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Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

The overseeing body, the Ministry of Education, is divided into directorates that not only supervise primary and secondary programs but also regulate educationally related activities in the fields of adult and vocational studies, fine arts, planning, and teacher training programs. The Ministry has a complex bureaucratic structure that includes directorates for supervising vocational, literacy, adult, and technical education. In addition, it contains directorates of a more administrative nature that control budget and auditing activities. The state monitors private education and exercises control over its curriculum. Since 1975 public education has been radically decentralized and much authority has been shifted to the ten provincial directorates.

The constitution gives education budgetary priority, and the government allows certain taxes to be used for educational programs. In the 1930s one-fourth of the government budget went to education and in 1998 the government spent 7.1 percent of the GDP on education. In 1997 expenditures were distributed as follows: preprimary and primary education (31.1 percent), secondary (19.8 percent), and higher education (26.1 percent).

Besides the Ministry of Education, other institutions play a key role in the administration of public education. They include the National Institute of Culture, the Institute of Special Rehabilitation, and the Institute for Training and Development of Human Resources as well as the National Institute of Sports.

Academic and scientific research is not a high priority in Panama. The Ministry of Education encourages research to upgrade the curriculum and to introduce new methodologies and technologies in the classroom. However, politics and the bureaucracy that permeate these efforts thwart implementation.

Additional topics

Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferencePanama - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education