Type of Document Thesis Author Hallquist, Leslie Jane Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-04212011-145615 Title Defining Fundamental Needs for Primary School Design in Haiti Degree Master of Fine Arts Department Interior Design, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Lisa K. Waxman Committee Chair Eric Wiedegreen Committee Member Jill Pable Committee Member Keywords
- Primary Schools
- Poor Countries
Date of Defense 2011-03-25 Availability unrestricted AbstractHaiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. Education is considered one of the best ways for Haitians to climb their way out of poverty, but unfortunately it is unattainable for most. Literacy rates in Haiti remain around 50%, which is significantly lower than the 90 percent literacy rate for Latin American and Caribbean countries (Library of Congress, 2006). The recent 7.0 magnitude earthquake of January 2010 devastated a large percent of the small number of primary and secondary schools in Haiti and destroyed the majority of the three main universities in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Earthquake devastation combined with the lack of resources and poor infrastructure places Haiti in a critical time where school facilities and education are in desperate need. This study addresses the current needs of Haitian schools, the specific building design, and proposes a design solution that considers circumstances unique to Haiti. The primary focus of the research is defining fundamental needs for primary schools in Haiti while considering their economy, climate and culture.
One of the major obstacles for education in Haiti, particularly affecting the rural areas, is the lack of physical access to school facilities. It has been noted that some children will walk hours one way to school each morning after performing their domestic chores at home (Lunde, 2008). This long fatiguing walk, oftentimes before dawn, drains the studentsí ability to stay focused and alert while at school.
The study began with a review of literature examining Haitiís history, current school system, building methods and materials as well as briefly discussing some hurricane and earthquake considerations. In addition, an examination of other underdeveloped nationís successful school design solutions was explored for possible application to Haiti. For better understanding of the current needs of Haitian schools, a trip was taken to Haiti and site visits, observations, and interviews were conducted. Those interviewed were affiliated with four different schools in Haiti and were asked questions assessing the current school facility and what aspects needed improvement. Photographs were taken to document the conditions of the schools and everyday life in Haiti.
After collecting data from the tripís observations and interviews, several themes emerged as reoccurring problems in Haitian primary schools. The ten issues that emerged were low lighting in classrooms, lack of clean and running water, safety and protection, safe areas to play, lack of classroom space, noise control, heat control, restroom facilities, personal spaces and personalization and the need for porches and shaded areas. Analysis of the data revealed basic and realistic, simple, low-cost recommendations for potential solutions to address each of these issues. The findings were presented in a problem-solution type format where the problem is stated, the context and why it is important briefly discussed, and then the presentation of potential solutions with supporting sketches.
In addition to the examination of educational facilities in Haiti and other underdeveloped nations worldwide and to explore effective methods for building primary schools in Haiti, this study hopes to raise awareness to the extreme poverty of a nation that sits only 500 miles off the American coast and to help a failing nation.
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