Education in DR

The Dominican Republic provides free compulsory education to children between the ages of 5 and 13. Some 85 percent of the population aged 15 or older is literate. In the 2000 school year 1.4 million pupils attended primary schools. While virtually all children attend primary school, only 59 percent of secondary school-aged children were enrolled.

The Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, the oldest university in the western hemisphere, was authorized in 1538, although classes did not begin until 1558. Four faculties were established, those of philosophy, medicine, theology, and jurisprudence, and the university attracted students from Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, and elsewhere in Central America. The institution was originally called the Universidad de Santo Tomás de Aquino and was run by Dominican friars. It now occupies a modern campus known as University City.

The Catholic University Madre y Maestra was founded in Santiago in 1962. Other universities include Pedro Henríquez Ureña National University (1966) and Eugenio María de Hostos University (1981), both in Santo Domingo; Northeastern Catholic University (1978) in San Francisco de Macorís; and Central University of the East (1970) in San Pedro de Macorís. Art and music are taught in the national School of Fine Arts, and there is also a National Conservatory of Music.