Education minister argues in vain

Education Minister Alejandrina German is not optimistic that her budget allocation will be increased. She is lobbying for a total of RD$33 billion. Hacienda Minister Vicente Bengoa is blaming the International Monetary Fund for the education budget restrictions. The Ministry of Education was allocated RD$31.5 billion in the 2008 budget, up from its 2007 budget of RD$26 billion.

Maria Teresa Cabrera, president of the Dominican Teachers Association (ADP) said the cuts would hinder the execution of many planned projects.

In related news, the European Commission announced that it would be injecting EUR20 million into the Dominican budget to improve the quality of education. This amount is part of a total package of EUR48.2 million which the EU will donate between 2007 and 2010.

In order to qualify for the funds for education, the European Union requests that the country: 1) comply with technical and structural management in agreement with the IMF; 2) increase political dialogue between the government and the donating entity; 3) increase the eight grade completion rate; 4) hire teachers through certification/standardization or contests; 5) create a computer system for resources in line with the National accounts; 6) provide education for public employees at the central, district and regional level in the area of budget development; and 7) create a new organizational structure at the Ministry of Education level.