Input for report on child and youth human rights defenders

Written by Caren Thomas, Ioana-Sorina Alexa and Luna Plet.

This report is a Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on on child and youth human rights defenders in The Netherlands.

Have child and young human rights defenders played an active role in the civil society of your country?

Yes. There are many examples of such child and young human rights defender initiatives, including but not limited to the following:

The Dutch National Youth Council1 (Nationale Jeugdraad) focuses on educational rights and advocates for fair treatment, quality education, and equal opportunities. They also advocate for meaningful youth participation in sustainable development and climate change. The organisation has run its program for almost 20 years and is one of the most robust youth representations at a formal international level.

Youth Climate Movement2 (Jonge Klimaatbeweging – JKB) was the first youth organisation to negotiate for the Dutch Climate Agreement and even integrated elements of the Youth Climate Agenda into the Climate Agreement. Several JKB-initiated resolutions on climate regulation have been adopted in Parliament.

Youth for Human Rights in the Netherlands3 (Jongeren voor Mensenrechten Nederland) is part of the International Youth for Human Rights movement. They focus on education and awareness initiatives to promote understanding and respect for human rights among young people.

Youth for Climate the Netherlands4 organised a major climate strike in Utrecht in May 2023.

For the first time, youth representatives were invited to share their views regarding urgent challenges young people face during forming a new Dutch cabinet in spring 2021. They were organised as Coalition-Y and the Jongeren Denktank Corona crisis.

You can download the full report in this link.



1 About NJR, NJR.

2 Jonke Klimaat Wellbeing.

3 What is youth for human rights?, Youth for Human Rights.

4 Youth for Climate NL, Youth for Climate.

Report on persons with albinism and the right to education

Written by Caren Thomas and Daphné Rein.

This report is a Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on persons with albinism and the right to education in France.

Image by Babar Ali from Pixabay

Data on persons with albinism

Please provide statistics and information on persons with albinism in your country.

According to the Genesis NGO in France, there are 5,700 persons with albinism in France, including 4,500 persons with oculocutaneous albinism and 1,200 persons with ocular albinism1. 2% of the French population carries the gene, which means that 1,200,000 persons have the gene2. These numbers are from 2014 and are the only statistics and data available in France. Otherwise, there are no statistics from national sources.

Please provide any data on persons with albinism in the education sector, be it primary, secondary, or tertiary level.

As of yet, there is no data regarding persons with albinism in the education sectors in France. Genespoir has ascertained that 80 babies are born each year with albinism in France1. Therefore, we can deduce that each year, 80 persons join the education sector in France.

You can download the full report in this link.



1 Genespoir. “L’albinisme : une maladie rare.” Dossier de Presse. October 2014. p.4 < >

2 Genespoir. “L’albinisme : une maladie rare.” Dossier de Presse. October 2014. p.4

3 Genespoir. “L’albinisme : une maladie rare.” Dossier de Presse. October 2014. p.4

Input for a report on promoting human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals through transparent, accountable and efficient public service delivery

Written by Caren Thomas, Olimpia Guidi and Sterre Merel Krijnen

This report is a Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the state of the issue for India, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Venezuela.

What are the main challenges identified in your country/region about public service delivery?


The main challenges with regards to education as a public service delivery include marginalisation of communities, funding in schools, public-private partnership model, capacity within educational institutions, quality standards, student-teacher ratio and lack of infrastructure are commonly encountered.

The Netherlands

The first challenge is the teacher shortage, causing a practical barrier to the equal delivery of quality education. In the academic year of 2021-2022, primary education experienced a lack of 9.2%, specialised primary education a shortage of 15.6%, secondary education a deficit of 23.1% and specialised secondary education a need of 9.7%. Compared to the preceding year, the scarcity was exacerbated except for technical secondary education.1 The insufficiency has repercussions for learning opportunities through class disruptions, employment of inadequately qualified instructors, and discontinuing of certain subjects.2 This impacts students disparately: schools in larger cities with a more complex student population face higher shortages than the average percentage.3

New Zealand

The main challenges to education as a public service delivery include intercultural education, indigenous communities and its educational policies, child poverty, COVID-19 educational implications and challenges in disability education initiatives.


Venezuela’s enduring economic crisis has left an indelible mark on its educational system. Characterised by hyperinflation, currency devaluation, and a scarcity of resources, this crisis has taken a toll on schools. Beyond crumbling infrastructure, students often attend classes without desks or chairs due to severe funding shortages. The scarcity of textbooks, school supplies, and even necessities like paper and pencils has become the norm, significantly compromising the quality of education provided to the students.

You can download the full report in this link.



1 Van Aalst et al. (2023). De Staat van het Onderwijs. Onderwijsinspectie. 30-31.

2 Onderwijsraad. (2023). Schaarste schuurt. Onderwijsraad. 7.

3 Van Aalst et al. (2023). De Staat van het Onderwijs. Onderwijsinspectie. 30.

Human rights impact of business enterprises in the occupied Palestinian territory

Written by Aurelia Bejenari, Francisca Orrego Galarce, Leyang Fu and Maria Popova

This report is a Submission to United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

Education Under Threat: An EU-funded Palestinian school at risk of destruction. Photo by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid on Flickr.

How do business enterprises affect critical aspects of life, including economic, social and cultural rights in the oPt, particularly that of Palestinians under occupation?

Business enterprises significantly impact socio-cultural rights in Palestine, namely, children’s access to education. Education in Palestine is mandatory between grades 1 and 10; hence, all children between 6 and 15 years old are supposed to be enrolled in school.1

The current unemployment rate in Palestine has a drastic impact on children’s rights to education. Parents’ job loss and the erosion of resilience capacities often result in child school dropout, especially among low-income households, affecting primarily male children and children with low academic performance. Child labour is often used as a mechanism to alleviate families’ poverty.2 In 2018, approximately 4840 children out of 372600 worked full-time in Gaza.3 Thus, the deteriorating socioeconomic situation in Palestine hurts children’s rights and access to education.

Also, businesses operating in Palestinian territory display low compliance with Corporate Social Responsibility, which refers to the moral conduct that a company must follow.4 Following Corporate Social Responsibility is essential, as businesses have a crucial impact on societal well-being, including children’s access to education. Lack of compliance can have negative consequences as companies attempt to increase their profits by violating international law (e.g., the use of child labour). Businesses have played an essential part in reinforcing Israel’s agenda of annexation, control and exploitation.5 This is visible, for example, in children’s participation in Israeli settlement farms.

Palestinian children often work in Israeli settlement farms in the occupied West Bank, constituting a significant abuse of their rights.6 Children as young as 11 years old drop out of school to work under precarious and often dangerous conditions, being exposed to pesticides, dangerous equipment, and extreme heat (40 degrees and even 50 degrees Celsius).7 Children also do not receive medical insurance, having to pay for their medical bills in case of an accident at work. These children work 8 hours daily, six or seven days a week.8 During harvesting season, children work up to 12 hours per day and are heavily pressured by their employers, who do not allow breaks. This constitutes a grave violation of international as well as Israeli and Palestinian law, which states 15 years as the minimum age of employment, and children receive less than the established Israeli minimum wage.9 Children work in the agricultural sector due to the lack of employment opportunities and the need to support their families financially.10 The dire financial situation of many Palestinian families is a consequence of Israel’s occupation, which restricts access to land, water, and other essential means for agriculture. Moreover, the lack of career opportunities in Palestine also affects children’s access to education. Children often drop out of school prematurely as they assume they will inevitably work for Israeli settlements despite their qualifications.11

You can download the full report in this link.



1 Di Maio, M. and Nistico, R. The effect of parental job loss on child school dropout: Evidence from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Journal of Development Economics, 141, p.102375.

2 OCHA. “Child labour increasing in Gaza”, 2019.

3 Ibid.

4 Alhih, M., Tambi, A.M.B.A. and Abueid, A.I.S. Corporate Social Responsibility in Palestinian Public Schools. American Based Research Journal, 7(2018).

5 Farah, M. and Abdallah, M. “Security, business and human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory”. Business and Human Rights Journal, 4(2019), pp.7-31.

6 Human Rights Watch. “Ripe for Abuse: Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank”, 2015.,dangerous%20equipment%2C%20and%20extreme%20heat

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

Current issues in Turkish prisons submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Carolina Silvestre, Dimitrios Chasouras, María Núñez Fontán, Olimpia Guidi, Samantha Orozco, Vahit Uzunlar

Through this report, our organisation aims to address current issues and promote good practices in prison management, focusing on Turkey. In alignment with the objectives set forth by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), this thematic report endeavours to shed light on the prevailing challenges and commendable practices within the Turkish prison system. The report considers the OHCHR’s delineation of eight crucial focus areas, which serves as the foundational framework for our comprehensive assessment of Turkey’s prison management practices through “Call 9.” As a critical contribution to the discourse on human rights and prison conditions, this report aims to offer valuable insights and recommendations for enhancing the well-being and dignity of detainees within Turkey’s correctional facilities, thereby advancing the cause of human rights on a global scale.

For the comprehensive evaluation of prison management in Turkey, “Broken Chalk” has laid down ten critical points of focus that underpin the core objectives of this report. These ten key areas encompass issues of profound importance in understanding prison conditions and human rights in the Turkish correctional system. These points are as follows:

  1. Babies in Turkish Prisons: The presence of infants in correctional facilities raises concerns about the rights and well-being of both the child and the incarcerated parent.
  2. Sick Prisoners in Turkey: Ensuring adequate healthcare and treatment for ill inmates is fundamental to their human rights.
  3. Pregnant Women in Turkish Prisons: The unique needs of expectant mothers behind bars require special attention and care.
  4. Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Turkish Prisons: In light of the global pandemic, examining the impact of COVID-19 on prison populations is of utmost importance.
  5. Deaths Due to Sickness in Turkish Prisons: Understanding the circumstances leading to deaths within prisons is essential to addressing systemic issues.
  6. Parole Right Violations in Turkish Prisons: Ensuring prisoners’ rights to parole are respected and upheld is critical in fair and just incarceration.
  7. Allegations of Torture and Ill-Treatment in Turkish Prisons: Investigating claims of torture and ill-treatment is critical for upholding human rights and international standards.
  8. Exceeding Capacity in Turkish Prisons: Overcrowding poses significant challenges to the well-being of inmates, and its implications are central to this report.
  9. Denial of the Right to Defence in Turkish Prisons: Ensuring access to legal representation and due process is pivotal in safeguarding the rights of those incarcerated.
  10. Access to Health Services in Turkish Prisons: Adequate healthcare services are a fundamental human right for those within the prison system.

    Each of these points has been included in the report to shed light on specific areas of concern within the Turkish prison system, with the ultimate goal of improving conditions, safeguarding human rights, and contributing to international discourse on the subject.

Universal Periodic Review of North Macedonia

This report drafted by Broken Chalk contributes to the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the Republic of North Macedonia. This report focuses exclusively on human rights issues in North Macedonia’s education field.

  • The Balkan country of North Macedonia has made remarkable educational progress since gaining independence in 1991. Despite a decade of complicated development in the years following independence, due firstly to the conflicts in former Yugoslavia and Kosovo and then to tensions with Bulgaria and Greece over its own identity, North Macedonia has developed a more proactive policy over the past decade. The country is one of the founders of the Open Balkan Initiative, which aims to bring the countries of the southern Balkans closer together economically and culturally. The improvement in bilateral relations with Greece in 2018, with the Prespa agreements, has raised hopes of reducing regional tensions. This new climate is favourable for creating new initiatives to strengthen cooperation in culture and education. A few Erasmus programs are offered between North Macedonian and other European universities. University exchanges with neighbouring countries, including members of the Open Balkans initiative and the European Union, are the best way to reduce tensions in the Western Balkans by bringing young people together in dialogue.
  • The country’s literacy rate, although below the European Union average (98.7%), is ahead of other developed countries such as Greece (97.7%) and Singapore (96.8%). 2002, the literacy rate was 96%, compared with 98.1% in 2015. The female literacy rate rose from 90.93% in 1994 to 96.70% twenty years later in 2014. In addition to these results, public spending on education fell from 3. 30% in 2002 to 3.7% in 2016. Moreover, in general, the education budget in North Macedonia has systematically lost since it gained independence in 1991 (4.7% of GDP in 1992). Education is compulsory from the age of 6 up to 15, which is lower than in Western European countries, where schooling lasts, on average, until the age of 16 [i]. School dropout rates vary from one category of the population to another. North Macedonia is ethnically diverse: 26% Albanian, 3.41% Turkish-speaking and 2.53% Roma. The Roma are the primary school dropout victims despite forming only a small ethnic minority.
  • The North Macedonian curriculum is similar to that of OECD countries. Higher education and research and development have received little attention from the North Macedonian public authorities: the budget for higher education has fallen from 1.1% in 2010 to 0.8% in 2021. Higher education is neither free nor fully covered by the state. Students are eligible for grants based not on income but on academic performance. Students are categorised into “state-funded” or “self-funded” groups based on their prior academic performance. State-funded students, representing high-achieving individuals, contribute partially to their education costs and pay administrative fees. Special exemptions exist for disadvantaged groups like disabled individuals, unemployed youths, and security force families, and their number is capped. Self-funded students follow a fixed tuition fee model. Similar fees are applied to students in short-cycle higher education programs. So, even if this system is meritocratic in principle, it excludes students whose families do not have the means to pay for private tuition or don’t attach much importance to reading or culture. [ii]

By Camille Boblet-Ledoyen

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[i] European Commission, “Republic of North Macedonia: Organisation of the education system and structure”, Eurydice Network, 9 June 2022.

[ii] OECD, “The education system in the Republic of North Macedonia”, OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: North Macedonia, June 2019.

[iii] UPR Database, “Recommendations received by North Macedonia”, Cycle 2 (2012 – 2016). 

[iv] Minority Rights, “Minorities and indigenous peoples in Macedonia: Roma”, October 2020.

[v] World Bank, “North Macedonia Needs to Continue Investing in Education and Health to Improve Its Human Capital”, Press release, September 16th, 2020.

[vi] Staletović, Branimir; Pollozhani, Lura, “To resist or not to resist: “Skopje 2014” and the politics of contention in North Macedonia”, East European Politics, November 2022.

[vii] Eurostat, “Enlargement countries – statistics on research and development”, May 2023.

[viii] European Parliament, “Artificial Intelligence: threats and opportunities”, June 2023.

[ix] Elena Kjosevska and Sanja Proseva, “Mental health in schools in Republic of North Macedonia”, SHE Assembly, June 3rd, 2021.

[x] UNICEF, “Exploring the interplay between wellbeing and academic attainment of children”, conference in Skopje, 9 March 2022.

[xi] Aldrup, Karen; Carstensen, Bastian; Klusmann, Uta, “Is Empathy the Key to Effective Teaching? A Systematic Review of Its Association with Teacher-Student Interactions and Student Outcomes”, Educational Psychology Review, March 2022.

Cover image by Nato North Atlantic Treaty Organization via flickr

Universal Periodic Review of Eritrea

This report drafted by Broken Chalk contributes to the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the State of Eritrea. This report focuses exclusively on human rights issues in Eritrea’s education field.

  • During the last decade, Eritrea presented a good evolution in its complex education system. The progress demonstrated in its previous comprehensive evaluation highlighted achievements and improvement areas. The 2012 educational reform, known as the “Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP 2012 – 2017),” made notable strides in equitable access to education, especially for socially disadvantaged groups like nomadic communities and those in rural areas. 
  • Since the end of the civil war 1993, the country has stabilised macro policy objectives for education, and the current National Education Sector Plan of 2018 – 2022 of the Ministry of Education reconfirmed the strategy policies. Focusing on three main areas or pillars for the education system: first, the “development of a population equipped with necessary skills, knowledge and culture for a self-reliant and modern economy”; second, the “development of self-consciousness and self-motivation in the population to fight disease, attendant causes of backwardness and ignorance”; and third “provision of basic education to all, regardless of their ethnic origin, sex and religion”[i].
  • Improvement in various metrics has been reported, such as a 6.6% increase in enrollments in pre-primary schools and an 8.5% rise in the number of such schools. The emphasis on mother-tongue instruction has been pivotal in primary education, with over 349,753 students enrolled nationwide. Eritrea’s educational policy emphasises universal primary education through the mother tongue, promoting language equality and benefiting 349,753 students, 45% of whom are girls. The advances have resulted in a 1.3% rise in rural schools and enhanced opportunities for girls and nomadic communities, with specialised workshops fostering strategy development for these segments.[ii]
  • Among Eritrea’s concerns is enhancing efforts to guarantee girls’ rights to education and provide them with a higher level of education. Expenditure on education has fluctuated over the years, representing 4% of the country’s GDP, underlining the government’s commitment to providing free education at all levels[iii].
  • Concerning gender equality in educational institutions, Eritrea has disclosed a coefficient of 0.91 for gender parity in pre-primary schools, with 1 representing absolute parity. For elementary, middle, and secondary schools, the figures are 0.82, 0.85, and 0.91, respectively, highlighting a pressing need to intensify efforts to secure and enhance girls’ educational rights and access to more advanced academic levels. Nonetheless, challenges remain in gender parity and the quality of education[iv].
  • Eritrea has also made strides in literacy and adult education, realising a 20% decrease in illiteracy facilitated by continual workshops and programs promoting literacy. Based on the data from 2016, the program witnessed participation from over 17 million adults, with a successful 75% completion rate[v].
  • Eritrea recorded enrollments exceeding 81,000 students in secondary education in the 2017-2018 academic year. Within this educational level, three crucial goals have been established: to optimise university entrance opportunities, to foster social cohesion amongst new generations, and to construct a competitive environment conducive to high academic achievement and merit competition. Despite the efforts to increase access to education and improve the opportunities and the quality of the system at all levels for the schools, the country reported in 2016 that over 220,000 children aged 5 to 13 years old remain out of schools, with the rage to 73% of pre-primary school and 27% from middle school[vi].
  • The Early Childhood Development Program enabled extensive reform that got advancements in fostering early intervention, leading to a 6.6% rise in enrollments in pre-primary schools, with the total number of such schools growing by 8.5%. This accounted for 47,196 students, with girls making up 48.7% of enrollees. The initiative also saw an increase in rural coverage from 64.2% to 65%, an 18.5% rise primarily attributed to the pivotal role of the Rural Community Care Givers Scheme. The national workshop on nomadic education has been instrumental in developing and applying strategies in these communities. Eritrea has also established progress for literacy and adult education, achieving a 20% reduction in illiteracy and ongoing workshops to drive the project’s progress[vii][viii].
  • Furthermore, regardless of the country’s advances and progress in education overall since the end of the civil war and the advances in the last decades, the country presents urgent issues on their policies that ensure equity of access to schooling all around the country. The challenges surround wide disparities in the level of participation among the different regions (Zobas) of the country, gender gaps, low level of involvement of children with disabilities, access to education for children that are part of nomadic tribes and for the ones who live geographic areas with difficult access[ix].

By Daniel Ordoñez

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[i]  Partnership, Golbal. 2018. “ERITREA EDUCATION SECTOR PLAN.” P. 25

[ii]  Assembly, UN General. 2018. “Universal Periodic Review​ – Third Cycle – Eritrea.” P. 11

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v]  Ibid.

[vi] Partnership, Golbal. 2018. “ERITREA EDUCATION SECTOR PLAN.” P. 14

[vii] Assembly, UN General. 2018. “Universal Periodic Review​ – Third Cycle – Eritrea.”  P. 11

[viii] Watch, Human Rights. 2019. “Eritrea: Conscription System’s Toll on Education.”

[ix] Mengesha, Tedros Sium, and Mussie T Tessema. 2019. “Eritrean Education System: A  Critical Analysis and Future Research Directions.” International Journal of Education 11 (1): 1–17. doi:10.5296/ije.v11i1.14471. P. 3

Cover image by aboodi vesakaran via Pexels

Universal Periodic Review of Cyprus

This report drafted by Broken Chalk contributes to the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the Republic of Cyprus. This report focuses exclusively on human rights issues in Cyprus’ education field.

  • Cyprus has turned the island into a place renowned for conflicts due to the differences between the two central communities, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. In 1974, a Greek coup against the President of the country and Turkey’s military invasion and partition of the island led to the forceful division and completed the physical separation of the two central communities. (i) This situation and especially the consequences of the Turkish invasion affected every sector, such as the economy, the society, and the education system. 
  • Nowadays, two education systems exist in the country. The structural organisation of Turkish schools is similar to the Greek one. However, there are a lot of differences. The Republic of Cyprus, as a member of the European Union since 2004, complies with European standards about education. Compulsory education lasts for ten years and four months, starting from the age of 4 years (pre-preliminary education) and extending to the age of 15 years (end of lower secondary education). Public education, namely preliminary, primary, and secondary education, is free for all from the age of 4 years to 18 years. However, there are many private institutions. Furthermore, public tertiary (non-university level) education is free. As for public higher education (undergraduate level), it is free for Cypriots and citizens from the European Union, as the government fully pays the fees. [i]
  • As for the northern part of Cyprus, Turkey controls it, and the educational system is similar to the Turkish one. Education is compulsory and free from age 5 to 17 years. Higher education includes all the institutions after secondary education. The system consists of 5 private universities and one semi-public state academy. [ii] Under these circumstances, both educational systems of Cyprus have been criticised for supporting the idea of the other as an enemy.

By Alexia Kapsabeli

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[i] Cyprus Eurydice European Union Last accessed 3 September 2023

[ii] Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Turkiye “Study in North Cyprus”   Last accessed on 5 September 2023

Cover image by EUCyprus via Wikimedia Commons

Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros

This report drafted by Broken Chalk contributes to the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the Union of the Comoros. This report focuses exclusively on human rights issues in Comoros’s education field.

  • Comoros, formally known as the Union of The Comoros, is an independent country made up of three islands in Southeastern Africa, located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean.
  • Comoros stands as one of the most economically disadvantaged and underdeveloped countries globally. The three islands contend with insufficient transportation connections, a youthful and swiftly growing population, and a scarcity of natural resources.
  • There are two educational systems concurrently in Comoros: l’École Quranic (Koranic School) and l’École Officielle (Official School). Almost all children attend a Quranic school for 2 or 3 years before beginning primary school. L’Enseignement elémentaire(Primary school) is six years, starting at age six.
  • In Comoros, it is mandated by law that every child must undergo eight years of schooling from the age of seven to fifteen. This education system consists of six years dedicated to primary education, catering to students aged six to twelve, succeeded by an additional seven years of secondary school education.
  • Today, the education system comprises the formal school, taught mainly in French, and the Koranic school due to the extended majority of Comorans being Sunni Muslims.
  • Often, due to financial issues, many families send their children to Koranic schools, where students can receive an Islamic education for free.
  • This report first explores the main issues in the educational field in Comoros, reflecting on the recommendations the country received in the 3rd cycle UN UPR review in 2019 and its progress since. Finally, Broken Chalk offers some suggestions to Comoros on further improving its human rights in the educational field.

By Leticia Cox

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Letter by the High Commissioner to the Foreign Minister, 2018.

Cover image by aboodi vesakaran via Pexels

Universal Periodic Review of the Dominican Republic

This report drafted by Broken Chalk contributes to the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review for The Dominican Republic. This report focuses exclusively on human rights issues in Domincan Republic’s education field.

  • The Dominican Republic overcame many challenges over the last two decades to achieve its enhanced socioeconomic status. Vital reforms and policies allowed the country to prevail over the obstacles of the 2003-4 economic crisis, with an improvement that halved the number of people living in poverty today.[i]
  • As of 2023, among the approximately 11 million people inhabiting the Dominican Republic, 2.9 million students have enrolled in public or private schools. The development strategies that reinforced children’s access to education result from a joint effort with the participation of the government, international organisations, and personal and academic sectors. [ii]
  • One of the most significant accomplishments of recent years is that compulsory education was extended to 13 years instead of the previously mandated eight years. Three levels of the educational structure in the Dominican Republic – pre-primary (3 years), primary (8 years), and secondary level (4 years) – are also being offered free of charge, except the 4th level, higher education.[iii]
  • Under SDGs and the “National Development Strategy 2010-30”, authorities of the Dominican Republic pledged to ensure education for all regardless of gender, financial status, or territorial placement.[iv] To boost literacy standards, multiple projects have focused on the foundational development of children. These frameworks somewhat weakened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the Dominican Republic took severe account of the modernisation of digital learning and supplied necessary technological equipment for residents in due time.[v]
  • While acknowledging all past efforts, Broken Chalk further aims to highlight educational injustices that continue negatively affecting many Dominican Republic communities.
  • Despite the promising enrolment rates, the number of drop-outs has been rising since 2009. In 2018, only 75% of children in primary education finished 4th, and 63% completed 6th grade. Insufficient secondary education attainment creates inequalities and reduces skilled human capital in the labour market.[vi]
  • Girls’ education is likewise at risk, as the lower secondary school completion rate of 74.5%  for women was below the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) average of 83% in 2021.[vii] Their studies usually end due to gender-based stereotypes, a high proportion of teenage pregnancies, and sexual harassment.[viii]
  • Thousands of Dominican children of foreign descent – primarily Haitian – were rendered stateless in 2013, and despite the national regularisation plan 2018, many still face discriminatory treatment. Unable to reclaim their citizenship, these children are also being denied an education.[ix]
  • Broken Chalk urges the Dominican Republic to uphold its domestic and international human rights obligations by considering the issues and their subsequent recommendations in the present report.

By Abigel Farkas

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  • [i] IMF. “Dominican Republic: 2023 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Dominican Republic”.
  • International Monetary Fund, Country Report No. 2023/225, 22 June, (2023): p. 4.
  • [ii] Dede, Chris. “Episode 150 | How the Dominican Republic Overcame Educational Challenges of the Pandemic.” Silver Lining for Learning, May 7, (2023).
  • [iii] Diaz, Katia. “COVID-19 and Digital Learning in the Dominican Republic: Implications for Marginalized Communities.” Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE), Teachers College, Columbia University 23, no. 2 (2021): p. 144–45.–vol-24-issue-2/859-233-PB.pdf.
  • [iv] OECD, ed. “Latin American Economic Outlook 2019: Development in Transition.” OECD Publishing, (2019): p. 210.
  • [v] Diaz, Katia. “Uncovering Educational Inequalities: COVID-19 Digital Learning Strategies in the Dominican Republic.” Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE), Teachers College, Columbia University 24, no. 2 (2022): 151–62.–vol-24-issue-2/859-233-PB.pdf.
  • [vi] OECD. Multi-Dimensional Review of the Dominican Republic: Towards Greater Well-Being for All. OECD ILibrary. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, (2022): p. 71-72.
  • [vii] The World Bank. n.d. “Dominican Republic Gender Landscape.” World Bank Gender Data Portal.
  • [viii] Núñez, Isamar Marte. “Why Girls Aren’t Learning in the Dominican Republic?”, April 18, (2022).
  • [ix] Freedom House. “Dominican Republic: Freedom in the World 2022 Country Report,” (2022).

Cover image by Phyrexian via Wikimedia