52% more Haitians registered in border public schools in past five years

The Dominican Republic public schools have received an increase in Cryeole-speaking students in recent years. Thousands of new Haitian immigrants have registered their children in public schools in the Dominican Republic, especially in border towns.

As reported, the enrollment of Haitian students in public schools across the five border provinces of the Dominican Republic has surged by 52% over the past five years. The Haitian students, be they documented or not, study here for free and receive the same free uniforms, textbooks, tablets and computers as regular documented students and Dominican students.

According to Ministry of Education statistics, the number of Haitian students registered increased from 12,988 in the 2018-2019 academic year to 19,785 in the 2022-2023 school year. In contrast, Dominican student enrollment decreased by 11.37% during the same period.

Nationwide, Haitian student enrollment rose by 83.04%, solidifying their position as the largest foreign nationality group in Dominican schools. In the border provinces of Dajabón, Elías Piña, Independencia, Montecristi, and Pedernales, Haitian students are increasing in numbers, and many are new arrivals.

Elías Piña stands out as the province with the highest number of Haitian students, increasing from 4,426 in 2018 to 6,202 in 2023. Independencia also saw growth, rising from 2,972 to 4,471 students over the same period. Montecristi surpassed Independencia starting in the 2020-2021 school year, growing from 3,182 to 4,734 students by 2022-2023.

Ancell Shecker, Deputy Minister of Technical and Pedagogical Affairs at the Ministry of Education, emphasized that the presence of foreign students in Dominican schools reflects global migration trends. She underscored that education is a fundamental right and affirmed that the Dominican educational system ensures access for all students, regardless of their migratory status.

A large number of the Haitians that study at Dominican public schools are likely to remain in the country after learning Spanish in school. Teachers in many border public schools express the difficulties in teaching the Haitians and that many are slow in learning Spanish and integrating with Dominican children. Other schools have mainly Haitian students and Cryeole is the language in which lessons are taught.

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4 July 2024