The Dominican Republic is among those with the highest school dropout rates after the pandemic
Photo from Diario Libre
Santo Domingo.- The intentional delay of the return to the classroom during the pandemic is seen as an unwise and catastrophic measure, according to a report by UNESCO on “Technology in Education” for the year 2023. The report highlights a relationship between prolonged school closures and increased rates of non-enrollment. In the Dominican Republic, early childhood schooling decreased by around 25% in 2022 compared to 2020.
The country began a gradual return to public classrooms on April 6, 2021, after over a year of confinement, and only two and a half months from the end of the school year. This gradual return initially included 2,000 centers in 38 municipalities with the lowest COVID-19 incidence.
A survey in February 2021 showed that 51.04% of parents believed their children learned less with distance classes during the pandemic, and 4.66% thought they did not learn anything.
The Dominican Republic postponed the return to school for more than 30 weeks, while some countries, like the Philippines, postponed it for up to 70 weeks, but with less impact on school dropout. The Dominican Republic had one of the highest percentages of school dropouts at both primary and secondary levels.
The country, along with Nepal, the Philippines, Albania, Oman, and Uruguay, experienced a twenty percent overall decrease in participation rates, showing that school dropout was not necessarily linked to income levels.
UNESCO also advised governments to reassess the presence of digital technologies in classrooms, such as mobile phones and tablets, as they can potentially hinder the educational process by causing distractions and negatively affecting learning outcomes. Studies suggest a negative relationship between the use of digital technologies and educational outcomes, especially at the university level.