PRESS RELEASE
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 26, 2011

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Faculté des Sciences at the Université d’État d’Haïti (FdS/UEH), the Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty (FOKAL) invite all media organizations to attend a ceremony where the Faculté des Sciences (FdS) will receive a unique package of educational materials from MIT for the benefit of all educators and students in Haiti. This material is called OpenCourseWare (OCW). OCW is available free of charge to any user for learning or teaching.

This ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at FdS (at the corner of Rue Monseigneur Guilloux and Rue Joseph Janvier).

The following personalities will give presentations to explain their collaboration toward improving higher education in Haiti:

  • Mr. Janin Jadotte who is President of the Council of Directors of FdS
  • Mr. Michel DeGraff who is a Haitian professor of linguistics at MIT. His work at MIT includes research on Haitian Creole and on education in Haiti. He leads an MIT initiative whose main objective is to help give greater access to quality education throughout Haiti.
  • Mrs. Michèle D. Pierre-Louis who is President of FOKAL and who, for many years, has been at the forefront of the battle to improve education in Haiti.

Through OCW, any user anywhere in the world with Internet access can go to the website http://ocw.mit.edu to find course materials that are used in almost all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate subjects (Bachelors, Masters and PhD levels). These materials are available free of charge.

However, Internet connections are sometimes inadequate. In an effort to make OCW materials accessible locally to students and educators in Haiti, FdS will now host a local copy of OCW made available through the MIT Mirror Site Program.

FOKAL will fund faculty-training workshops that will enable the best uses of OCW by educators and students in Haiti. FOKAL, MIT and Haitian universities are looking for funds that will allow this initiative to evolve into virtual communities of learning and research. As part of this initiative, selected OCW materials will be translated in Haitian Creole.

Mr. Jean Henri Vernet, Rector of the State University, commented: “This initiative will open a new gate for our students. Through this gate, they will find a comprehensive range of materials from the classrooms of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. These materials cover almost all areas of knowledge. Higher education is going to greatly benefit from this initiative. We will also benefit from exchanges among educators in Haiti and at MIT—exchanges both in person and online. These exchanges will add a human touch that will enhance the technology.”

A fundamental part of OCW’s mission is to extend the reach and impact of OCW materials throughout the world. Much of OCW’s outreach efforts have focused on developing countries, where OCW materials are largely underutilized due to limited Internet connectivity. The OCW Mirror Site Program has provided for local copies of OCW content at educational institutions such as Haiti’s Faculté des Sciences (FdS). Evaluation data show that these mirror sites are having a significant positive impact on teaching and learning throughout the developing world.

Mrs. Cecilia d’Oliveira, Executive Director of MIT’s OCW project, announced: “We are pleased that Haiti’s Faculté des Sciences will be able to provide our content to educators and learners in Haiti. We understand that MIT faculty’s course materials are useful only if people have convenient access to the materials, whether that be via the Internet or via the FdS campus network. We look forward to learning from educators and students throughout Haiti how they will benefit from these materials.”

Educators with access to the localized version of OCW on the FdS network are welcome to utilize the OCW materials for curriculum development, while students and self-learners may draw upon materials from almost all MIT courses for self-study or supplementary use.

FdS will host the OCW Mirror Site at http://www.mitocw.fds.edu.ht.