Basic education includes preschool, primary school and lower secondary school. Federal, state, and local governments provide 93 percent of basic education, while private schools provide about 7 percent.
Preschool is optional and free, covering children aged between three and five years of age in three grades.
Primary education (6 years) is compulsory, with the state providing free education from the age of six. Primary school children spend between four and four-and-a-half hours in class every day. There are several educational pathways for specific population groups, including general education, bilingual-bicultural education and community education for children in the isolated regions of the country.
Lower-secondary education (3 years) is considered part of basic education and is compulsory as well. In order to enter students are required to have successfully completed six years of primary education.
After completing basic education students have the option to continue their studies in upper-secondary education (3 years). This stage is non-compulsory and has three pathways:
- General upper-secondary
- Technical professional education
- Technological upper-secondary
After completing upper-secondary education students can continue their studies in one of the following higher education institutions:
- Universities (4-5 year colleges and universities, called the licenciatura)
- Technical institutes (3-year programmes in engineering and management)
- Teacher-training colleges, offering bachelors degrees in the fields of education
- Technological universities, offering two-year programmes to prepare students as higher university technicians
Grading system in Mexico
The grading system for most institutions at all levels ranges from 1 to 10 with the following grades:
- 9-10: Muy Bien (MB) – very good
- 8: Bien (B) – good
- 6-7: Suficiente (S) – sufficient
- 0-5: Reprobado (R) - fail
The academic calendar for elementary and secondary education begins in September and ends on June 30th, with holidays in December and April. The academic calendar for institutions of higher education varies. Some universities offer year-long courses, although most institutions now employ a semester system.