The Education Sector in the Dominican Republic: Overachievements and Underperformance

Nov 2006
This study analyzes the challenges the Dominican Republic faces to increase educational levels, particularly of the poor, making the case that, in the regional context, the Dominican Republic educational system is simultaneously an overachiever in education enrollment and an underperformer in attainments. Where things fall apart is in turning this attendance record into years of schooling, a very rough firstpass measure of skills. The main reason for divergent performance (high enrollment but very low attainment) is high repetition rates. The Dominican Republic's main challenge is to understand and address the causes of repetition and weak progression. This will most likely require a host of interventions to improve equity of access to good-quality education both in rural and urban marginal areas and to ease supply bottlenecks in the second cycle of primary education in rural areas and in secondary education in both urban and rural areas. This will require a sustainable increase in both the level and efficiency of public expenditures on primary and, even more, on secondary education.