There is, in principle, a nine-year free basic education, which is divided into three three-year stages. During the first two stages, about 90% of children go to school, while less than half do so during the third stage. School conditions are significantly worse in rural areas than in cities. The illiteracy of those 15 years and older is estimated at 26% (1992). A private school system operated by the Catholic Church exists alongside the state, especially at the university level; some thirty colleges are private. In San Salvador there is a state university, founded in 1841.
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On November 16, a new phase of negotiations began, this time at the UN headquarters. On this occasion, the FMLN unilaterally decreed a ceasefire that would apply until a new agreement on a final ceasefire had been signed. Along with this, a parliamentary delegation from Spain visiting El Salvador prepared a report on the killings of the 6 Spanish Jesuit priests from the University of San Salvador. In this report, which was handed over to the Spanish Parliament, the European Parliament, the Salvadoran Parliament and the United States, El Salvador’s government and army were accused of concealing evidence that could lead to the resolution of the crimes.
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After 21 weeks of negotiations – and 12 years of civil war in which 75,000 had died, 8,000 had disappeared and more than 1 million Salvadorans fled – on January 1, 1992, both sides signed the New York agreement that ended the civil war in El Salvador, defining the period for the complete cessation of the war to last from 1 February to 3 October 1992; during that period a space was created to enable the peace treaty to be fulfilled and negotiations continued with the assistance of the United Nations and the Organization of American Nations (OAS).
In the Chapultepec district of the Mexican capital, the final agreement was signed on January 16, 1992. It proposed significant constitutional changes and a restructuring of the structure, organization and training of the army; it was proposed to reform the real estate situation in the agricultural sector and to enable the employees to participate in the privatization of state-owned enterprises. In addition, initiatives were taken to establish an organization to guarantee respect for human rights and at the same time ensure that the status of the legal political organization was respected by the FMLN.
Acc. the agreement meant that the government would reduce the number of soldiers by 50%, thus reducing 30,000 active soldiers in 1994, while the intelligence service would have to be completely shut down. From March 3, a new civilian police force was set up to incorporate FMLN guerrilla soldiers. The National Reconciliation Act generally issued amnesty to all political prisoners in January 1992.
The government also agreed to distribute land to the former soldiers of both the warring parties and provide assistance to the peasants. After being transformed into a political party on April 30, 1991, in its first political message, on February 1, 1992, the FMLN called on all opposition parties to form a coalition prior to the 1994 elections. After living for years under the ground was the first public political meeting of the FMLN led by former commanders Shafick Handal, Joaquin Villalobos, Fernán Cienfuegos, Fansisco Jovel and Leonel González.
In early March 1992, the extent of the problems associated with the implementation of the peace agreement began to be understood. Several UNTS leaders accused the government of violating the agreement and of launching a scam against the NGOs.