Although not completely free (parents who can afford to pay do so) education is a high priority in El Salvador where so many poor families are still fighting to escape poverty. To make their lot worse, standards in rural areas are low compared to cities. Following optional kindergarten children enroll in primary school at age 7. The 9 years of schooling that will follow are divided into 3 cycles of 3 years each, of which the third is a transition to middle education
Secondary education continues for a further 2 years following which students receive a general bachelors degre
e equivalent to a high school diploma. Unless planning to go on to university they may stay one year longer, and top-out their school education with a technical bachelor's degree
(for exampole in accountancy, computer science or secretarial services).
Vocational training is provided by private colleges. This is overseen by the Salvadorian Vocational Training Institute. It aims to grow the country's knowledge base while improving the living standards of workers and their families.
There are 23 universities in El Salvador. of which some are secular and some have religious affiliations. The normative study period for a bachelor's degree is 4 - 5 years, following which masters and doctorate courses may be followed too.
El Salvador University is the oldest tertiary institution in the country, being founded in 1841 on the joint initiative of a general and a priest. Like so much of the country it has suffered torrid times at the hands of rebels and dictators. Recently it joined hands with government, and funding has returned again