Boys and Girls of School-Going Age
Among the priority problems affecting boys, girls and adolescents between 6 and 14 years of age are those related to the rights of the child to quality education, protection against violence, child labour, abuse and commercial sexual exploitation.
Through a National Consultation on the Rights of the Child carried out in 2002, 227 children between the ages of 6 and 12 spoke of the issues of greatest concern to them. Among these the most mentioned were family violence, lack of communication, the load of domestic chores, violence and insecurity in the barrios where they live, household poverty (which according to ECLAC estimates represents approximately 55.8% of this population) and lack of responsibility of teachers who do not fulfil their working hours.
According to information from the SSE, access to educational services has increased during the past five years, in particular at the basic and higher levels. The increase in educational coverage is related to the increase in public resources oriented towards the sector, as well as the implementation of programmes oriented to strengthening the initial education system improving the coverage and quality of basic education and the introduction of the school breakfast.
There is however inequality in access to education between the urban and rural areas. The rural areas are at a disadvantage due to the distances at which schools are located in some areas.
In addition, the internal efficiency of the system, measured by the repetition, dropout and over-age rates is still low. Therefore, there still are obstacles that limit the provision of public quality education services for the children and adolescents of the country.
According to data from the SSE for the period 2004-2005, despite the fact that 92.7% of all children and adolescents are enrolled in Basic Education (first to eighth grade), there is a problem of repetition, especially after the third grade (14.6%) since there is automatic promotion from the first and second grades. There is also a problem dropouts with 6.4% of children and adolescents dropping out of school early 6.4 in many cases to devote themselves to paid work.
Repetition and dropout affect more children in the rural zones and marginal urban areas. The high rate of repetition generates the problem of over-aged children in the education system, especially in the rural sector, where 44% of the children of the first basic cycle (Grades 1 to 5) are three or more years older than the appropriate age, whereas for the second basic cycle (Grades 6 to 8) 60% of the students are not of the appropriate age. The problem of over-aged children is a consequence of late enrolment and temporary dropouts. (Source: Statistics Department of the Secretariat of State of Education (SSE), 2005).
Health and Nutrition
Data from this programme show that the main reasons for consultations are respiratory, gastrointestinal (diarrhoea) illnesses, parasites and anaemia.
Notwithstanding the existence of this school health programme, there is a need to expand the epidemiological profile of this population group and not only those attending school.
Situations of Risk
(Source: Child Labour National Survey/Santo Domingo, DO:ILO/IPEC; Secretariat of State of Labour, 2000).
On the other hand, a study carried out in 2002, from a sample of 118 minors exploited sexually and commercially in the National District and the city of Puerto Plata, shows that 14.4% of them could not read or write, and that 13.6% had no schooling. Results also showed that their first sexual relations occurred at a very early age, often resulting from sexual abuse.
Indicators of Education Effectiveness
There are 4 basic indicators that measure the internal effectiveness of the Educational System:
Academic performance -
Drop out -