Education in El Salvador

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Education in El Salvador follows a (1 or 2) 9-2-5 educational system, which is regulated by the country's Ministry of Education:[1]

  • One or two years of Preschool Education (called kinder, short for kindergarten), which is not part of the State's educational system.
  • Nine years of Basic Education divided in three cycles of three grades each:
    • 1st Cycle: from 1st to 3rd grades
    • 2nd Cycle: from 4th to 6th grades
    • 3rd Cycle: from 7th to 9th grades; which is a transition to secondary education (e.g. specialized teachers for each assignment).
  • Two (or an optional three years technical program) of Middle Education, called bachillerato:
    • Two year General Bachelor's Degree
    • Three year Technical Bachelor's Degree (e.g. Accounting, Secretariat, Electronics and Computer Science, etc.)
  • Five years (minimum) of Higher Education, consisting of university education or other tertiary education.

However, the national educational system is not the only one available. Pre-university education is not free. The State provides public education for which a fee is paid if the person paying can afford it and only one payment per family is made (i.e. siblings pay only one fee). Public education is nevertheless inconstant in quality, being even extremely poor in rural areas and not so good in urban areas, becoming one of the State's greatest challenges. The University of El Salvador (UES) is the largest (and only) public university in the country; however, classes are constantly stopped as being a host for protests. There is also a huge number of private universities as alternatives to UES though.

In 1992 the Minister of Education Cecilia Gallardo de Cano embarked on a reform program of basic education. By 2010, the literacy rate was 82% for both sexes.

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