Document Type

Senior Honors Project

Publication Date



Although the majority of Haitians are monolingual in Haitian Creole, French has remained the dominant language on the island. Historically, French also has been the privileged language in education, which does not match up with most Haitians’ linguistic reality. In this paper, I analyze education reform in Haiti by first developing a framework for understanding linguistic human rights and the relationship between language and power. This section draws upon the theories of Skutnabb-Kangas, Phillipson, and Bourdieu. I then look at how the development of creole languages impacts how they are perceived. Lastly, I examine three previous education reform projects in Haiti (education during the US Occupation, the Haitian Pilot Project, and the Bernard Education Reform) with respect to linguistic human rights. Ultimately, I conclude that while Haiti has made progress toward recognizing the linguistic human rights of its citizens, including the right to education in one’s first language, reform efforts have been hindered by inconsistency and political instability.


Honors Program