|In 1952, only a third of the Bolivian population
could read and write. That year was the beginning of a period of sweeping
educational reforms. Public education became available to most Bolivians.
Today education is free and compulsory for children from the ages of 6
to 14. Although the government is trying to improve education, some schools,
especially those in remote areas, are underfunded. Often there is no money
for textbooks or other supplies. Many children are unable to attend school
because their families are very poor and they must work.
In areas where schools are overcrowded, children
go to school in shifts, either in the morning or in the afternoon. Because
Bolivia is in the southern hemisphere, its school year is different from
that in Canada. Classes run from March until the end of November, with
a short break in June.
|Children are usually taught in Spanish. However,
in rural areas, the mother tongue of many children is not Spanish. There
are efforts under way to provide education for children in indigenous languages
and to introduce Spanish gradually.
Students attend primary school from the age
of 6 or 7 to the age of 14. They may continue their education at a secondary
school or at a technical secondary school, both of which have four-year
programs. There are several universities and technical schools in Bolivia.
The largest university is the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in
La Paz. The Universidad de San Francisco Xavier in Sucre was founded in
1624 and is one of the oldest in the Americas.
Did you know?
public elementary schools wear white uniforms.While girls continue to wear
this uniform in public secondary schools, boys are not required to do so.