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]


Education levels

Preschool educational establishment offering early childhood education to children

A preschool, also known as nursery school, pre-primary school, playschool or kindergarten, is an educational establishment or learning space offering early childhood education to children before they begin compulsory education at primary school. It may be publicly or privately operated, and may be subsidized from public funds.

Kindergarten preschool educational approach traditionally based on playing

Kindergarten is a preschool educational approach based on playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school. Such institutions were originally created in the late 18th century in Bavaria and Strasbourg to serve children whose parents both worked outside home. The term was coined by the German Friedrich Fröbel, whose approach globally influenced early-years education. Today, the term is used in many countries to describe a variety of educational institutions and learning spaces for children ranging from two to seven years of age, based on a variety of teaching methods.

Primary education first stage of compulsory education

Primary education also called an elementary education is typically the first stage of formal education, coming after preschool and before secondary education. Primary education usually takes place in a primary school or elementary school. In some countries, primary education is followed by ecosystem, an educational stage which exists in some countries, and takes place between primary school and high school college. Primary Education in Australia consists of grades foundation to grade 6. In the United States, primary education is Grades 1 - 3 and elementary education usually consists of grades 1-6.

Current education situation and statistics

According to statistics, only 82% of children make it to 9th grade. 6% of the children in El Salvador, do not attend school at all. Children who have finished 9th grade can go to secondary school, but only 33% will. The distribution of literacy is 79% men and 73% women. [2]

El Salvador has a very high crime rate and high gang violence, 300,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 have no jobs and do not attend university to study. [3]

According to the El Salvador Constitution (1983), every child is entitled to free education at the age of 4-6 years. Since most families live from less than $ 1 a day, it is normal in El Salvador that children under the age of 7 drop out of school to support their parents by working on a coffee plantation or helping in the household, because the parents can not afford education for the children. About 1.8 million minors between the ages of 5 and 17 work. In rural areas, about 62% of all children work, to support their families. [4]

Complications and improvement

The Minister of Education Carlos Mauricio Canjura Linares is responsible for education in El Salvador. The President, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, who used to be a primary school teacher, co-supervised the Education Department from 2009 to 2012. The improvement of the Salvadoran school and university system is in need of improvement compared to other Latin American countries.

The biggest problem is the elementary and middle school education. Although the government creates incentives through teaching materials, distribution of school uniforms and free meals in schools, Salvador still remains in the rear in terms of education. Strong deficits are the condition of the different schools, the schools themselves are underfunded. Teachers’ wages are too low and according to recent research, 3,000 schools in 262 communities are in need of repair. The current president announced an increase in the education budget from 3% to 6% by the end of his term in office (2019), but instead, the education budget has been cut.

In the meantime, 88% of the population is dominated by reading and writing, which is a great step forward. In 1992, after the end of the civil war, only 74% of them knew how to read and write. Spanish is spoken in El Salvador and English dominates as the first foreign language. In 1992 the Minister of Education Cecilia Gallardo de Cano embarked on a reform program of basic education. In 2010 the literacy rate was 82% for both sexes.

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 inconsistent in quality, being extremely poor in rural areas and dubiously efficient in urban areas, becoming one of the State's greatest challenges.

The private schools have also made progress in El Salvador, there are also German, French, British and US schools in El Salvador, which offer a recognized high level of education. [5]

According to the World Bank, access to primary education in El Salvador has increased in recent years, as mentioned earlier, the literacy rate has also increased. Mainly the urban areas have developed. Nevertheless, a big challenge remains the early school leavers. [6]

Impact of education on poverty

The average income in El Salvador is approximately 851$, about 40% of the population live below the poverty line. At the moment, efforts are being made to reduce unemployment by boosting economic growth.

Due to poverty, many young people tend to violence, which is why they put less focus on education. El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Latin America. Between 1980 and 1992 there was a civil war, which cost more than 75,000 lives. Since 1992, more than 50,000 people have been murdered, reflecting the level of violence that has barely declined since the Civil War. 81% of the murdered were between 18 and 39 years of age, 82% of whom were men. [7]

Another strong deficit in education is that many children are not given the opportunity to attend school. Many children have to work on sugar or coffee plantations at a young age or help in the household. As already mentioned, more than 40% of the people in El Salvador are living below the poverty line. It is common for children in poor families to start working after the age of six.

As mentioned, very few students are able to obtain a university degree. For young people and adults who have achieved little or no education, it is difficult to earn a decent salary in El Salvador. The minimum salary is $ 185 and people who have no secondary education need to work for less than the minimum salary. [8]

Higher education

The University of El Salvador (UES) is the largest (and only) public university in the country. However, classes are constantly stopped for protests. The University of El Salvador has one main campus in San Salvador and three more campuses in Santa Ana, San Miguel and San Vicente.

There are also many private universities as alternatives to UES.

In Dec. 2014, the government of El Salvador entered into partnership with the United States Agency for International Development, in hopes of improving institutions of higher learning within the country with updated curricula and faculty training. [9]

Related Research Articles

A middle school is an educational stage which exists in some countries, providing education between primary school and secondary school. The concept, regulation and classification of middle schools, as well as the ages covered, vary between, and sometimes within, countries.

Education in state institutions is free at the initial, primary, secondary and tertiary levels and in the undergraduate university level. Private education is paid, although in some cases state subsidies support its costs. According to studies by UNESCO, education in Argentina and Uruguay guarantee equality to have institutional features that hinder the commercialization of education, as well as Finland has characteristics that favor multiethnic population education and special education, education favors Argentina equality. According to the last census, the illiteracy rate is 1.9%, the second lowest in Latin America. In the last decade, Argentina has created nine new universities, while the outflow of university students increased by 68%.

Secondary school building and organization where secondary education is provided

A secondary school is both an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools can provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education, but these can also be provided in separate schools, as in the American middle school- high school system.

First grade is the first grade in elementary school. It is the first school year after kindergarten in Canada and the USA. Children are usually 6–7 years old in this grade.

Education in Portugal

Education in Portugal is free and compulsory until the age of 18, when students complete the 12th grade. The education is regulated by the State through the Ministry of Education. There is a system of public education and also many private schools at all levels of education. The first Portuguese medieval universities, such as the University of Coimbra, were created in the 13th century, and the national higher education system is fully integrated into the European Higher Education Area.

Education in Uganda

The system of education in Uganda has a structure of 7 years of primary education, 6 years of secondary education, and 3 to 5 years of post-secondary education. The government of Uganda recognizes education as a basic human right and continues to strive to provide free primary education to all children in the country. However, issues with funding, teacher training, rural populations, and inadequate facilities continue to hinder the progress of educational development in Uganda.

Education in Spain is regulated by the Ley Orgánica 8/2013, de 9 de diciembre, para la mejora de la calidad educativa that expands upon Article 27 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978. Education is compulsory and free for all children aged between 6 and 16 years and is supported by the national government together with the governments of each of the country's 17 autonomous communities.

Educational stages are subdivisions of formal learning, typically covering early childhood education, primary education, secondary education and tertiary education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes seven levels of education in its International Standard Classification of Education system. UNESCO's International Bureau of Education maintains a database of country-specific education systems and their stages.

Education in Bulgaria

Education in Bulgaria is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science. Since 2012, compulsory education includes two years of preschool education, before children start primary school. Education is compulsory until age of 16. Education at state-owned schools is free of charge, except for the higher education schools, colleges and universities.

Education in Chile

Education in Chile is divided in preschool, primary school, secondary school, and technical or higher education (university).The levels of education in Chile are:

Literacy in India

Literacy in India is a key for socio-economic progress, and the Indian literacy rate has grown to 74.04%. Despite government programmes, India's literacy rate increased only "sluggishly". The 2011 census, indicated a 2001–2011 decadal literacy growth of 9.2%, which is slower than the growth seen during the previous decade. An old 1990 study estimated that it would take until 2060 for India to achieve universal literacy at then-current rate of progress.

Education in Cambodia

Education in Cambodia is controlled by the state through the Ministry of Education in a national level and by the Department of Education at the provincial level. The Constitution of Cambodia establishes that the state shall protect and upgrade citizen's rights to quality education at all levels, guaranteeing that all citizens have equal opportunity to earn a living. The state shall adopt an education program "according to the principle of modern pedagogy including technology and foreign languages," as well as the state controls public and private schools and classrooms at all levels. The Cambodian education system includes pre-school, primary, general secondary, higher education and non-formal education. The education system includes the development of sport, information technology education, research development and technical education. School enrollment has increased during the 2000s in Cambodia. USAID data shows that in 2011 primary enrollment reached 96% of the child population, lower secondary school 34% and upper secondary 21%.

Education in Ethiopia Overview of education

Education in Ethiopia has been dominated by the [[Ethiopian Orthodox Church|southern nations of for many centuries until secular education was adopted in the early 1900s. Prior to 1974, Ethiopia had an estimated illiteracy rate well above 90% and compared poorly with the rest of Africa in the provision of schools and universities. After the Ethiopian Revolution, emphasis was placed on increasing literacy in rural areas. Practical subjects were stressed, as was the teaching of socialism. By 2015, the literacy rate had increased to 49.1%, though this is still poor compared to most of the rest of Africa. Recently, there has been massive expansion throughout the educational system. Access to primary is limited to urban locations and they are mostly owned by the private sector and Faith Based organizations. Primary school education consists of two cycles from grades 1 to 4 and grades 5 to 8. Secondary schools have two cycles from grades 9 to 10 and grades 11 to 12. Primary schools have over 90% of 7 year olds enrolled although only about half complete the two cycles. This situation varies from one region to the other and it is even worst in agro-pastoral locations, such as Somali and Afar regions, as well as in the growing regions such as Gambella and Benshangul Gumz. A much smaller proportion of children attend secondary school and even fewer attend the second cycle. School attendance is lowest in rural areas due to lack of provision and alternative occupations. The school curriculum in later years covers more subjects at a higher level than curricula in most other countries. Low pay and undervaluation of teachers contributes to poor quality teaching. This is exacerbated by large class sizes and poor resources resulting on poor performance on national assessments. There is evidence of corruption including forgery of certificates. Many primary schools have introduced mother-tongue teaching but there have been difficulties where small minority languages are concerned. English medium instruction remains a problem throughout the later years of education. Girls' access to education has been improved but early marriage decreases their attendance. Girls' educational attainment is adversely affected by gender stereotypes, violence, lack of sanitary facilities and the consequences of sexual activity. Jimma University is addressing some problems women experience in higher education. TVETs have introduced competence based assessments although many lack adequate resources. Teacher training has been up-graded. All higher education has been expanding but this has not been accompanied by sufficient expansion in staffing and resources. There have been difficulties in introducing BPR with poorly paid university staff supplementing their incomes where possible. Universities need to match training to market demands. All colleges and universities suffer from the same disadvantages as schools. Library facilities are poor, classes are large and there is lack of equipment.

Education in Peru is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, which is in charge of formulating, implementing and supervising the national educational policy. According to the Constitution, education is compulsory and free in public schools for the initial, primary and secondary levels. It is also free in public universities for students who are unable to pay tuition and have an adequate academic performance.

Education in Zimbabwe

Education in Zimbabwe is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for primary and secondary education and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development for higher education. Both are regulated by the Cabinet of Zimbabwe. The education system in Zimbabwe encompasses 13 years of primary and secondary school and runs from January to December. The school year is a total of 40 weeks with three terms and a month break in-between each term.

The National Bureau of Economic Research published a data series overviewing the history of education in the United States leading up to the 20th and 21st centuries, stating that "formal education, especially basic literacy, is essential for a well-functioning democracy, and enhances citizenship and community." In the 19th century, literacy rates amongst the United States population were relatively high despite the decentralized educational system. Though there has been a notable increase in American citizens' educational attainment since then, studies have indicated declining reading performance starting in the 1970s. Though in the past, entities such as the U.S. Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) and legislation such as the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 have highlighted education as a topic of national importance, the push for high levels of mass literacy has been a recent development. Expectations concerning literacy have sharply increased over the past decades. Contemporary standards for adequate literacy have become more difficult to meet in comparison to historical criteria. Whereas such standards were only applied to the elite in the past, due to the proliferation of and increased accessibility to education in the form of public schools, the expectation of mass literacy has been applied to the entirety of the U.S. population.

Education in the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, education is free and compulsory at the elementary level, and free but non-mandatory at the secondary level. It is divided into four stages:

Gender inequality in El Salvador

Gender inequality can be found in various areas of Salvadoran life such as employment, health, education, political participation, and family life. Although women in El Salvador enjoy equal protection under the law, they are often at a disadvantage relative to their male counterparts. In the area of politics, women have the same rights as men, but the percentage of women in office compared to men is low. Though much progress has been made since the Salvadoran Civil War ended in 1992, women in El Salvador still face gender inequality.


  1. "Ministry of Education. Government of El Salvador"
  2. "Education Statistics".
  3. "Education".
  4. "Die Kinder von El Salvador".
  5. "Kultur und Bildung".
  6. "The world bank in El Salvador". 10/05/18.Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. "Soziale Bewegung in El Salvador".
  8. "Learn about El Salvador".
  9. "New Higher Education Project Launches in El Salvador, Aims to Boost Economic Growth". ProQuest. December 11, 2014.