The state spent RD $112.5 billion on education
SANTO DOMINGO. The Government spent RD$112.5 billion during 2014 on educational activities, which represents 97.1% of the current budget for that sector at the end of that year, according to the functional classification, as revealed in a statistical report published by the Directorate General of Budget (DIGEPRES).
Originally, the amount assigned to this function was RD$118.0 billion, which according to the projections carried out at the beginning of that year represented 4.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nevertheles,s this amount was cut by RD$2.1 billion, leaving RD$115.8 billion, of which they managed to spend 97.1%.
Even so, compared with the re-estimate of the GDP carried out by the Central Bank, which takes as a reference the year 2007 (which before was 1991), the amount executed comes to 4% of GDP.
In its manual regarding budgetary classifications, the DIGEPRES defines the functional classification as that which serves as “a source of general information regarding the nature of the functions of the government, and regarding the proportion of public expenditures that are pointed to each function in particular.”
This classification is of “interest for the general public, for high ranking officials in the legislative and executive branches,” because it corrects the dispersion of expenditures by means of its grouping of the expenditures carried out by public institutions, in accordance with the functions that are assigned these resources, it explains.
In other words, the functional classification of expenditures reveals the real dimension of the financial effort carried out by the state in order to reach an objective, in this case education which, in an “disperse” manner, is carried out by the Ministry of Education (Minerd), the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCyT), and other entities that receive public funds for this same function.
In the institutional environment corresponding to the Minerd, which regulates basic education, the budget expended amounted to RD$105.98 billion, which represents 97.1% of what was assigned for the year.
However, this budget item does not reflect with precision the financial effort for education carried out by the Government through the Minerd. This is so, because as an institution, this ministry carried out other expenditures that do not correspond with the function of education, such as the case of the expenditure in publicity and propaganda, or the building a kiosk at a cost of RD$18.5 million in the last Book Fair, for example.
For 2014, the total of the budgets assigned to both ministries was RD$120.3 billion of which 93.5% was spent in order to finance educational activity (functional classification). The remaining RD$7.8 billion (6.5%), or was not spent, or was spent in activities that were not educational.
During 2014 it was frequent to see in both the print and televised media expensive propaganda in which the Minerd announced the inaugurations of schools and schoolrooms by President Danilo Medina in each corner of the country.
The General Law of Education (Law 66 – 97) establishes in its article 198 that “the yearly public expenditure in education will set aside a proportion of up to 80% for running expenses, and at least 20% for capital expenditures.” It adds that in case the educational development plans of the country demand greater capital investments “the state can seek financing or external assistance for which they will take the necessary measures.”
However, because of what happened last year, it would seem that the Law appoints a percentage of the yearly public expenditure on propaganda and publicity, that will be taken from the investment or of running expenses ( which generally is to pay salaries of the teachers and the supplies and services necessary for teaching).
Last March 2, in an article written by Jenny Torres, of the Coalition for a Dignified Education (CED), the contrast between propaganda and reality in the educational sector were laid down: “Schoolrooms inaugurated whose libraries are empty of books,” “dining rooms that do not have the capacity to attend the number of students in the school,” “the nonexistence of workshops,” “the nonexistence of a curriculum to cover the additional hours,” are just some of the observations made by the CED in a report.
In the report they detail the cases of 51 schools, the majority belonging to the extended school day model, whose inauguration was announced with expensive propaganda, “but dragging along the same evils that we had previously such as student overpopulation in classrooms and the deficit of professors per number of students in each school.”
What was programmed
On 4 March, the CED declared to the media that the expenditure on propaganda and publicity carried out by the Minerd during 2014, amounted to a quantity of money that is 42 times the amount planned. They programmed RD$15 million and they spent RD$634.7 million.
In the middle of January, the Minister of Education, Carlos Amarante Baret, declared to the media that in 2014 this educational ministry invested RD$105.98 billion, equal to 97% of the assigned budget, and corresponding to 4% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
March 16. 2015
Category: DR News |