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Thousands of Haitian children cross the border to study in DR schools

Dominican schools receive thousands of Haitian children who live in border towns. The children were enrolled in schools located in the border provinces of Montecristi, Dajabon, Santiago Rodriguez, Elias Pina, Bahoruco, Pedernales after the 2010 earthquake devastated their schools. A report in Listin Diario mentions that the students study in both public and private schools with all the benefits granted to Dominican students by the Ministry of Education, which can include free textbooks, notebooks, backpacks, and school supplies.

Border authorities allow the children to cross at any time on the sole condition that they wear school uniform and are accompanied by their parents if they are under the age of eight.

As reported in El Nacional the schools are located in several cities and towns, including Montecristi, Pedernales, Jimani, Comendador, Restauracion, Loma de Cabrera, Rio Limpio, Guayajayuco and Mencia.

The government says that more than 34,158 children born in Haiti or residents in Haiti are studying in the pre-school to high school grades. A total of 1,503 students were registered in pre-school in Dominican schools, 21,521 in elementary, 3,573 in middle school.

The Ministry of Education exempts the students from having to present ID documentation through 8th grade, and they may be admitted to a school by just giving their names and those of their parents. For high school students (9th+) the students need to present their birth certificate.

El Nacional reports that the schools admit the children half an hour late, until 8:30am and 2:30pm for the afternoon session taking into account the long distances they have to cover to get to the schools from Haiti.

Shefalia Valcin Pierre, an 11-year old girl from Ouanaminthe who is in 4th grade at the Jose Ramon Lopez public elementary school in Dajabon said when she finishes high school she will travel to Santo Domingo to study medicine at the UASD, the state university. The state university treats Haitians and Dominicans equally and does not charge students from the Dominican public school system or the Haitian public school system for tuition.

Another child, Dahiana Maldonado, 11, the daughter of a Haitian furniture-maker, told Listin Diario that every day they walk eight kilometers from Anse-a-Pitre to Pedernales to study at the Hernando Gorjon School. At that school, of 1,228 students, 304 are Haitians or children of Haitian residents in the Pedernales barrios. The school principal, Wilton Alberto Feliz Perez, says that he has given instructions for the Haitian children to be given double school breakfasts. Feliz says that no one in Pedernales denies a child admission on grounds of nationality.

Source: DR1,

Category: DR News |

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Last updated October 22, 2016 at 2:00 PM
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