The Program for Research on Private Higher Education
Dedicated to Building Knowledge about Private Higher Education around the World
WP No.8

Comparing School-level to Private Higher Education: Using the Dominican Republic as a Pioneer Study


Scheker, Ancell M. 2007. "COMPARING SCHOOL-LEVEL TO PRIVATE HIGHER EDUCATION: Using the Dominican Republic as a Pioneer Study". PROPHE Working Paper No.8.


This working paper reviews concepts and categories developed in private higher education research, analyzing their applicability to lower levels of education. Most specifically and prominently, the paper uses the three waves of private growth identified in Latin American higher education-Catholic, elite, and demand-absorbing-and categories of finance, governance, and function to analyze new and prior private growth in primary and secondary schools in the Dominican Republic.

For Latin American private higher education, Levy (1986a) identified certain patterns of growth. The private sector expansion began with Catholic universities, followed by some elite secular universities, and lastly a boom of secular institutions that absorb a growing demand that the public sector could not satisfy. This pattern was confirmed for the Dominican Republic (Levy, 1991). Like some other Latin American nations, the Dominican Republic did not have a private university until the 1960s, the first being a Catholic university. Later, other private institutions emerged, two of them classified as institutions for the elite. The great demand for higher education facilitated the proliferation of many private institutions. In the last decades, the private higher education sector growth in the Dominican Republic has been remarkable. More than 60% of the enrollment is in private higher education institutions. Hence private higher institutions in Dominican Republic have emerged in three waves, following the regional patterns for Latin America, each one with a relatively distinctive role and its own rationales and dynamics. Has primary and secondary private education followed a similar pattern of growth? Such an inter-level question has not hitherto been studied in any country.

Thus, this working paper analyzes causes of the non-higher education proliferation of the private sector and identifies parallel patterns of growth to those found in private higher institutions. However, differences are also found. Contrasts are presented and may facilitate understanding the characteristics of each level (see appendix 1) as well as the distinction between private and public institutions.


Date Published:
Jul 2007
Ancell M. Scheker