Education in Panama

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School children INdeP.jpg
School children

Education in Panama is compulsory for the first seven years of primary education and the three years of middle school. [1] [2] As of the 2004/2005 school year there were about 430,000 students enrolled in grades one through six (95% attendance). [1] The total enrollment in the six secondary grades for the same period was 253,900 (60% attendance). [1] More than 91% of Panamanians are literate. [1]

Panama Republic in Central America

Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.

Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all people and is imposed by government. Depending on the country, this education may take place at a registered school (schooling) or at home (homeschooling). "Compulsory education differs from compulsory attendance, which means that parents are obliged to send their children to a certain school. Compulsory education involves both the duty imposed upon parents by law to see that their children receive instruction, and the prerogative of every child to be educated."

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.

Contents

As of 2004, more than 92,500 Panamanian students attended the University of Panama, the Technological University of Panama, West Coast University – Panama, Polytechnic University of Central America and the University of Santa Maria La Antigua, a private Catholic institution. [1] Including smaller colleges, there are 88 institutions of higher education in Panama. [1]

The University of Panama was founded on October 7, 1935, with a student body of 175 in the fields of Education, Commerce, Natural Sciences, Pharmacy, Pre-Engineering and Law. As of 2008, it maintains a student body of 74,059 distributed in 228 buildings around the country.

The Technological University of Panama, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá (UTP) in Spanish, is the second largest university in Panama. It comprises six faculties in seven campuses nationwide. The main campus is a 60-hectare piece of land in Panama City, the country’s capital.

Higher education Academic tertiary education, such as from colleges and universities

Higher education is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education. Often delivered at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, conservatories, and institutes of technology, higher education is also available through certain college-level institutions, including vocational schools, trade schools, and other career colleges that award academic degrees or professional certifications. Tertiary education at non-degree level is sometimes referred to as further education or continuing education as distinct from higher education. The right of access to higher education is mentioned in a number of international human rights instruments. The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 declares, in Article 13, that "higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education". In Europe, Article 2 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, adopted in 1950, obliges all signatory parties to guarantee the right to education.

History

Public education began in Panama soon after separating from Colombia in 1903. In 1906 the Panama College was found by Methodists. Nowadays it is called the Panamerican Institute, one of the best private colleges in Panama. The first efforts were guided by a paternalistic view of the goals of education, as evidenced in comments made in a 1913 meeting of the First Panamanian Educational Assembly: "The cultural heritage given to the child should be determined by the social position he will or should occupy. For this reason, sex education should be different in accordance with the social class to which the student should be related." This elitist focus changed rapidly under United States influence. [3]

By the 1920s, Panamanian education subscribed to a progressive educational system, explicitly designed to assist the able and ambitious individual in search of upward social mobility. Successive national governments gave a high priority to the development of a system of (at least) universal primary education. In the late 1930s, as much as one-fourth of the national budget went to education. Between 1920 and 1934, primary-school enrollment doubled. Adult illiteracy, more than 70 percent in 1923, dropped to roughly half the adult population in scarcely more than a decade. [3]

The second goal in the United Nations Millennium Development Goal is to achieve Universal Primary Education, more specifically, to "ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling." Education is vital to meeting all other Millennium Development Goals: "Educating children gives the next generation the tools to fight poverty and prevent disease, including malaria and AIDS." Despite the significance of investing in education, the recent report, Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children—produced by UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF found that the world has missed this 2015 target of universal primary education, and there are currently 58 million children, of primary school age, out of school worldwide.

By the early 1950s, adult illiteracy had dropped to 28 percent. The rate of gain had also declined and further improvements were slow in coming. The 1950s saw essentially no improvement; adult world life illiteracy was 27 percent in 1960. There were notable gains in the 1960s, however, and the rate of adult illiteracy dropped 8 percentage points by 1970. According to 1980 estimates, only 13 percent of Panamanians over 10 years of age were illiterate. Men and women were approximately equally represented among the literate. The most notable disparity was between urban and rural Panama; 94 percent of city-dwelling adults were literate but less than two-thirds of those in the countryside were—a figure that also represented continued high illiteracy rates among the country's Indian population. [3]

From the 1950s through the early 1980s, education enrollments expanded faster than the rate of population growth as a whole and, for most of that period, faster than the school-age population. The steepest increases came in secondary and higher education enrollments, which increased ten and more than thirty times respectively. By the mid-1980s, primary school enrollment rates were roughly 113 percent of the primary-school-aged population. Male and female enrollments were relatively equal overall, although there were significant regional variations. [3]

High school students from Panama City Panamanian School Children.jpg
High school students from Panama City

Enrollments at upper levels of schooling had increased strikingly in relative and absolute terms since 1960. Between 1960 and the mid-1980s, secondary-school enrollments expanded some four-and-a-half times and higher education nearly twelve-fold. In 1965, fewer than one-third of children of secondary school age were in school and only 7 percent of people ages 20 to 24 years. In the mid-1980s, almost two-thirds of secondary-school-age children were enrolled, and about 20 percent of individuals ages 20 to 24 years were in institutions of higher education. [3]

Currently Panama has an overall literacy rate of more than 94%. [4]

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Decreasing graduation completion rates in the United States

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Background Note: Panama". Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State (February 2008). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. Ministry of Education of Panama
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material  from the  Library of Congress document: Patricia Kluck (December 1987). Sandra W. Meditz and Dennis M. Hanratty, ed. "Panama: A country study". Federal Research Division. Education.