College Catts Pressoir

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College Catts Pressoir

Port-au-Prince, HaitiPort-au-Prince, Haiti
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

College Catts Pressoir is transforming the education system in Haiti by introducing a focus on innovation in science and technology. Students are encouraged to use creativity, imagination, and teamwork to apply the concepts they learn in the classroom to address critical needs in their community.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if everything students learn in class can solve a critical community need?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The education system in Haiti fails to prepare youth to address the problems they will inherit as adults. 38% of children between the ages of 7 to 18 have never attended school and schools are in a state of serious deterioration. The current system limits students by forcing them to memorize and recite material. Lessons neither imbue an appreciation for societal context nor encourage student input, innovative thinking, creativity, or teamwork.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

College Catts Pressoir departs from the traditional education system in Haiti, which relies on memorization and passive classroom participation. Instead, it champions development in innovative thinking, creativity, and teamwork for students from primary to high school. His curriculum combines classroom learning with experience-based learning so that his students view their education within the broader societal context. Every year in the third trimester students are graded on a team project where they apply their lessons to address community needs. As they use their knowledge ‘legos’ in the service of their community, they practice self-reflection, gain self-confidence, and develop their creativity, stimulating their growth as changemakers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Students’ projects address real community needs and often incorporate local and recycled materials. In the 90s they built the first traffic light in Haiti after 20 yrs without operation, drawing the attention of the Haiti President. The primary school students have also led the plantation of so far 1 million trees in local communities. Students begin learning about robotics as early as 1st grade and each year they can demonstrate their robotic inventions. Most recently the students used that experience to create a robotic prototype that would help clean the streets of Port-au-Prince. Students present their projects at the school’s annual ExpoScience which draws 5,000 people, including government officials.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The annual ExpoScience is a platform for students to share their inventions with parents and friends, but often it leads to larger audiences. 40% of innovations created by students are later adopted by the school or external institutions, eg. government and other local institutions. This success rate is indicative of how successful the Catts Pressoir model is in using innovation and creativity to encourage solutions to real problems. Students have been described as having “impressive conceptual background, impressive discipline, [and] impressive ability to problem solve,” and they excel in their academic careers. Innovations ranging from a surveillance camera they offered to the National Police to a public transportation system for Port-au-Prince that was later adopted by the Minister of Public Works show the applicability of the learning that goes on at Catts Pressoir.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Etienne is working with the Ministry of Education replicating his model nationally. He recently finished training 18 public schools and 6 officials of the Ministry in the model of Catts Pressoir. In order to make his model and methodologies truly ‘open source’, he is currently developing an open lab-open school, with both an online and physical presence, to enable other teachers in Haiti and abroad to learn about the model and further build upon it. He is also collaborating with the 2 major universities in Haiti and social entrepreneurs in France to build a collaborative platform.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

College Catts Pressoir is currently self-sustainable because parents pay tuition for students to attend. While the school is technically a private school, it remains a public utility, so any profit the school makes is used for scholarships for those students who cannot afford tuition and for investing in the school infrastructure.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

While many projects are seeking to encourage innovation and creativity in learning, most do so through extracurricular programs that operate mostly after school. College Catts Pressoir is unique in that it has successfully created a model that integrates science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship into every lesson throughout the school day. In addition, they begin incorporating science and technology into classrooms as early as first grade, creating innovative and creative minds from an early age.

Founding Story

Etienne’s vision for an innovative education system began at age 12 when he assumed responsibility for the family that his father abandoned, which included providing for his own education as well as that of his six siblings. He quickly learned that the existing education system was not empowering young people to generate positive change. His dissatisfaction with the education system later evolved into his ambition to prove that the development of a quality education system is critical for Haitian society to develop on its own. When Etienne’s father-in-law asked him to replace him as the headmaster of Catts Pressoir, Etienne chose to return to Haiti and forego his personal dreams to develop a new collective dream for Haiti.


In addition to Guy Etienne who serves as Headmaster and Director of College Catts Pressoir, the school relies on an enthusiastic team of full time teachers from the primary to high school levels. Catts Pressoir also mobilizes parents on a regular basis; there is an active parent committee. Some parents also teach some classes part-time or/and train teachers. Etienne calls his school a ‘team school’.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Please select

Organization Country

, Port-au-Prince

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Port-au-Prince

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?



Guy Etienne elected as Ashoka Senior Fellow and Entrepreneur of the Year by Digicel (2011). Award “Honour and Merit” by the Ministry of National Education (May 2009) – Certificate of recognition of Patners of the Americas (December 2005). Between 1994-1995, Guy served as coordinator of Partners of America, an international grassroots network, where he brought a strong focus on education for social impact. During his time with Partners, he shared his model with 12 schools in New Jersey, US. Guy also joined the global school network Sismo à l'Ecole, a network of schools from 20 countries across 6 continents that run seismic stations. Recently, Guy's seismic station was ranked as one of the best stations and Guy was asked to share with the rest of the network his expertise; this offered Guy the opportunity to further spread out his model and draw the attention of the schools in the network towards the importance of engaging youth as changemakers in the development of their community - Guy credits the success of his school's seismic station to the active engagement of youth in natural disaster prevention in their communities. The University Institute for Teacher Training in France, the national institution that trains primary teachers in France, invited Guy to share his education model with school directors and aspiring teachers from schools across the country.

Primary Target Age Group

6 - 12, 13 - 17.

Your role in Education


Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a school(s).

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Private (tuition-based).

Intervention Focus

Curricular, Community, Online Learning, Policy or Analysis, Products or Services.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Lack of structures to facilitate meaningful community ownership in learning process: It is challenging to ensure parents and the broader community are involved as full co-owners in the learning process.


We are seeking advice on building an effective open lab-open school online portal, and MOOC development.


We can share our pedagogical strategies and methodologies. We can also share frugal science methodologies.

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

We call our model ‘modelisation pedagogique’ - the school as a space for developing youth as active changemakers in their society.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

a) My main activities is education b) I carry out the activities in my school and in the community c) Every day from Monday to Saturday and sometime until Sunday d) Between 10 and 12 hours a day (from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm) e) My school team (45 teachers and 15 members of personal of administration f) I involves parents and some professionals of the community in the College

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

When I analyse the commitment of parents, interest of youth training applications, the importance of the education to understand and to protect the environnment, and how science and technologie become in our lives… I am sure that every one understand that it's essential to learn. But, the traditional system can't give to us possibilities to involve in development of our community that changes every day, every minute. The social and economic injustices related most often to inequalities in education and training of the people are going to understand the importance of learning otherwise. The economics difficulties of the community are going to understand importance to learn otherwise

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

I think it is extremely interesting to develop educational strategies that align with the structure of thinking of learners to do something with pleasure, so relating to the games. Learning through play reduces the stress of learning and stimulates further psychomotor actions of young people. Learning through play allow educator to attract students to the knowledge. It's one of the best way to evaluate the real potentials of the students.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

Our funding comes exclusively from annual fees and tuition by deadlines over 9 months. Our annual tournover is 887.230,00 US

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

My business is a non-profit enterprise. We provide a quality educational service

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

I would use it to promote the distance learning/education for the benefit of young people in difficult economic situation worldwide. Often, there are lot of young intelligent minds in this socio-economic category. I would have given them the chance of their lifetime.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

We established a partnership with the Office of Civil Protection because we installed a seismological station and two weather stations at the College. This partnership allows us to prepare our students for prevention and action in their community disaster. With Matelec SA, a large network stores. This partnership allows us to have discounts on the purchase and to install a branch of this network at our school managed by the students in internship. With "Salon of entrepreneurship" where students can apply their knowledge.

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

We develop seriously the emphatic in our school. Our students, our teachers and all of parents learn to build together whatever the differences in religion and socio-economic level. We learn to our students how they have to kill the conflicts before their birth. We have built a non-conflicts environment.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

My school would be the best school of Haiti. It would be one of the schools of the world who learn to all that each person is a powerful changemaker. My school would be a locomotive that would all schools in Haiti towards quality. My school would be a center of production of didactical material and educational strategies to help, particularly for the school of poor people.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

Year after year we received more and more applications for admission in First Grade, between 500 and 600 for only 70 places available, we can receive only 12% of the demand. We still have 100% of succes for official exams, except accident. Actually, haitian press and international media is particularly interested by the quality of learning at my school. During one moth, I have given more than 20 interviews. My school is now the first Changemaker school of the Caribbean and Latin America. I hope really that I will have economic possibility to grow up my school and offer the distance learning to increase the number of beneficiaries of my work.

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

1,001 to 10,000

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?


Number of Employees:


Number of Volunteers:

Fewer than 10

APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts).

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.


Diana Corrales's picture

Is there a way to route some of your private funding to the non-profit sector? Or share (for example via teacher training) your integrative teaching style with the rest of the community and country?