The Dominican Republic

Our Country’s Education

The Dominican Republic is a land of contrast; it is a place where beauty and poverty meet under the sun. It is known to many as a premier touristic destination with breath-taking beaches and world class golf courses. However, the reality is that its habitants live in what seems like a completely different world. Dominican people are faced with everyday challenges that do not allow them to escape poverty. It is a cycle that is a result of the lack of education and opportunity.


About 8 percent of young people age 15 to 24 are illiterate. Census data from 2002 indicates 762,000 young people between 15 and 29 (33%) had not completed basic education. Some 913,000 of 20- to 29-year-olds (62%) had not finished secondary school (Source: For the school year 2002-2003, repetition reached 7.0% and dropouts 9.4% for the same population (Source: Secretariat of State of Education, 2005). Not only is there a problem with lack of enrolment but there is also problems with the quality of education that is being taught. On average, a typical Dominican student in primary school receives only 2.4 hours of instruction per day (EDUCA/GALLUP Survey, 2005).


Child labor has also become a problem as children dropout of school to help their parents financially.  In 2000, the International Labor Office projected that there were 122,000 economically active children between the ages of 10-14, representing 13.22% of this age group. 



Our Country’s History

Dominican Republic shares the Island of Hispañiola with Haiti in the Caribbean and was first explored by Christopher Columbus in 1492. It is the oldest settlement in the western hemisphere and is the home of the first university, hospital, and cathedral.


Dominican Republic is democratically run but has endured many governmental changes in its past. It was a Spanish colony for almost three centuries until it was ceded to France in 1795. Haiti conquered it in 1801 and endured fights with Spain for ownership for seven years. In 1844, people revolted against Haitians rule and declared independence to establish the Dominican Republic. The country endured years of economic turmoil and was occupied by the United States from 1916 to 1924.


In 1930, a sergeant by the name of Rafaél Trujillo overthrew the government and established a dictatorship that lasted until his assassination in 1961. Since then, the political environment has somewhat stabilized and is currently being run by President Leonel Fernandez. He has been in power for eight years and has focused on modernization and improving foreign relations.