Study and find schools in Guatemala
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Cities to study in Guatemala
Guatemala is a mid-size country located in Central America, with a total geographic land area of 42,000 square miles. A representative democracy, the country is bordered to the north and west by Mexico, to the southwest by the Pacific Ocean, to the northeast by Belize, to the east by the Caribbean Sea and to the southeast by Honduras and El Salvador. Guatemala is a former Mayan civilization that claimed its independence from Spain in September of 1821, after which the country has held free elections and featured a market-based economy. The capital and largest city in Guatemala is Guatemala City.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the population of Guatemala is an estimated 13.8 million. Ethnically, nearly 60 percent of the current population is Ladino, also called Mestizo, a title indicating a combination of mixed Amerindian and Spanish heritage. The remaining 40 percent of the population self-identifies as either European or Amerindian exclusively, as well as much smaller numbers of Asians, and East Indians. The European population in Guatemala is comprised primarily of Spanish descendants, but there are also smaller groups of Italians, Germans, British and people of Scandinavian heritage. The Amerindian population includes the K’iche (9%), Kaqchikel (8.5%), Mam (8%), Q’eqchi (6%) and others, with much smaller percentages. Spanish is the official language of Guatemala and is used for all official business of the government, including commerce, communication and education. It is also the most widely spoken language in the country, spoken as a first tongue by an overwhelming majority of the population. Christianity is the predominant religion in the country, particularly Roman Catholicism, a faith practiced by over 70 percent of the Guatemalan people.
Education in Guatemala
Education in Guatemala is overseen by the national government and is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 12, the 6 years that comprise a student’s primary education. The education is divided between three tiers: primary school, secondary school and tertiary or higher education.
Despite the government mandate with regard to compulsory attendance at the primary school level, nearly 35 percent of eligible children receive no formal education whatsoever, particularly children in the more rural and poverty stricken areas of Guatemala. Moreover, the majority of children who do attend school fail to finish their primary education, dropping, out on average, after only 4.1 years.
Secondary education is provided for students who complete their studies at the primary level and is divided between two types of institutions: general secondary schools and technical-vocational institutions. General secondary schools offer a curriculum that is largely academic and helps prepare students for university admission. Vocational institutions, on the other hand, offer some basic academic subjects, but the bulk of the curriculum at these schools centers on readying students to enter the workforce in one of many careers important to the Guatemalan economy.
While higher education at the university level is available for secondary school graduates in Guatemala, it is severely limited. A handful of universities can be found in some of the country’s more urban areas and are attended almost exclusively by students of wealthy families who can afford the fees. Vocational education is widely available at the post-secondary level and focuses on specialized career fields within the Guatemalan community.
Map of Guatemala