PASS-TPCI Programme to Integrate ICH in Secondary Schools in Haiti

Dates of implementation
18/08/2018 - 16/08/2021
Réf-Culture; Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP); Ministry of Culture and communication, Haiti


  • Safeguard intangible cultural heritage in Haiti through its formal transmission to younger generations.
  • Introduce a novel living heritage education programme in 40 secondary schools in 4 departments (i.e., 10 schools per department)
  • Extend the programme to cover all secondary schools in Haiti.

The ambitious project of the non-governmental organization Réf-Culture titled ‘Programme in support of the education system for the transmission of intangible cultural heritage’ (PASS-TPCI), aimed to build on a much earlier reform of the education system (the Bernard reform) that had promoted national identity and culture. The project was conceived to respond to the current education system in the country whose reform marked the Haitian education system over thirty years ago, and which included thepromotion of national identity and culture.The Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) had earlier introduced classes on art and art history, yet no official programme centred on the transmission of intangible cultural heritage in schools existed. Furthermore, the teachers had also never been specifically trained to integrate living heritage into the classroom, nor did they have any dedicated pedagogical materials developed to do so.

In response, Réf-Culture worked closely with the Ministry of Culture and Communication (MCC) and the MENFP to introduce a novel cultural education programme focusing specifically on living heritage in 40 secondary schools across four selected departments in the country. These efforts included the training of numerous teachers on integrating living heritage in the classroom, together with the design of student didactic materials. Ultimately, based on interim reports and a project evaluation, the objective is to extend the programme to cover all schools in the secondary system in Haiti. While initiated in 2018 and meant to have a duration of eighteen months, due to a complicated socio-political context, the project is still underway.

Development of the PASS-TPCI programme

The first stage of the project consisted of setting up the project office and promoting the programme. The two key themes were: ‘intangible cultural heritage and the 2003 Convention’ and ‘an integrated school programme for the transmission of ICH’. During the initial development of the programme, collaboration with the various partners was solidified, from working with heritage bearers and teachers to meeting with the MENFP, the Ministry of Culture, and representatives of private sector education. Visits were also made to the target cities and the selection of schools and the teachers to take part in the project were determined after consultation with establishment heads. In addition, committees at the department level were established to coordinate the school programme and pooling of resources, as well as regularly monitor its implementation. Réf-Culture sought to ensure that parents were also well-informed of the initiative, as well as stakeholders in other related sectors, such as those pertaining to culture, youth, and tourism.

Considerations in this phase included evaluations of the school context (i.e. budget, physical space, and current timetable), the level and/or availability of teachers, and accessible equipment and materials. Based on this assessment, a framework programme was proposed and approved by the project’s Steering Committee, and a teacher training was organized. This teacher training consisted of 2 one-week sessions held in one of the cities in each department, aimed at imparting a greater understanding of intangible cultural heritage. During the training a teacher’s guide developed by Réf-Culture was used. It is hoped that eventually all teachers will have access to a copy as a tool for preparing lessons.

Réf-Culture also designed and produced didactic materials, developed jointly with local and departmental committee members and practitioners.

Implementation in 40 schools

After confirming the schools enrolled in the project, establishing a supervision schedule, and facilitating coordination of the activities among the departments, the programme began to be piloted in forty selected schools. Though this implementation began in 2019, it was paused at various points due to socio-political constraints. Once the programme was fully realised again, the supervisory visits were conducted as a follow-up, together with reports on the part of the local and departmental committees. An evaluation was carried out based on the various expert follow-up reports, so as to allow for corrections and improvements.

Extending the programme throughout Haiti

The final stage was the official submission, informed by the piloting of this programme, of a detailed intangible cultural heritage programme for the entire secondary cycle to the MENFP. This went hand-in-hand with a final evaluation of the overall outcome of the project that was carried out by the executive bureau and an expert.
The Réf-Culture hopes to extend the educational programme to all secondary schools by obtaining official accreditation, and by training more teachers in other departments. The aim is that mass dissemination of a programme integrating ICH in formal education will become a reality. This will not only be an asset for the Haitian schooling system, but will help ensure the safeguarding and transmission of the nation’s living heritage.

Project Outputs

  • Teacher’s guide, student manual and a DVD to complement it.
  • Didactic materials to supplement classes on living heritage.
  • Training of 40 teachers


The project has become widely known in the educational and cultural circles of the target departments and it is now broadly accepted that intangible cultural heritage should be part of the school curriculum. The promotion of the project on the part of Réf-Culture has led to support on the part of school principals and teachers, who in turn are sharing the project with colleagues, leading to requests for participation from other schools.

The teacher training programme was submitted to the Directorate of Training and Development for possible amendment and adoption. It will then be possible to envisage the training of more teachers, and to spread of the programme to other schools.

Broadly, the project promotes and transmits notions of ICH such as (but not limited to) Haitian religious and medical practices, craft know-how, traditional culinary art, proverbs and traditional games. These constitute a group of practices that are very much alive, but which are threatened or may disappear soon, as they are devalued in favour of models imported, in particular, from North America and Europe.

The project essentially contributes to achieving one of the official purposes of Haitian schooling which reads as follows: First and foremost, Haitian schooling aims to promote the training of the human being - citizen - producer who is capable of continuously improving natural physical conditions, creating material wealth and contributing to the promotion of cultural, moral and spiritual values.

See the main page for this project here.

The content of the projects and documents referenced in this platform do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO, including designations employed concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.