In Argentina the system functionally managed by the Ministry of Education is implemented at national, provincial and federal levels, and by private institutions. The first phase of education Educación General Básica
is divided into 3, three-year phases corresponding to junior and senior primary school, and middle school respectively. When this period of mandatory academic education is complete, a student has the choice of studying further or not.
Secondary education is in the process of being standardized into a 3-year polymodal
form that allows students to select their study orientation. This is not yet fully implemented yet, with many schools in larger cities maintaining an academic model that allows for subject specialization only. The are thus 3 broad kinds of secondary schools in Argentina. These are "Bachiller
" schools emphasising humanistic studies, "Commercial
" schools focusing on economic sciences and everything related to that, and "Escuelas Técnicas
" with a preference for technical and scientific education.
There is a network of vocational schools across the country many of which are associated with the National Technological University. These provide viable alternatives to the secondary school system, for young people wanting to enter more practical occupations.
Higher education in Argentina is divided into 3 phases, namely 3-year degrees (teachers and technicians), 4 – 6 year degrees (engineering, medicine, legal) and graduate qualifications. Although tertiary education is theoretically free, hidden costs such as accommodation, transportation, materials and forgoing income make this less than a reality.
There are 39 state universities in the country and another 46 private ones too. Of these the National University of Córdoba is the oldest, having been founded by jesuit monks on 1613.