply rooted presence in this ex-colony. The notion that French remains the preferred language in intellectual communities over the native Creole displays Haiti’s continuous struggle over identity. Like most former French colonies, Haitians strive to progress as an independent nation but heavily relies on French example.