Santo Domingo: Teachers march to demand 4 per cent for education
Teachers from the Dominican Republic have been holding demonstrations throughout November to demand 4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) be spent on education in 2011.
Dominican Republic’s teachers, led by EI member, the Dominican Teachers’ Association (ADP), have held demonstrations outside the National Congress to call for the implementation of a law that guarantees four per cent of GDP to education.
Education Law 66-97, which was approved because of intensive campaigning by the ADP, has been systematically ignored for more than ten years, and the education budget of the Dominican Republic has not risen above two per cent of GDP.
The request comes at a time of economic boom for the country, which has reached high levels of economic growth in recent times. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast 5.5 per cent growth in GDP, in stark contrast to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, whose average rate of economic growth is just 1.5 per cent.
ADP President, Radhames Camacho, explained: “We have studied the budget in detail and we have made a proposal for the legislators to take resources from other lower priority spending items to assign them to education, which is so necessary for development.”
ADP Executive Committee and EI Executive Board member, María Teresa Cabrera, said that the demonstrations have been considerably big she hoped the parliamentarians would take heed and make the right decision.
Application of Law 66-97 would mean a RD$40,000 million (818 million Euros) increase in the 2011 education budget. At present, an announcement from the President of the Commission studying the budget indicates that they will present a change that would add RD$1,000 million (20.4 million Euros) to the budget, to be taken from the President of the Republic’s budget and the Second Santo Domingo Metro Line.
In Cabrera’s view: “This amount is not enough and we will continue mobilising members and the public to maintain the campaign until we achieve our objective.”