The education system

An overview

The education system

The quality of the public school education is rated very low, a lot of expats opt for private schools. The school year in Nicaragua starts in February and ends in November.

Quality of education

The Nicaraguan government controls the education, through the Ministry of Education. In 2013 Nicaragua ranked 132nd on the Education Index , an index that is included in the yearly Human Development report from the United Nations Development Programme. 91.2% of the youth population is literate (2015 ). This youth literacy rate percentage is a little bit lower than the average percentage of other lower middle income countries. More statistical information on the Nicaraguan education system can be retrieved from the Education Policy and Data Center .

Types of schools

Most expats decide to enroll their children in private English/Spanish bilingual schools. Next to private school, public schools are also readily available in the country. When choosing a school either for yourself or for your children, it is important to know that there is a disparity in attendance and performance between public and private schools. The percentage of students succeeding in private schools is much greater than of those in public schools. But, of course, it depends more on the individual than on the school system. Public schools tend to be cheaper though, or sometimes even free. Public primary schools are always free, the private ones are not.

The system

Children in Nicaragua have to attend primary school, which starts when they are 6 years old, and ends when they are 11.
Diverse options for kindergarten schools are available in Nicaragua, ranging from public or private to bilingual schools. At the age of 6 children in Nicaragua must attend primary school until the age of 12, When they progress to lower secondary school. This cycle lasts 3 years, from the ages of 12 to 14.

Finally, pupils attend upper secondary school for two years, typically graduating at the age of 16.  Students also have the option of entering a local university upon passing the entrance exam, with undergraduate degrees typically lasting four or five years. After, they can choose to study for two more years to receive a postgraduate degree. Nicaragua also has vocational schools, the main focus being on technicians.

Sources suggest that around 40% of the country’s pupils are over the age for the level they should be studying at.

Further reading

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