Ted Jacquet, a rising junior at Earlham College, has been awarded a $10,000 grant to develop virtual educational resources for students in Haiti whose schooling has been disrupted because of political turmoil and violence gripping the nation.
The grant is from Projects for Peace, a national program established by the late philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis that funds grassroots projects across the world. Earlham is a Davis United World College Scholars Program partner school.
“If you look at the current political situation right now, it’s not pleasant,” said Jacquet, a native of Haiti who is double majoring in quantitative economics and data science at Earlham.
“There are regular political demonstrations and lockdowns across Haiti. People cannot leave their house to attend school,” he said. “What is happening is that students are missing a big part of their curriculum at school. More recently, COVID-19 cases have caused people to be on lockdown.”
“There are regular political demonstrations and lockdowns across Haiti. People cannot leave their house to attend school. What is happening is that students are missing a big part of their curriculum at school. More recently, COVID-19 cases have caused people to be on lockdown.” — Ted Jacquet
Jacquet is working with a collaborator in Haiti to develop video-based modules that high school students can access from their homes. He said the project is critical in helping youth maintain continuity in their studies and prepare for national college-entrance exams, which have been delayed because of the current political situation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The only online resources that are available to students right now are text and audio based,” he said. “I’m interested in making resources that are short and interactive to help students learn without being in the classroom.”
He is consulting with the National Ministry of Education in Haiti to develop a comprehensive curriculum focused on mathematics, economics, physics and chemistry. Lekol, a social enterprise that provides teachers with tools to teach their students, will host the resources online and make them available for free to about 10,000 students at 80 partnering schools.
“Lekol and their teachers have been asking for videos to explain topics to their students better,” Jacquet said.
With funding from Projects for Peace, Jacquet will hire four teachers and furnish them with technology to record the video lessons in a format that will meet Lekol’s needs. The project will primarily be carried out through July and August.
“We are choosing teachers based on diversity of thought, academic competencies and student engagement,” Jacquet said. “We plan to give them tablets to create those courses in a whiteboard-video format.”
Jacquet’s successful proposal to Projects for Peace was supported by Earlham’s Center for Social Justice, which provides mentorship and access to special learning opportunities so students can become catalysts for good in a changing world.
“I am very interested in entrepreneurship and believe it can be used to improve society,” Jacquet said. “With this project, I want students to have a more peaceful mindset when it comes to studying and prepare them for their future in some sense.”