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. www.imf.org/en/Publications/CR/Issues/2023/06/22/Dominican-Republic-2023-Article-IV-Consultation-Press-Release-Staff-Report-and-Statement-by-535083.
  • [ii] Dede, Chris. “Episode 150 | How the Dominican Republic Overcame Educational Challenges of the Pandemic.” Silver Lining for Learning, May 7, (2023). https://silverliningforlearning.org/episode-150-how-the-dominican-republic-overcame-educational-challenges-of-the-pandemic/.
  • [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. https://www.tc.columbia.edu/media/centers-amp-labs/cice/pdfs/special-issue-2022–vol-24-issue-2/859-233-PB.pdf.
  • [iv] OECD, ed. “Latin American Economic Outlook 2019: Development in Transition.” OECD Publishing, (2019): p. 210. https://www.oecd.org/dev/americas/Dominican-Republic-Country-Note-Leo-2019.pdf.
  • [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. https://www.tc.columbia.edu/media/centers-amp-labs/cice/pdfs/special-issue-2022–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. https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/560c12bf-en.pdf?expires=1692701204&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=007DC625A9660F225058A2679011AFAA.
  • [vii] The World Bank. n.d. “Dominican Republic Gender Landscape.” World Bank Gender Data Portal. https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/099934406302284977/pdf/IDU03bd707a80b5e204a9b098e0096a5c56a8e2b.pdf.
  • [viii] Núñez, Isamar Marte. “Why Girls Aren’t Learning in the Dominican Republic?” www.unicef.org, April 18, (2022). https://www.unicef.org/dominicanrepublic/en/node/2026.
  • [ix] Freedom House. “Dominican Republic: Freedom in the World 2022 Country Report,” (2022). https://freedomhouse.org/country/dominican-republic/freedom-world/2022.

Cover image by Phyrexian via Wikimedia