WASHINGTON - Black Florida Congressman Alcee L. Hastings introduced the Haitian Educational Empowerment Act of 2010. This legislation will allow Haitian students who have had their studies disrupted as a result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake to complete their education at a university in the United States. It will also provide grants to American universities that have taken in Haitian students so that these schools can provide necessary support services.
“In addition to the massive physical devastation and loss of human life, the earthquake also dealt a devastating blow to Haiti’s already struggling higher education sector,” said Hastings. “With 87 percent of Haiti’s universities located in the affected region, the earthquake leveled many university buildings and killed scores of students and academics. The State University of Haiti, the nation’s largest, saw 80 percent of its buildings destroyed.”
Hastings’ legislation allows these students to finish their studies while requiring them to return to the island upon completion to put their education to work.
“At a time of extreme instability and crisis, the United States must do all within its power to help Haiti rebuild from this current tragedy,” further noted Hastings. “However, this recovery cannot be sustainable if Haitians lack the necessary skills to participate in the process.
“While investments are made to rebuild and expand Haiti’s university system, it would be counterproductive if, in the meantime, we allow Haiti to fall even further behind in educational attainment,” said Hastings. “My legislation will not only provide immediate relief to those struggling students who saw their hopes squandered on January 12, but will also help ensure a more robust, long-term recovery.”