HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN CABARETE Mornings in Cabarete are bustling with movement as parents drop their children off to school. You may see three or four children piled onto a moto in their uniforms, ready to learn. Compared to 20 years ago, Cabarete has come a long way in providing a better education for its youth. However, even in light of the positive change, there are still real and persistent obstacles to ensuring the children of this town receive a quality education.
HOW FAR WE HAVE COME? A look back... Thirty-five years ago, Cabarete was a sleepy fishing village of about 500. This is hard for visitors to believe today when they visit this bustling, international tourist destination with almost 17,000 year-round residents.
were allowed to attend Dominican schools until 8th grade. Unfortunately, the law still prevents Haitian children without proper paperwork from attending school past the 8th grade, but at the time, it was a step forward.
1930s - 1980s: Cabarete residents were fishermen and
In 2012, a beautiful new public school is built in Callejón de La Loma that can house up to 750 students. Much anticipation and excitement surrounds this positive promise for improved education in this town.
peasants or military men posted by the dictator Trujillo to guard the beach from a U.S. invasion. The poorest families settled on the beach, the least arable land. They gathered almonds, sea grapes, and fished in the lagoon, while their children played on the beach. There were two small oneroom schoolhouses on the east side of town, which still stand today: Puerto Cabarete and Punta Cabarete.
Late 1980s: French Canadian windsurfers “discovered”
Today: Three years after construction, the school in Callejón
de La Loma remains unopened. Current public schools remain overcrowded and under-resourced, and there is still no real public high school for the children of Cabarete.
Cabarete as the best windsurfing destination in the Caribbean. The introduction of international tourism contributed to the rapid growth of the town’s population, and the educational needs of Cabarete quickly grew.
Education in this town has come a long way in the past thirty-five years. Even since this guide first reported on the history of schooling in Cabarete five years ago, there have been real and meaningful improvements.
1986-1996: Under President Joaquin Balaguer, the
Here in Cabarete, schools are in the transition of moving from half-day to full-day schooling. Although there are enormous growing pains, this is a great milestone. Additionally, access to school supplies has greatly improved.
Minister of Education under Trujillo and the oldest president in the world to ever hold office, children could not enter public school until they were seven years old, but many did not begin until age eight. As a result, a child born into poverty in 1990 or earlier had little chance of making it past the fifth grade.
1996: Leonel Fernandez and the PLD (Dominican Liberation Party) came into power. Books began to appear in Cabarete public schools, although sometimes not until the end of the school year.
1999: President Fernandez introduced kindergarten,
allowing children as young as five years old to attend public school. However, most public school teachers in Cabarete still only held eighth grade or high school degrees.
2000 - 2012: Under Hipolito Mejia’s tenure (Domin-
ican Revolutionary Party or PRD), some desks and the first college-trained teachers appeared in Cabarete public schools. For the first time, children of Haitian descent 60 | CABARETE GUIDE 2017
Committed investments from community members have ensured many students have necessary materials, such as pens, paper, and notebooks. Furthermore, due to more effective government systems, there is now reliable access to school books. School cancellations are down considerably, meaning that learning is interrupted less frequently. Unheard of before, there are now teachers trained in early childhood education. The Mariposa DR Foundation works to support local public and private schools while providing education and empowerment programs to 150 Dominican and Haitian girls. Evidently, we have come a long way in many different areas. Yet, all achievements aside, there is still a great deal of work to be done. For instance, although the all-day school program is an excellent change, rote memorization is still the foundational teaching methodology in the schools
Responsible Tourism and Investment Guide created by The Mariposa DR Foundation. www.theguidecabarete.com