Education in this country is compulsory for all minors through to the eighth grade. The expenditure for education is 3. 6% of the GDP (source indicate). Although the Ministry of Education reported a 97 percent enrollment rate in grades 1 through 8 in 2004, a government study also estimated that the average grade level achieved by children in public schools was the fifth grade in rural areas and the sixth grade in urban areas. The level of unemployment is high and social security lacking. This creates pressures on families both to encourage and allow children to earn supplement income.
Tens of thousands of children begin work before the age of 14. Dominican Republic’s government workers and public services personnel are not allowed to go on strike. Women of this country face gender bias in various sectors. They are very much affected by unemployment and they have restricted access to their activities as well. Domestic violence exists and it is on the rise. In rural areas, women have minimal access to education and healthcare. Furthermore, corruption and cronyism contribute to increasing the level of inequality.
The structure of the labor force – which was previously largely agrarian – has changed significantly during the post-Trujillo era as agriculture’s share of output diminished. The country has a few labor unions that also represent a small number of Haitian workers who are mostly immigrants. They are covered by the Labor Code regardless of their legal status. However, various Non Governmental Organizations report that the majority of Haitian laborers in the sugar and construction industries do not exercise their rights, fearing deportation or job loss.
Although crime and corruption exist in every country, the Dominican Republic has always played its part in narco-trafficking – rather definitely for the last 20 years. It was and is used as a transshipment point receiving drugs from Latin America for onward transmission to the US. This trade has left all but the country’s politicians and some high-ranking military officers largely untouched. This affects the tourism sector badly. They hesitate to travel to the Dominican Republic mainly due to this problem. The people of the country too are affected badly by illegal and fake drugs.