Education in Ecuador

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The Ecuadorian Constitution requires that all children attend school until they achieve a “basic level of education,” which is estimated at nine school years.[1] Research has been published placing the quality of education in Ecuador as the worst in Latin America.[2]

Primary and secondary[edit]

In 1996, the net primary enrollment rate was 96.9 percent, and 71.8 percent of children stayed in school until the fifth grade.[1] Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Ecuador as of 2001.[1]

While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children’s participation in school.[1] The cost of primary and secondary education is borne by the government, but families often face significant additional expenses such as fees and transportation costs.[1] In 2000, government spending on education declined, both in real terms and as a proportion of GDP.[1] By 2012, GDP spending had gone from 2.6% to 5.2%.


During the 1998-1999 school year, almost 235,000 students were enrolled in institutions of higher education, or approximately 14% of the population between 18-24 years old.[3] Approximately 80% attend public universities while the other 20% attend private universities.[3] The Central University of Ecuador and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito account for almost 50% of enrollments.[3] The graduation rate at public universities is rarely more than 15%.[3]

The 2008 Constitution of Ecuador eliminated tuition in public universities.[4][5] Starting in 2012, admission to the country’s 29 public universities will be based on an aptitude test.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ecuador". The Department of Labor's 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor. 2002. 
  2. ^ Rojas, Carlos (2003). "Education". In Frete-Cibils, Vicente; Giugale, Marcelo M.; López-Cálix, José Roberto. Ecuador: An Economic and Social Agenda in the New Millennium. World Bank Publications. pp. 275–276. ISBN 0-8213-5545-7. 
  3. ^ a b c d Rojas 2003, p. 274.
  4. ^ Ponce, Juan; Loayza, Yessenia (2012). "Elimination of User-fees in Tertiary Education: A Distributive Analysis for Ecuador". International Journal of Higher Education 1 (1). doi:10.5430/ijhe.v1n1p138. 
  5. ^ a b Neuman, William (19 March 2012). "'Garage Universities' Are Bracing for School Reform". The New York Times. p. A7.