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Education In South America

( Originally Published 1912 )


Elementary schools consist of six grades of one year each. There is a school attendance of about 600,000.

Secondary education is given in colegios, between twenty and thirty in number, with a five-year course, chiefly for those intending to follow professional careers. Pupils enter at about the age of twelve.

The universities are three in number: Cordoba, founded in 1613; Buenos Ayres, with nearly 3000 students ; and La Plata, recently established. They are national in government and support and resemble the French universities in organization.

Vocational training receives some attention. There are two public industrial schools for boys, who enter with four years of elementary work and follow a six-years course, the last two years of which lead to a special trade. There are a few commercial schools of elementary grade, both day and evening, for men (four-years course) and for women (three-years course).

Girls are admitted to the colegio on equal terms with boys, but the prevailing prejudice against coeducation prevents many girls from attending. There are two secondary schools, liceos, for women only.


By the law of 1895 elementary schooling is provided in three cycles : infant, of two grades ; elementary, of three grades ; and superior, of three grades.

Secondary education is given in eight colleges, five clerical institutions, and five private lyceos, in all accommodating some 3000 students. The course is of six years and leads to the degree of Bachelor of Science or of Letters. Higher education is provided by seventeen institutions with 700 students. The course in law is five years ; of medicine, seven years ; of pharmacy, four years ; of theology, four years. There are, too, schools of mines and of commerce and of industrial arts.


Each State has an independent system, but all follow a common pattern.

The elementary schools have six-year courses with a supplementary two years.

Secondary schools have a seven-year course and lead into the higher schools.

Higher education is provided by twenty-five special faculties, schools, institutes, etc. There are no true universities.

Trade schools are already established in more than half of the States.

Separate schools for girls are required.


The elementary course is six years, given in schools one fifth of which are private.

Secondary education has been characterized as the " best in South America." There are about forty liceos for boys and thirty for girls. Pupils enter at twelve years of age, and follow a preparatory course of two years and a humanities course of six years.

The University of Chile (1743) has seven faculties, with about 1000 students. There is also a prosperous Catholic University at Santiago.

There are several commercial schools with admission requirements the same as for the liceos; also a school of Mechanic Arts, at Santiago, and agricultural and technical schools.


In consequence of legislation of 1908 there has been a revival in interest in elementary schools, in which a quarter-million pupils are now enrolled.

There are numerous secondary schools of the college type.

There are four universities, at Bogota, Antioquia, Popayan, and Cartagena.


Ecuador has a school enrollment of nearly 100,000. There are over 1000 elementary, 35 secondary, and 9 higher educational schools. The chief seat of learning is the University of Quito, with four facultiesólaw, science, medicine, and philosophy and letters.


There is a well-planned system of elementary schools of six years, enrolling about 700,000 and some forty secondary schools of four or five years.

The only higher institutions are professional in character, "institutes" or "schools" of medicine, engineering, agriculture, commerce, administration, etc.


Elementary education is being given rapidly increasing attention.

Secondary schools enroll about 3000 students.

The University of Montevideo is at the head of the educational system, with faculties in law, medicine, arts, agriculture, mathematics, and social sciences.


Elementary school enrollment is meager.

There are 57 secondary schools and 54 national colleges. Of the latter, some have a two-year preparatory course, then four years leading to a bachelor's degree.

Higher education centers in the University of Los Andes, at Merida, and the National Academy of Fine Arts, the School of Arts and Trades, and the Central University, all at Caracas.

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