The education system in Peru has since the beginning of the 1960s expanded greatly in connection with the rapid urbanization. At the same time, the state’s influence over governance and financing has increased. The proportion of illiterates in the adult population decreased from 38% in 1963 to 10% in 2007. Almost half of the population speaks native (Native American) languages, which means that many primary schools are taught in both Quechua and Spanish.
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Most children of primary and secondary school age attend state schools with free education. The primary school starts at the age of six, is compulsory and consists of six year courses. The secondary school is divided into two stages, a 2-year old and a 3-year old. In practice, it has two programs, one university preparation and one more vocational and technical. The drop-out rate includes one third of secondary school students.
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The higher education, which is conducted at some 80 universities, of which just over half are private, encompasses larger proportions of the age groups than in most Latin American countries. Since the 1960s, the proportion who go to higher education has increased dramatically. Despite selective intake, the dropout rate during the studies is large.
In 2002, violent demonstrations were carried out against the plans to privatize two large Peruvian electricity companies. 1 were killed and several hundred protesters injured. After two weeks of demonstrations, Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi resigned, and Toledo suspended the privatization plans.
In 2003, a Lima court sentenced Vladimiro Montesino to 8 years in prison for fraud. The year before, he had been jailed for misdemeanor abuse and for illegally taking over the post of chief of intelligence. He continues to be charged with a number of other matters.
In 2003, Prime Minister Beatriz Merino resigned, after being involved in corruption scandals, which she, however, denied being innocent of.
In April 2004, six people died and hundreds of tourists were trapped following a landslide near the historic ruins of Machu Picchu. The landslide severed links between the ruins and Cuzco.
That same month, the mayor of Ilave at the Bolivia border, Fernando Cirilo Robles Callomamani was lynched by a crowd accusing him of corruption. The following month, the population blocked the roads to Ilave demanding the release of 7 men accused of taking part in the lynching. Local leaders stated that the deadline for dialogue between the government commission and the people had expired without the central administration taking action.
That same month, hundreds of cocoa growers protested against the Toledo government in Tingo María in the Peruvian selva. According to information from the city police, 3 police officers were injured and 12 people were detained. The clashes occurred as a result of the government’s program of destruction of coca plantations. At the same time, several hundred nurses in Lima were on strike for higher wages.
In March 2005, the National Commission for Development and a Live Without Substances (Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida its Drugs) stated that drugs worth $ 7 billion. US $ is handled annually by the drug barons in Peru. That is equivalent to 50% of the state budget. About 60,000 hectares are used in Peru for the production of coca, and 90% of this production is exported. The country has resources to produce 165 tonnes of cocaine a month, equivalent to 25% of the world’s consumption. In the first months of 2005, the Peruvian Coca farmers stepped up their protests, organized protest marches from the Lima Rainforest, and strike indefinitely, demanding that the reduction in the cultivation area occur gradually and in agreement with the farmers. The government claimed that the drug barons were behind the protests, which in turn was rejected by the peasants.
In August, a political crisis was triggered when President Toledo appointed one of his close friends, Fernando Olivera, as Foreign Minister. Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero resigned after the appointment, as did Minister of Housing Carlos Bruce. Toledo requested that the remaining members of the government make their posts available so that the president himself could assess who should continue and who should not. The political uprising led by Ferrero was another severe blow to Toledo, whose popularity had dropped drastically since taking over the presidential post.
In November, Fujimori was arrested when he surprisingly arrived in Chile. He apparently had plans to return to Peru, and Lima asked him to be extradited. Twenty months later, the request was rejected by a Chilean judge, but in any case, Fujimori remained under house arrest in Chile.
In April 2006, presidential elections were held in Peru. Toledo was prevented from participating in the elections due to the trial of former President Fujimori. None of the candidates got over 50% in the first round of elections and a second round was therefore completed in June. It was won by Alan Garcia, who was also the country’s president in 1985-90. He got 53.1% of the vote against Ollanta Humala who got 46.9%. Garcia was posted to the post in July 2006.
In January 2007, Garcia suffered his most serious defeat as Congress voted by 49 to 26 downplaying his death sentence over members of the Luminous Path.
In April 2007, Parliament granted special powers to Garcia. He was given the right to rule per. decree in narcotics cases and organized crime cases. In July, strikes among teachers and peasants stalled for 15 days. Demonstrations during the strikes cost 18 killed and hundreds wounded. In the end, teachers and peasants succeeded in reaching an agreement with the government. The Minister for Foreign Trade subsequently announced that the strikes had cost DKK 5 million. US $, only within his territory.
In 2008, a Peruvian TV station played a tape recording a conversation between Alberto Quimper who was the director of Petroperú and a lobbyist and prominent member of the ruling Apra party, Rómulo León Alegría. The two discussed how they could help Norwegian oil exploration company Discover Petroleum for concessions. The corruption case led to extensive demonstrations demanding the resignation of the government. In the end, Prime Minister Jorge del Castillo was fired and replaced with Yehude Simon. Simon had been a member of the guerrilla group MRTA in the 80’s and 90’s and had been sentenced to 20 years in prison under Fujimori.