Guy Etienne

Ashoka Fellow
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Guy Etienne was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Etienne has designed and is spreading a new national education model that champions the development of innovative thinking, creativity, and teamwork among students from primary school through high school. His curriculum combines classroom learning with experience-based learning so that his students have opportunities to apply their learning to real community issues. Every year in the second semester, students must use their lessons to address community needs. Students practice self-reflection, gain self-confidence, develop their creativity, and become agents of change.

To raise community awareness of his model, Etienne strategically displays student projects at l’ExpoSciences, a science exposition at the end of each academic year; and thousands attend. Several projects have attracted national recognition, including during the oil embargo when a team designed a pentacycle, a non-motorized vehicle that students could use to get back and forth to school. Collaboration is a critical element of Etienne’s curriculum. The ability to work as part of a team is a fundamental skill, necessary if youth are to develop other essential skills and attitudes, such as task delegation, identity formation, self-expression, self-confidence, idea communication, tolerance, and creative compromise.

Importantly, Guy’s work is not limited to curriculum changes. Rather, he is building a broad national network of supporters, including parents, the Ministry of Education, companies and universities, to champion lasting educational reform. He seeks out first those who understand the need for new approaches in the 21st Century. Guy and his team have trained school directors across the country, along with 10 public servants in the Ministry. Many who they have trained are now training others. Guy’s goal is to have all teachers and school leaders feel equipped and motivated to change the system from within.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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