Preprimary & Primary Education
Primary education as both the foundational level of studies and the level with the highest proportion of eligible students enrolled has traditionally been the most important focus of the Ministry of Education's work. The first six years of compulsory education are handled by the nation's primary schools, which serve students ranging in age from 6 to 12 years. At the completion of this course of study, students are awarded a Diploma de Educacion Primaria (Diploma of Primary Education). Of the 160,000 students in the primary schools in 1999, some 87.01 percent completed the year's studies, a rate that rose slowly but consistently over the decade of the 1990s. The objectives stated by the Ministry of Education for the primary curriculum are to develop fundamental skills in the areas of mathematics, reading, writing, science, and Christian moral values. Successful students are to be able to function in these skills at a level that will allow them to move into one of the courses of study available in the secondary schools.
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