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Education in Argentina

Education in Argentina is a responsibility shared by the national government, the provinces and dick federal district and private institutions, though basic guidelines have historically been set by the Ministry of Education. Closely associated in Argentina with President Domingo Sarmiento's assertion that "the sovereign should be educated" ("sovereign" referring to the people), education has been extended nearly universally and its maintenance remains central to political and cultural debate.


Education in Argentina has an accomplished yet convoluted history. There was no effective educational plan until President Domingo Sarmiento placed emphasis on bringing Argentina up-to-date with practices in developed countries. Sarmiento encouraged the immigration and settling of European educators and built schools and public libraries throughout the country, in a programme that finally doubled the enrollment of students during his term; in Argentina, Teacher's Day (on September 11) commemorates his death. The first national laws mandating universal, compulsory, free and secular education (Law 1420 of Common Education) were sanctioned in 1884 during the administration of President Julio Roca. The non-religious character of this system, which forbad parochial schools from issuing official degrees directly, but only through a public university, harmed the relations between the Argentine State and the Catholic Church, leading to resistance from the local clergy and a heated conflict with the Holy See (through the Papal Nuncio).

Following the university reform of 1918, Argentine education, especially at university level, became more independent of the government, as well as the influential Catholic Church. The church began to re-emerge in country's secular educational system during the administration Juan Peron, when in 1947, catechism was reintroduced in public schools, and parochial institutions began sgain receiving subsidies. A sudden reversal in the policy in 1954 helped lead to Peron's violent overthrow, however, after which his earlier, pro-clerical policies were reinstated by General Pedro Aramburu. Aramburu's Law 6403 of 1955, which advanced private education generally, and parochial, or more often, Catholic-run schools (those staffed with lay techers), in particular, helped lead to the establishment of the Argentine Catholic University.

Esti Rein, Monica. Politics and education in Argentina, 1946-1962. M.E. Sharpe, 1998.

The program of deregulation and privatization pursued by President Carlos Menem in reaction to the country's socio-economic crisis of 1989 led to the decentralization of the Argentine secondary school system, whereby, from 1992 onwards, the schools' administration and funding became a provincial responsibility. The policy's weakness, however, lay in that federal revenue sharing did not increase accordingly, particularly given the decision to shift two primary school years to the secondary system. Delgado, Marta. Descentralizacion Educativa: entre una vieja utopia y la cautela

Real government spending on education increased steadily from the return of democratic rule in 1983 (with the exception of the crises in 1989 and 2002), and in 2007, totaled over US$14 billion.


In spite of its many problems, Argentina's higher education managed to reach worldwide levels of excellence in the 1960s. The Latin American docta can claim three Nobel Prize winners in the sciences: Luis Federico Leloir, Bernardo Houssay and Cesar Milstein the highest number in Latin America surpassing countries economically more developed and populated as Ireland or Spain.

The Argentine population at large benefits from a relatively high level of educational attainment, by regional standards. Among those age 25 and over, the highest level attained, per the 2001 Census, was distributed thus:


Education in Argentina is divided in three phases. The first comprises grades first to ninth, and is called Educacion General Basica or EGB . EGB is divided in three stages, called ciclos ("cycles"):

EGB I: 1st, 2nd and 3rd school years

EGB II: 4th, 5th and 6th school years

EGB III: 7th, 8th and 9th school years

Once the EGB is completed, the student finishes the mandatory schooling period and can choose to start secondary education, called Polimodal, which usually last two to three more years. EGB is mandatory to all students, although desertion is high in some parts of the country and laws intended to prevent this are rarely enforced.

The third stage is college education.

Education is funded by tax payers at all levels except for the majority of graduate studies. There are many private school institutions in the primary, secondary and university levels. Around 11.4 million people were enrolled in formal education of some kind in 2005:

Primary education

Accepted between ages 6 and 14.

Primary education comprises the first two EGB cycles . Because of the system that was in place until 1995 (7 years of primary school plus 5 or 6 of secondary school), primary schools used to offer grades 1–7, although most are already converted to accept 8th and 9th, others chose to eliminate 7th grade altogether, forcing the students to complete the 3rd cycle in another institution.

Secondary education

Secondary education in Argentina is called Polimodal , since it allows the student to choose his/her orientation. Polimodal is not yet obligatory but its completion is a requirement to enter colleges across the nation. Polimodal is usually 3 years of schooling, although some schools have a fourth year.

Conversely to what happened on primary schools, most secondary schools in Argentina contained grades 8th and 9th, plus Polimodal (old secondary) but then started converting to accept also 7th grade students, thus allowing them to keep their same classmates for the whole EGB III cycle.

This is different however, in the city of Buenos Aires (and several provinces), where Polimodal does not exist. The capital keeps in use the Traditional Argentine education system, composed of seven years of primary education and five years of secondary education . The secondary education system is thus divided in three large groups, "Bachiller" schools (very similar to grammar schools with a huge emphasis on humanistic studies), "Comercial" schools (focusing on economic sciences and everything related to it) and "Escuelas Tecnicas" each one subdivided in more specific orientations related to its main branch. Currently there are no plans to adopt the Polimodal system in the city of Buenos Aires, but rather, several provinces with that system are seriously considering a reform of it, with many opting for the traditional system still used in Buenos Aires. Examples of provinces that use the Traditional system include (besides the capital): Cordoba, Rio Negro, and La Pampa.

In December 2006 the Chamber of Deputies of the Argentine Congress approved a new National Education Law restoring the old system of primary followed by secondary education, making secondary education obligatory and a right, and increasing the length of compulsory education to 13 years. The government vowed to put the law in effect gradually, starting in 2007. Clarin

Argentina's network of vocational schools, many under the auspices of the National Technological University (UTN), have historically given students viable alternatives, as well.

College education

Argentina maintains a network of 39 National universities, financed by the Ministry of Education and tuition-free, since 1946. Private and parochial universities are also abundant, numbering 46 among the active institutions; but, their cost often reserves them only to more affluent students, and they enroll about a sixth of the collegiate student body (see University reform in Argentina and List of Argentine universities). In all, over 1.5 million students attend institutions of higher learning in Argentina, annually (roughly half the population of college age).Encyclopedia Britannica, Book of the Year. Statistical Appendix: Argentina.

The doctoral fields of study in Argentina are generally research-oriented doctoral studies, leading mostly to the awarding of the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Medicine, and juris doctor, among others. Enrollment in doctorate programs in Argentina is available to candidates having earned a Licentiate or Master's degree in a related area of study. Doctorate Engine Seeker - CONEAU by Areas Disciplinarias

Doctoral fields of study mostly pertain to one of five fields of knowledge: Applied Sciences, Basic Sciences, Health Sciences, Human Sciences and Social Sciences. The doctoral studies offered by the Argentine universities include multiple fields and do have national and international validity of the degrees granted.

Academic regulations governing doctorates, and their corresponding fields, in Argentina prescribe that all graduate courses must be accredited by the [[w:es:Comision Nacional de Evaluacion y Acreditacion Universitaria|National Commission for University Evaluation and Accreditation]]. This entity stands as a public and decentralized body working under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, Science and Technology. It administers the process of evaluation and accreditation for all doctorate programs, and is responsible for the institutional evaluation of all such programs at a national level. Graduate programs, including the Doctorados (PhDs), set standards per guidelines set forth by the Ministry of Science and Technology, together with the Universities Council.

Additionally, external evaluations of the doctoral programs are carried out by the National Commission for University Evaluation and Accreditation, or private entities created to that effect, together with the participation of academic peers. Argentine institutions of higher education provide further accreditation by international establishments to many of their courses of studies.

See also

University reform in Argentina

Science and technology in Argentina

Argentine University Federation

External links

Argentinian Government website for international students

Learning in Argentina

Ministry of Culture: Argentine Education

Statistics and more statistics about education in Argentina

Ministerio de Educacion, Ciencia y Tecnologia

National Commission for University Evaluation and Accreditation

Science and Education in Argentina

Argentine Higher Education Official Site

The Argentine Education System

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Education in Argentina

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