Educa, the education-oriented non-governmental organization, released findings of a recent study that focused on the quality of education in the country. The conclusion is that while progress has been made, the DR continues to do poorly in academic achievement compared to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. The study revealed the public school students in the country have not yet met minimum acceptable learning standards.
The findings, of the Third Terce regional study, Progresses in Education 2015, presented on 7 July 2016 by Educa, consisted of evaluations of students from 15 Latin American and the Caribbean nations.
In the study, the DR scored the lowest levels for reading, mathematics and sciences in third and sixth grade of regional countries. What makes these finding more troubling is that countries with lower levels of economic development and less average spending per student than the Dominican Republic, managed to score higher than the DR in the education assessments. However, the study did reveal that the Dominican Republic posted the highest percent improvement in academic achievement compared to the previous results. Since 2013, the government has been investing 4% of GDP in education, an increase of more than 70% compared to 2012.
The study confirms that the country has seen advances in universal access to elementary education and there is a progressive in the number of students attending high school.
The report recommends strengthening teacher training programs, including early childhood education modules. The Ministry of Education should conduct regular evaluations of their personnel and continue to increase access to early education, while expanding the model of the extended school day, especially in areas with a high percentage of families that are socially vulnerable.
Jose Marmol, president of Educa, alerted for the government to use the resources necessary to avoid that children that participate in the extended school programs perform the same as those that previously received less class hours.
The study was designed and prepared by Educa with technical and editorial support from the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C, the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union AECID program.