The responsibility for education in Argentina is divided amongst the national government, the provinces and federal districts, plus private institutions, which provide their own means of funding. All issues concerning education are overseen by the Ministry of Education.
Foreign students can attend any of the schools in the Argentine school system after passing “validation and equivalencies” examinations. When these examinations are done, the student will be placed in the level and class appropriate for his or her learning level. With specific goals laid out to accommodate the needs of every student and his or her specific needs, there is a school and education regime for your child.
While it is not obligatory, children can be enrolled in school starting as early as the age of 45 days old. This initial level goes from forty-five days to five years old, and the last year is mandatory.
From five years old (the obligatory year of the initial level) onto adolescence(secondary level) school enrollment and attendance is required. Each year of education, from the initial level to the secondary level, promotes specific objectives and areas of comprehension, but all share the same basic mission.
Some of the goals include the integration of the student into his or her family and community as an active member; cognizant development; creative development; development of personal and social concepts such as teamwork, confidence, friendship, independence and respect for his or herself and for others; and of course, the access to knowledge.
School days are typically divided into two four hour periods, starting at 8:00 am to 12:00 pm with a break in between and starting back up at 13:00 in the afternoon. There are very few schools that offer full day schedules in Argentina, and those that do are typically private institutions. Almost all schools, public or private, follow the same ten point grading system.
Before the age of six, families have the option of sending their children to the initial level of school (equivalent to kindergarten). At this level, educators focus on motor skills; verbal and non-verbal expression and communication and on developing creative capacities. They also try to encourage the children to love and enjoy learning. At this level, educational inequalities stemming from social and familiar origins are also addressed. At the last year of the initial level, when the child is five years old, enrollment becomes obligatory so that children can begin learning processes that will influence their education later on.
The next level, primary school, begins at six years old. Students have up to the age of 14 to complete it if they have to repeat grades. In the primary level, students begin to develop their sense of common knowledge as they simultaneously add to their repertoires the subjects of language and communication; social sciences; mathematics; natural and environmental sciences; foreign languages and art and culture. Most importantly, they learn how to apply all of these lessons to the real world. At this level, the students are taught how to take initiative and responsibility in their own work. Typically by the age of 12, a child completes the primary level and moves up to the secondary level.
The secondary level (high school) is divided into two cycles- the basic cycle and the targeted cycle. In the basic level, the student builds on his or her studies from the primary level.
In the targeted cycle, studies are aimed at more specific fields of study that will be used further along in the student’s choice of career.
In the secondary level, students are prepared for after school and learn to eliminate discrimination; stimulate the creative capacities; encourage healthy physical habits and to develop reading, writing, speaking and listening in Spanish and in foreign languages.