In principle, primary and secondary schools have been
free since the Sandinist revolution in 1979, but since the
1990s the number of private schools has increased and the
resources of public schools have been reduced. The education
system has undergone major changes in parallel with the
changing ideological attitude of the political authorities.
According to UNESCO calculations in 2001, illiteracy
among the adult population was approx. 23%. More recent
statistics suggest that illiteracy among children has
increased in the 2000s.
The 6-year primary school (primaria) is compulsory and
starts when the children are 6 years old. The secondary
school (secundaria) is 5 or 6 years old. In 2001, 82% of
primary school children began; however, the dropout rate is
relatively large in the poor part of the population. 37%
continued in high school. The Sandinist government from 2006
also emphasizes preschool/kindergarten (preescolar) as
part of the education system. Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Nicaragua.
Higher education takes place at Escuela Normal, which
includes, among other things, teacher education, at various
private institutions, and at universities. The country has
four public and four private universities. The most
important are the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua
(UNAN) in Managua - created in 1812 - and in León - created
in 1680; moreover, a branch of the Jesuit Universidad
Centroamericana (UCN). None of Nicaragua's universities
today (2009) have doctoral studies, and research is very
limited. Many Nicaraguan professionals are educated in the
United States, Europe, and other Central American countries.