New "Normes de construction scolaires"
Since the earthquake, the Haitian Ministry of Education and Professional Training* has dedicated itself to making dramatic reforms to the standards by which schools around the country should be built. These standards (entitled "Normes de construction scolaires," or School Construction Standards) include specifications for proper, sanitary washrooms, handicap accessiblity and restrictions on building size and layout. A draft was released by the Ministry last spring that proposed some ambitious reforms. At first blush these new standards seem very reasonable, however, as discussed in a post last July, they were in fact very unrealistic–given the common conditions for Haitian schools. For instance, specifying a light bulb for each toilet stall is an unrealistic specification for a school without electricity, running water and barely enough money to make hot lunch. The first draft received some harsh criticism and the Ministry promised a second draft by October.
Although a little behind schedule, the MENFP has just now released the revised standards–rather unceremoniously posted on One Response, a website assisting in humantarian aid response by consolidating documents and infomation pertaining to Haiti's reconstruction.
Clocking in at 35 pages of of specs in French, the document promises to be the authority by which schools should be built in Haiti. Our team is going through them right now (well, the ones who read French). The Direction du Génie scolaire (DGS: the managing school directors) is set to meet and review the standards on Thursday, indicating the possibiity for further edits.
*in French, le Ministère de l'Education nationale et de Formation professionnelle, or, as you'll more likely see it, the MENFP