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Preprimary & Primary Education

The existence of a primary school and teacher in a village is seen as the first step out of poverty and disrespect by most poor and rural citizens. Preparatory education begins as early as the child's first year of life and continues up the point at which the student enters primary school at age six. The first four of these preparatory years focus on involving the parent in the development of the child, while the final two years constitute a kindergarten program with the aim of preparing the child for the more structured primary curriculum. Among the goals of the preparatory education system is the early diagnosis of learning disabilities, as well as family education regarding standards of hygiene, nutrition, and other environmental factors that predict student success. One of the most important goals for the Ministry of Education is to reach all four- and five-year-old children with preparatory education services. In 1999, the Ministry estimated a coverage of 63 percent of four-year-olds and 82.4 percent of five-year-olds, up significantly from 56.6 percent and 78.5 percent, respectively, in 1993 but still considerably below a level of coverage that might be termed universal.

Primary education serves students from ages 6 through 11 and is divided into two portions. The first of these portions lasts four years followed by a two-year second portion. The goals stated by the Ministry of Education for the primary years include the fostering of an independent and critical mind in the student along with basic education in the areas of science, the humanities, and technology; citizenship development; and vocational readiness. Toward that end, the government prescribes a curriculum including the study of mathematics, language, social studies, science, physical education, art, religion, and practical arts. Primary school enrollment in 1999 was reported at 3.3 million.

In 1998, the Ministry of Education presented a new curriculum for basic education, which was to be put into effect in 2000. This curriculum, while not a drastic departure from the curricula of the past, presented objectives and methods in a more consistent and competencyoriented manner. The basic education curriculum has been divided into five major areas: communication, including oral, written, and visual; mathematics and logic; personal and social studies; science and environmental studies; and religion. For each of these areas the curriculum provides fundamental disciplinary assumptions, specific competencies, and suggested methods for achieving these competencies.

The curriculum and educational objectives of the primary schools for both traditional and non-traditional students are established by the Ministry of Education. Completion is based on the mastery of objectives, not on time, although this flexibility does have limits. Students are evaluated four times each year using a progressive evaluation instrument. A cumulative evaluation is performed at the conclusion of the academic year in order to determine the readiness for promotion of the student. This instrument is aimed at an overall measurement of the facts, processes, and activities included in the previous year's work. The examination is graded on a scale from 0 to 20. An average in all areas of 11 with passing grades in both language and mathematics is required for promotion to the next grade. Those students failing are allowed to retest in March, a month before the beginning of the school year, in order to remain at their appropriate age-grade level.

Students failing to achieve either the overall score on the annual examination or failing the mathematics or language component are not allowed to advance to the next grade in the primary sequence. Also, students who are absent for 30 or more days during the school year will be required to repeat the grade level. For those students aged 15 and older who have not already completed the basic education requirements of the primary school, the schools provide a separate but parallel program of study in the evenings, allowing these students to work while completing their studies. Since the 1970s, the government has expanded such non-traditional study programs by funding vocational training centers for students who have not excelled in academic settings. These centers, often working in partnership with private industry, strive to adapt instruction to the particular needs of the learner.

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