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Public education was a top priority more than health treatment for government expenditure and statistics indicated the difference. As of 1999, the public expense on education was likely at 2.5% of GDP. The literacy rate for female is 77% and 82% for males in 2002. In 1995, the ratio for student-teacher at the primary stage was 28 to 1. In 1997, approximately 1,191,000 students enrolled in primary schools, around 152,400 students for secondary schools and almost 9,400 teachers. In 2000, the project under the Basic Education Modernization was started; the government is looking for international financial support for upgrading the quality and exposure of secondary education.
The education system in the country is divided into preschool, primary, secondary and higher education. Preschool is also identified as kindergarten, day care or nursery school. Preschool education is between 2 to 5 years of age. Primary is compulsory education and lasts for 9 years, next is the 3 years of secondary education, which students can achieve the "Bachillerato," counterpart to a high school diploma. The oldest and famous public university in the country is the University of El Salvador, with enrollments average of 30,000. Ciudad Universitaria is the main campus and settled in San Salvador. Other university branches are located in San Vicente, San Miguel and Santa Ana. There are 12 private and 3 public universities that provide higher education in the country.
The Republic of El Salvador, which in Spanish means “Republic of the Savior,” is the smallest country in Central America by geographic area, with total land space of just over 8,100 square miles. The country is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean, to the north by Guatemala and to the east by Honduras. Along the country’s easternmost edge you will find the Gulf of Fonseca, which serves as a divider between El Salvador and the country of Nicaragua. The capital, largest city and economic hub of El Salvador is San Salvador, while the cities of San Miguel and Santa Ana are also important commercial and cultural centers.
El Salvador has a population estimated at 7.1 to 7.2 million, making it the most densely populated country in Central America. The majority of the population is made up those of mestizo ancestry—a combination of Amerindian and European heritage, with latter being mostly Spanish, but also German, French, Dutch, Italian, Scottish and Central and Eastern European. There are also significant minorities who self-identify as white (mostly European and American) and Native American. Unlike other Central American countries, El Salvador has no visible African population remaining in the country. The official language of El Salvador is Spanish, spoken by the majority of Salvadorans and used for government, commercial and educational purposes. A very small percentage of the population continues to speak one of the native indigenous languages, particularly Nahuatl and Maya. German, Dutch and French are taught as second languages in many of the private secondary schools in the country. The majority of the population in El Salvador practices Christianity, mostly Roman Catholicism (53%) or one of the many Protestant denominations. Mormonism is also practiced by a significant minority of the population.
Education and El Salvador
Due primarily to a lack of funding, the public education system in El Salvador lacks many necessary resources, and class sizes in primary school can often exceed 50 children. Sadly, these inadequacies are reflected in the test scores and grades of Salvadoran children. Private education in the country is of much higher quality, and parents who can afford to send their children to private school receive the benefit of teachers who are much more highly trained, smaller class sizes and a generally higher quality of education for their children. Lower income families, however, must rely on the public school system—a system in dire need of improvement.
Education in El Salvador consists of 7 years of compulsory basic education, taught at the country’s elementary and middle schools; and secondary education, with an option of a two-year high school—a high school that focuses primarily on academics and preparing students for university admission—or a three year high school, at which students receive a basic academic education, along with focused vocational training which prepares them to enter the workforce upon graduation into one of the many career fields related to the Salvadoran economy.
Only one public university exists in El Salvador, but there are several private institutions of higher learning, many of which are owned and operated by the various churches throughout the country, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. These universities offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in most major academic fields, along with advanced specialized education in fields such as medicine, dentistry, law and engineering.
|Antiguo Cuscatlán||San Salvador||Santa Ana|