Nicaragua is a land of young people, where 65% of the population is younger than 25. These young people are becoming increasingly
more interested in education because of the growing need for educated workers. Elementary and high school education is mandatory and free for all children. There are also universities around Nicaragua, several of which are affiliated with United States universities. The Nicaraguan government is seeking to improve the education in the country and has recently increased funding greatly. The last increase allowed almost 150,000 more students to enter grade school and 125,000 into high school.
And, as stated in a memorandum to the IMF, the government is going to dedicate even more funds to education in the future.
Recent promotions and other programs have increased the enrollment in colleges by a substantial amount.
|A student with her homework. Copyright: Gerald Bauer|
Generally speaking, education is not a problem in the cities and most students graduate from high school. However, out in the country, a surprising amount of students drop out of the system between elementary and high school. Another problem is that, because teacher's salaries are so low, education is sub-standard, and without a good basis it is impossible for the students to receive advanced education in college. Bachelor degree programs last five years, but the first two years are more like the last two years of high school in stead of college because so much remedial material has to be covered for the average student coming from the traditional Nicaraguan educational system. Graduates from the better private schools often skip a year or two when entering the university program because they already know the material.
The most popular majors by far in Nicaragua's 14 major universities are international relations and business and medicine. Secondary education is extremely cheap by international standards. Tuition at private universities is about one thousand dollars a year and public schools run even less. Instruction at these universities is carried out in Spanish except at the University of Mobile, Latin American Campus where classes are in English.
There are four English-speaking schools, all in Managua, including: the American-Nicaraguan School, the Lincoln Academy, the Notre Dame School, and the Nicaraguan Christian Academy. The American-Nicaraguan school is considered to offer the best education in English and the Escuela Pedagogico La Salle is the most reputable Spanish school. There are also French, German, and other national schools although the instruction is primarily in Spanish at these schools.