What’s education like in El Salvador?

Education Statistics:
  • Education is free through the ninth grade (up to age 14), but only 82% of children make it this far).
  • 6% of Salvadoran children never attend any school.
  • 33% of the children old enough for secondary school actually attend.
  • The adult literacy is 79% for men and 73% for women.

    The education system in El Salvador:
    Mandatory Education:
    Age of entry: 7
    Age of exit: 15

    Basic primary education:
    Length of program: 9 years
    Ages: 7-15
    Award: certificate

    Middle secondary education:
    Length of program: 2 years
    Ages: 15-17
    Award: Bachillerato General
    ( basic course work for entry to college)

    Technological secondary education:
    Length of program: 3 years
    Ages: 15-17
    Award: Bachillerato General Vocational
    (3rd year is comprised of specialized courses that help them enter the labor market).

    University level studies:
    First stage: técnico or technician, physiotherapy, maternal and infant hygiene, clinical lab work etc.) 3-year program.
    Second stage: licenciatura or bachelor’s degree (architect, engineer, surgeon in dentistry etc) 5-year program.
    Third stage: 2 years of education after the licenciatura and must prepare a short thesis.
    Fourth stage: Doctorado (doctor in medicine y Ph.d). Achieved after approximately 7 years of study.
    Teacher Education: Teachers are trained at Special Higher Education Institutes. 3 years leads to the title called “profesorado”. It requires a minimum of 96 credits.

    Higher Education Teachers are trained at universities.

    Grading System in El Salvador:
    Full description: 1-10
    Higher scale: 1-10
    Pass/Fail: 5
    Lowest: 1

    Classes in session:
    Classes: February to December.
    Long vacation: December 15 to January 31.

    Education of Salvadorans in the US:
  • In the 1970s and 1980s many Salvadoran parents did not send their students to U.S. public schools for fear of being detected and deported (for families who did not have proper documentation to be in this country).
  • Immigration status for Salvadoran students is varied: some are residents, others have work permits, others were born here, but raised in El Salvador while several have yet to acquire their proper documentation to be in this country.
  • In 1982 the Supreme Court made a decision establishing that children of “undocumented people were entitled to an education”.
  • AB 540 (2001) of California permits students who do not have proper paperwork to be in this country, but who have student in a U.S. high school for three years can attend the University at the same cost to any other resident in California.
  • The Dream Act, which has not yet been passed, would allow students to get legal status to live in this country.