Education in Argentina
Published by UNESCO "UNION NACIONAL DE EDUCACION SUPERIOR CONTINUA ORGANIZADA"
"NATIONAL UNION OF CONTINUOUS ORGANIZED HIGHER EDUCATION"
1. Primary Education
In Argentina the system functionally managed by the Ministry of Education is implemented at national, provincial and federal levels, and by private institutions. The first phase of education Educación General Básica is divided into 3, three-year phases corresponding to junior and senior primary school, and middle school respectively. When this period of mandatory academic education is complete, a student has the choice of studying further or not.
2. Secondary Education
Secondary education is in the process of being standardized into a 3-year polymodal form that allows students to select their study orientation. This is not yet fully implemented yet, with many schools in larger cities maintaining an academic model that allows for subject specialization oVnly. The are thus 3 broad kinds of secondary schools in Argentina. These are "Bachiller" schools emphasising humanistic studies, "Commercial" schools focusing on economic sciences and everything related to that, and "Escuelas Técnicas" with a preference for technical and scientific education.
3. Vocational Information
There is a network of vocational schools across the country many of which are associated with the National Technological University. These provide viable alternatives to the secondary school system, for young people wanting to enter more practical occupations.
4. Tertiary Education
Higher education in Argentina is
divided into 3 phases, namely 3-year degrees (teachers and technicians), 4 – 6
year degrees (engineering, medicine, legal) and graduate qualifications.
Although tertiary education is theoretically free, hidden costs such as
accommodation, transportation, materials and forgoing income make this less
than a reality.
There are 39 state universities in the country and another 46 private ones too. Of these the National University of Córdoba is the oldest, having been founded by jesuit monks on 1613.
5. General Information
In Argentina, the education system is a responsibility shared by the national government, the provinces, federal districts and private institutions. The Ministry of Education is in charge of setting basic national guidelines, while curricular decisions are generally made at the provincial level.
The education system is composed of four levels: Early Childhood Education, Primary Education, Secondary Education and Higher Education. Early Childhood Education includes Kindergarten (ages 2-4) and one year of Pre-school (age 5). Elementary education is from grades 1-6 or 7 and secondary education is from grades 7 or 8-12, depending on the province. All students are required by law to complete 13 years of schooling, from pre-school through 12th grade. Higher education includes universities and tertiary institutions.
The academic calendar is from March to December, with a short winter break in the month of July.
The Argentine grading scale is from 1 to 10. “Good” GPAs vary considerably depending on the field and institution.
6. Grading System
10 Sobresaliente (Outstanding)
8-9 Distinguido (Distinguished)
6-7 Bueno (Good)
4-5 Aprobado (Pass)
2-3 Insuficiente (Insufficient)
0-1 Reprobado (Fail)
7. Higher education
In Argentina higher education was exclusively public and free until 1958, when new legislation was introduced permitting the creation of private universities. The public universities are financed by the federal government and do not charge tuition.
Research has shown that 63% of the students graduating from high school choose to attend a university. Over a million students are enrolled in the Argentine university system. Eighty-five percent of these students attend national public universities. The University of Buenos Aires, with 250,000 students, is the largest one in the country.
Traditionally, Argentine universities have followed a European model in terms of academic structure and offer specialized programs with few elective courses. Today, most public and private universities offer undergraduate and graduate programs.
In 1995, the government established an independent institution, CONEAU, which is in charge of institutional evaluation and accreditation of graduate and undergraduate programs.
8. Undergraduate Programs
Undergraduate programs are very specialized and center on a specific area of study from the very beginning. The basic undergraduate degree program, called the Licenciatura, requires, on average, 5/6 years to complete (in addition to one year of introductory courses required at some universities). The Licenciatura degree allows students to apply directly to doctoral level programs without any other additional degrees.
At public universities there are no entrance exams, students simply enroll in the different undergraduate programs. However, at the University of Buenos Aires students are required to pass a certain number of introductory courses.
9. Graduate degrees
Until 15 years ago, graduate studies, except in a few subjects at the doctoral level, were virtually unknown in Argentina. However, in the last years there has been a tremendous growth in the number of graduate degree programs offered by Argentina’s public and private universities.
10. Professional degrees
Teacher Training Colleges and Technical institutions grant professional degrees. This sector trains individuals to work in the teaching, health and technology-related professions, among others.