Santo Domingo-. The Superior Administrative Court (TSA) was seized of an appeal that demands the annulment of an ordinance of the Ministry of Education which “establishes the Preparation of Contents, Strategies, Materials and Resources for Learning”.
The appeal considers that the aforementioned resolution not only violates due administrative process, enshrined in articles 69.10 and 139 of the Constitution and articles 4.8, 4.26, 6.9, 30 and 31 of Law no. 107-13, but violates the General Education Law, the Book and Libraries Law, and the principles of legitimate trust, legal certainty and regulatory certainty of Law 107-13.
The appeal against the Ordinance 03-2022 is supported by the publishing company Casa Duarte SRL, represented by the lawyers Olivo Rodríguez Huertas, Boris De León Reyes and Ismael Tavárez Beras.
The publishing house ensures that the ordinance issued on December 12, 2022 by the National Council of Education, signed by the Minister of Education and President of the Council, Dr. Ángel Hernández, violates legal requirements, as it is carried out without the execution of an administrative procedure and without the participation of the people affected.
“Casa Duarte, SRL, has received with great surprise that, on December 12, 2022, the National Council of Education issued Ordinance 03-2022, since its approval was given without carrying out the applicable administrative procedure, without the participation of the publishers who are one of the main actors in the bibliographic production of the Dominican educational system”, highlights the document.
The appeal indicates that the ordinance contains three fundamental faults that warrant its annulment: 1) it directs the preparation, selection, and dissemination of new textbooks, among other educational resources; 2) provides for the creation of the “MINERD Editorial Unit”, which would prepare educational content and work in coordination with the General Directorate of Curriculum; and, 3) provides for the hiring of independent authors, higher education institutions, universities, academies, among others, for the preparation of educational materials for the curriculum regulated by the Ministry of Education.
New textbooks, instead of using the approved ones
The legal document received by the TSA shows that Ordinance 03-2022, when instructing the preparation, selection and dissemination of new textbooks, fails to comply with paragraph I of article 78 of the General Education Law, by not considering the obligatory validity 4 years of approved books.
With this action -he affirms- the principle of legitimate trust, legal certainty and normative certainty enshrined in Law 107-13 is violated, by ordering the production of new textbooks, abruptly, after completing an evaluation and approval procedure of books that lasted from 2018 to 2022.
“The books approved in Ordinances no. 03-2021 and 01-2022 were created by the publishing industry as a result of a significant investment in research and development (writing, authoring, editing, illustration, preparation, layout, etc.), exhausting the long and costly approval process of MINERD , with the expectation that these investments would be amortized with future book acquisitions,” says Casa Duarte.
In his request for annulment of the Casa Duarte ordinance, he questions the fact that new books are ordered when there are two previous ordinances with more than 350 approved books.
Creation of the MINERD Editorial Unit
Another element that motivates the action filed by the publishing house is the creation of the “MINERD Editorial Unit”, whose mission is the development of educational content in coordination with the General Directorate of Curriculum, violating paragraph I of article 78 of the General Education Law, as well as article 5 and letter d of article 6 of Law no. 502-08, by ignoring the validity of 4 years that the books approved by Ordinance no. 03-2021 and Ordinance no. 01-2022.
“With the creation of the “Editorial Unit of MINERD” the regulation activities were concentrated, in charge of the General Directorate of Curriculum, and the operational activities, with the new production of textbooks of the aforementioned editorial unit in clear violation to article 9 of Law no. 247-12,” the lawsuit adds.
Recruitment of universities and independent authors
According to Casa Duarte and its lawyers, the issuance of the ordinance constitutes a violation of the principle of impartiality and independence and the principle of ethics, enshrined in articles 3.11 and 3.21 of Law no. 107-13, by benefiting universities linked to members of the National Council of Education.
The appellant company affirms that the Minister of Education did not act in accordance with the principle of impartiality and independence, nor with the principle of ethics, since Ordinance 03-2022 particularly benefits the university and higher education sector (with which the National Council of Education), by promoting the contracting of these academic centers for the preparation and production of new textbooks.
The document deposited before the Superior Administrative Court indicates that the Minister of Education is the founder of the Open University for Adults (UAPA), of which he was rector until August 2022, and was a member of the Pro Open University for Adults Foundation until his departure. in September 2022. In addition, three of his children are currently the Vice Chancellor for ICT, the Vice Chancellor for Administration and the Vice Chancellor for Communication at UAPA, which demonstrates a link between Dr. Ángel Hernández and the university sector that benefits from the ordinance. .
The contentious appeal establishes that other members of the National Council of Education, inserted in a situation of conflict of interest at the time of the adoption of Ordinance 03-2022, are the Rector of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), as well as a representative of private universities, which are permanent members of the National Education Council, as established in letters g, h and II of article 79 of the General Education Law.