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Dominican Republic - Preprimary & Primary Education

program kinder computer including

The Pre-Kinder and Kinder programs of the Dominican Republic were initiated by Rene Klang de Guzman, the wife of Antonio Guzman, in 1981. While this program never developed much beyond a pilot program, the organization for the welfare of children and their rights, CONANI, has lasted for over 20 years.

At the time of the midway assessment of the Plan Decenal in August 2000, approximately 23 percent of eligible children were in preschool (including those in mandatory kindergarten). The education department's goal is to increase that figure to 50 percent.

While the Kinder program is already mandated by law, very few schools have begun to create these levels due to a lack of classroom space and qualified personnel. While some universities have responded by opening training for this level, it will take years before an adequate number of people can be trained to fill the national demand.

Beyond the revamping of the curriculum for basic and middle schools, the most significant innovations of the Plan Decenal were likely the standardization of the school calendar to 42 weeks of five-hour days and the addition of national standardized tests for the fourth, eighth, and twelfth grade levels. These tests provide the system some means of comparison between school districts and allow for some quality control. A program was also designed to retain students, including free books, prizes, computer labs, and free breakfasts.

Additions to the curriculum include English and French (beginning in fourth grade), art and music, computer science, and a greater emphasis on math and science. These subjects add approximately 15 more teaching hours per week.

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