There is 8 years of compulsory schooling for children between the ages of 7 and 14 in the Dominican Republic.
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Almost all children attend elementary school, 66% of school age attends 4-year high school, and 11% take higher education. There are a number of universities and colleges in the country.
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The first university was established in 1538 and was the first university in America. Most universities and colleges in the country today are private.
16% of the adult population is estimated to be illiterate.
In 2001, a court of appeals in Santo Domingo paused a lawsuit against President Salvador Jorge Blanco, who was accused of corruption.
After a wave of crime and abductions, President Mejía sent the military on the streets to curb developments that threatened the country’s tourism – its main source of foreign currency.
In November 2001, a plane from American Airlines crashing from New York to Santo Domingo crashed into suburban Queens. Among the 255 killed, 150 were Dominicans.
Finally, in July 2002, Joaquin Balaguer, aged 95, died. He had been the president of the country in 20 of these.
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After several months of demonstrations, a general strike was carried out in November 2003. Police arrested several hundred and six were killed. Mejía declared that he would respond again “without pity” to the disruption of the country’s law and order.
In December 2003, Hurricane Odette caused 10,000 people to be evacuated. The Civil Defense urged people in the vulnerable areas to leave their homes, but most had nowhere else to seek refuge. The threat of hurricanes is constant in the country, and especially for the people of the coastal areas.
On May 17, 2004, PLD candidate Leonel Fernández Reyna was elected president already in the first round of the presidential election. Fernández thanked his counterpart, Hipólito Mejía, for declaring his final defeat, and at the same time honored to be able to take over the government. The first figures from the Supreme Election Commission indicated that Mejías PRD had gained 31% of the vote. Fernandez’s electoral victory was a clear expression of the Dominicans’ punishment on Mejía, who could not cope with the severe economic crisis that occurred in 2003 when one of the country’s largest banks collapsed.
That same month, heavy rains for two weeks caused the rivers to cross their banks and large areas were flooded, costing over 500 dead and 13,000 missing. The corn harvest was completely lost and thousands of Dominicans lost their homes. Jimani in the country’s southeast corner was worst hit, but the climate disaster also hit Haiti.
In May 2005, the representative of the ILO International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) stated that 436,000 children aged 5-17 are allowed to use their labor force daily in the Dominican Republic. The most difficult conditions for child laborers are found in the countryside, where 18.4% of children doing adult work are located. Many children start working in agriculture as young as 5-6 years old. At this age, working affects both their health and their development.