Brief Description of the Education System in the Dominican Republic

Levels and Cycles in Education in the Dominican Republic

The educational levels in the Dominican Republic are divided into:

  • Initial. This level is divided into three cycles: 0-2 years, 3-4 years (from 0 to 4 only in private institutions) and a third cycle that is obligatory for all 5 year olds. There are almost 240,000 students at this level.
  • Elementary (Basic). This level is obligatory and is divided into two cycles: the first cycle (grades 1-4) and second cycle (grades 5-8). There are approximately 575,000 students at this level.
  • Secondary. This level is not obligatory, but is offered by the State. It is organized into two cycles. The first is common for all students. The second cycle is classified by modalities: General, Technical Professional and Arts. There are almost 1.2 million students at this level in addition to over 140,000 in a modality specifically for adults.
  • Higher. The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT) is in charge of this level. It is structured into three kinds of Institutions of Higher Education (IES): Technical Institutes of Higher Studies, Specialized Institutes for Higher Studies and Universities. The Technical Institutes of Higher Studies only offer two and three-year technical programs. The Specialized Institutes for Higher Studies offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in the specializations for which they were created. The universities can grant undergraduate and graduate degrees, including doctorates. There are 42 Institutions of Higher Education in the Dominican Republic with over 435,000 students.

National Diagnostic and Obligatory Tests

In the Dominican Republic a national diagnostic test is given at the beginning of grade 4. It is intended to evaluate competency in reading comprehension and Mathematics in accordance with achievement indicators. The results of this test are used to take actions that will contribute to improving the learning process. Also, questionnaires are given to principals, teachers and students to collect information on the socioeconomic context and opportunities for learning.

There are also obligatory National Tests given at the end of each educational level. Those tests evaluate achievement in Spanish, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences. There are three opportunities to take them in Secondary Education and two in Elementary Education. The results have a weight of 30 % on the final grade that determines whether or not a student will be promoted.

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