An RD$3.5 billion budget for teaching in new schools with longer school day
SANTO DOMINGO. In order to give classes in the 1,100 new school that will begin the extended school day, the system needs 8,500 new teachers, and they have budgeted around RD$3.5 billion to deal with these new employees in addition to the other fixed expenses.
This information was offered by the Minister of Education, Carlos Amarante Baret, and a team of officials that accompanied him to the Dialogo Libre, sponsored by the Diario Libre. These officials were Luis Matos and Saturnino de los Santos, deputy ministers; the director of Inafocam, Denia Burgos; the director of Inabie, Rene Jaquez, and the director of financial programming, David Lapaix.
Matos reported that the Ministry of Education currently has 75,000 teachers. The total payroll of the personnel that works for the Ministry, according to Lapaix, represents 38% of the Education budget, which for this year is RD$109 billion, an important weight for the finances of the Ministry, which the official says is the “lowest in America.”
For the next school year, the government foresees the integration of 1,100 new schools into the program of the extended school day. This will bring the total to nearly 1,700 schools that will have classes from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon, reaching 800,000 students.
The Minister of Education said that 579 traditional schools, that do not have dining halls or kitchens, were taken into the extended school day last school year. “Because of this, there are some photos that at the beginning caught children eating at their desks, and they even published some photos of the children sleeping,” he said.
Of these 579 schools, they have plans to build dining halls and kitchens, said the official, after carrying out the required tenders.
The presidential goal is that for 2016 80% of the students of the country, at all levels and varieties, are integrated in the model of the extended day with the objective of improving teaching.
“The President of the Republic”-he added-”when he thought up the extended day, did so starting from the several premises or several social realities; high dropout rates, when our children are getting close to the end of primary school and that this coverage falls of in the middle schools,” he pointed out.
Amarante Baret, a lawyer who has about a year as the Minister of Education, said that he felt that to have a student in the extended day resolves the problem of child care, food and security for the parents and also covers the curriculum better.
In the educational programs that are still using the regular days, the minister says that in the secondary level they had better receive six hours of classes, but “we are giving three”, and in primary school they should have five hours and “we give two and a half hours on average.” The official referred to the fact that this situation and others that have happened over time, brought as consequences that the teaching in the public schools has entered a crisis level.
“This forced the middle class to say: I am taking my kids to the private school. The private schools flourished, which is permitted, and right now represents 26% and has something more than 600,000 students at the national level,” he said.
Private schools up for sale
The minister revealed that several private schools for the lower middle class have proposed that the Ministry of Education buy them out because of the competition that the curriculum and the program of the schools with the extended day is creating for them.
“The truth is that the extended school day is in this first phase is not made for the 600,000 students in private schools, but rather for those in the public schools,” he said.
Amarante Baret indicated that this means that the people are perceiving the commitment of the government with education. “This is causing public education to be re-evaluated in terms of ‘where to register my children?” he said.
How are the day care centers going?
For 16 August 2016 the administration of Danilo Medina is trying to have delivered 200 child care centers. “Right now we have 73 that are under construction. We are thinking of raffling off another 100 in August that will be constructed during 2015,” said the minister.
He recognized that there are some centers in Greater Santo Domingo that have not been able to get started because of the difficulty of getting the land. “We built a school in Capotillo and the value of land went up. We vacated a whole block, it cost three times what the school cost,” he explained. These centers will take care of children between 1 and 4 years of age.
Category: DR News |