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Words in the celebration of the 49th Anniversary of INTEC

Julio Sanchez Marinez
Santo Domingo, October 8, 2021

I invite you to enter the time tunnel with me and go back to the 70's

We were then just over 4 million inhabitants, for a population density of 83 inhabitants. x km2, 40% urban and 60% rural in their spacing and only 3% reached the age of 65 years or more. Santo Domingo did not reach 1MM inhabitants (and the Eastern region barely exceeded 300k inhabitants). Only 1% of the population had university studies and at the time of founding INTEC we only had 5 universities, 1 public and 4 private.

In 1970, then-President Balaguer ordered through decree 4876 to close all public schools as of April 6 of that year, with the exception of those established in rural areas, ordering the National Police and the Armed Forces to occupy the premises. of educational centers to protect state property. This measure sought to control social protests before the elections scheduled for May 16. In the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, police and military personnel were installed to avoid protests in the house of high studies, the main access roads to the university campus were blocked with tanks and assault cars of different sizes. The Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra interrupted its teaching tasks after protests - with an anti-reelectionist bias - carried out by students on its university campus.

We had what was called a "dessert economy" inasmuch as the strong income -via exports- arose from coffee, cocoa, tobacco and, above all, sugar, the latter representing about 60% of national production. Regardless of the sugar industry, the rest of the manufacturing sector relied primarily on industrial activities including the branches of food products, beverages, tobacco, paper and paper products, chemical substances and products, and non-metallic mineral products.

When Ángel Miolán Reynoso was appointed Secretary of State without portfolio and Director General of Tourism in 1968 and began to prophesy for our tourism development by preaching about the “industry without chimneys”, the majority response to his initiatives was mockery with the refrain of “¿¿ And where are the tourists? In Miolán's head ”.

Let's stop here, with these brushstrokes that try to sketch those times. Let me now take a look at the founding of INTEC, in this context, together with Ida Hernández Caamaño and her 25 Years of INTEC History. I read:

“To talk about the origin of INTEC, I consider it necessary to place the story a little before the events that saw the institution born, because, after all, the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, is a direct product of the advanced ideas of the sixties, when the conviction of struggle for a radical change in society and the political commitment took possession of the young people of that time. The paths undertaken at that time to achieve the revolutionary ideals of equality and justice were diverse and ranged from open affiliation to the political parties (of the left), the historical and risky guerrillas, to the committed artistic and literary manifestations; and of course, education was one of the most suitable means to raise people's awareness, in the ideological fervor of the time: “the criticism of the Trujillista University implied the awareness of social ills and the political commitment of the majority of the members of the university community was due, in many cases, to the intense desire to serve the country and to contribute to solving national problems ”*.

* Frank Moya Pons (1984). The UASD, the UCMM and the INTEC twenty years away: a draft for the Discussion. INTEC documents 9.

Institutional Evaluation Conference (November 1983-March 1984 Institute Technological of Santo Domingo).

And Ida adds:

“In 1970 the country had barely ten years since it had come out of the cultural and educational isolation in which dictatorships submerge the peoples; only five years ago we had gone through a bloody civil war; Balaguer's first term had just ended, after the first elections held since the anti-constitutionalist military coup of 1963 ”;

And let me, please, now read the editorial of that inimitable pen of Don Rafael Herrera published in the Listín Diario on Tuesday, October 8, 1974.

speech Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo - Words in the celebration of the 49th Anniversary of INTEC

Please let's get back on the DeLorean that brings us back to the present from our quick foray into 1972.

Today we have more than 11 million inhabitants for a density of 231,81 inhabitants / km², of which more than 3 million reside in Greater Santo Domingo (and the Eastern region has tripled its number of inhabitants. More than 80% of the population is urban and the number of people over 65 has tripled compared to 3% in the 70's. 14% of the population reaches university studies and today we have more than 50 higher education institutions, most of them they considered universities.

We have had two school years affected by the covid pandemic19 and even the one that we just started is disturbed by a deficit in the allocation of teachers according to needs, if not by weaknesses in the maintenance and, in general, of the infrastructure conditions school.

Today we speak of a "service economy", in which tourism stands out, reaching more than 7 million visitors (including Dominicans residing abroad), generating foreign exchange equivalent to around 40% 38.0% of our total exports of goods and services. Also noteworthy are the “free zone” companies whose export volume of 38.0% of their total exports of goods and services in US MM exceeds 50% of our total exports. The exports of these companies have diversified and from the predominance of clothing and footwear, we have moved to some higher levels technologically with medical and electrical devices, without underestimating tobacco products, mainly cigars.

We are, without a doubt, a different country from the 70's. In many respects it is necessary to coincide with the approach of The Great Change by Frank Moya Pons, the same author of the INTEC document cited above.

But we are, also, on the other hand, a country still very afflicted, as was that country of the founders in 1970.

We are ranked 88th out of 189 countries and territories in the Human Development Index ranking. The HDI of the Dominican Republic in 2019 was 0.756 but, once inequality is discounted, the value of the index falls to 0.595, which implies a loss of 21.3%. Not surprisingly, according to the World Bank, our GINI coefficient for 2018 was 41.9, similar to that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some levels of inequality that, among other forms, is expressed in the fact that according to data from the Social Security Treasury, 90% of formally employed workers earn less than RD $ 50,000.

Despite the fact that we register 8.1 average years of schooling (still far from the expected 14.1 Years of schooling), we face serious educational challenges due to our poor learning outcomes. It is estimated that 62.3% of the 10-year-old population cannot read and understand a simple text. Our results on the international PISA tests place us last out of 79 countries in math and science and second to last in reading.

We occupy the global position 81 within 132 economies analyzed, according to the Global Talent Index, which aims to measure the capacity of countries to generate, maintain and attract talent. Our score of 37.29 out of 100 means that the country has a certain capacity for the production and acquisition of talent, however, it still has a long way to go to establish actions that help develop talent within the nation, as well as keep them in national territory. Thus, of the total employed, only 16.7% have high skills necessary to occupy positions as managerial personnel in public administration and private companies, scientific and intellectual and technical professionals and mid-level professionals, which places us in position 101 in the set.

In terms of innovation, we occupy position number 90 Global Innovation Index (IGI), let's see this comparatively: of the 18 LAC countries considered in the IGI) 2020, the Dominican Republic, with a score of 25.1, is among the 8 countries with a score below the regional average of 45.5. If we decompose our score according to the IGI factors, we see that in human capital and research we score 18.5, in knowledge and technology production 13, in creative production 17.8 and in business development 22.5.

I could extend myself to other aspects (the challenges of the necessary institutional framework, of environmental sustainability, of the quality of public services, especially health, among others) but it is not the purpose of this invitation to reflection nor do we have the time for it. I hope that a few bullets are enough, as we say colloquially, to think if that spirit of rebellion of our founders still makes sense, resolutely and creatively channeled with the creation of INTEC, to contribute to the social transformation of the country, to the promotion continuous quality of life of its inhabitants and the preservation of their moral and material heritage to bequeath it improved to the generations to come, through higher education, the development of culture, research and scientific and technological dissemination.

On this forty-ninth (49) anniversary, assuming that reflection in the face of the realities of our beloved country and concluding accordingly, is the best way for us to honor the sustained journey that we have traveled since 1972 and, thus, honor ourselves.

Personally, I retain a lot of the spirit of creative rebellion and that is why I am here. I have no doubt that it is something shared and that is how he feels it with many of the vibrations that I feel this morning in our little forest. Let's keep alive the votive flame of creative intellectual, scientific and academic rebellion that our founders ignited!

Borrowing phrase that receives the traveler who visits the University of Salamanca: "As we said yesterday, as we will say tomorrow."

Congratulations on your 49 years, INTEC!