Another frequent question I get from parents thinking of moving to the Dominican Republic with their families is school. Should I enroll my kids in a public school? Are there private schools? Would it be best to use an internet based home school?
For the most part the level of schooling found a Dominican Republic schools is lower than what you will find in most of the developed countries. The kids go to fewer hours per day, due to strikes and other problems there are more days off, and for budget and other reasons the quality of the schooling is lower than U.S. standards.
Most kids in the Dominican Republic go to about 4 hours of school per day. This is especially true for the lower grades where they go to school either in the morning or in the afternoon. The schools are typically underfunded and low on what would be considered unnecessary items in most US. schools.
A good example is their English classes. I’e had friends ask me to help them with their homework. Quite often the teachers written instructions are written in very poor English and even their instruction books contain very poorly written English. Kids that really want to learn the language usually hire tutors or enroll in “English Schools”(a School where only English is taught).
Another example is in mathematics. The level of mathematics required in order to graduate is much lower that is usually required in the U.S.. My son has several times been asked by college students here to help them with their math. The level of math that is given in colleges here is about the equivalent of the math in JR. High School in the States.
Other than the “English Schools” I don’t have much experience with private schools in the country. These would only be found in the more affluent areas of the country, but would likely be of a much higher quality.
Online Home Schooling
Most parents of foreigners seem to choose online homes schools for their children. While these schools do require more from the parents they will give the child a diploma from a U.S. accredited school (or from a school in your own country). The level of education is usually much higher than what is received at a school in the D.R.
For Citizens of the U.S. there are quite a few options. Normally you would look for a school that was in your home state. You can often find online schools that are paid for from State money so that you don’t have to pay an extra tuition. If not there are a number of good paid online schools.
We’ve used a couple of different online schools over the years. There are two basic formats, either partially online but also using books and other school items (i.e. equipment for lab experiments), or fully online schools where all work is done over the internet. For the ones requiring books you will need a U.S address (i.e. a mailbox in Florida) for the books and other items to be shipped to. You will then need to find a way to get these items to the D.R.. The fully online schools just require that you have pretty good internet. That usually isn’t a problem in the Dominican Republic but you may need to check out an area before moving in to see how good the internet access is.
If you live in California you will still need to head back at least once a year to do “Star” testing as well as take the exit test in the child’s JR year of High School. Other States may have similar requirements.
One advantage of living in a foreign country, your children should have no problem getting language credits as long as they are learning one of the local languages of Spanish or Creole.
Really, the level of schooling is up to you. I would recommend finding a alternate method of schooling your children other that relying on the public school system in the Dominican Republic. If your child eventually moves back to your original country, a diploma from that country will likely have a little more weight that a diploma from a developing country that is known to have a weaker education system.