Constitutional & Legal Foundations
The responsibility for administering the educational system is shared by the federal government and the 22 provincial governments. This responsibility arises from a number of legal sources, including the National Constitution, the provincial constitutions and laws, and various decrees and resolutions made by national and provincial political leaders since the nineteenth century. Each province addresses education differently, though all of them specify that primary education is free and compulsory, and all deal with school financing.
The Constitution of 1853 stipulated that the National Congress was responsible for general and university education; the provinces, for primary schools. Law number 1420, enacted in 1874, set down the administration of primary schools, inspection, school finance, and so on. Under this law, education from the ages of 6 to 14 is compulsory and free to everyone through the university.
In 1993 a new federal Law, number 24.195, superseded Law 1.420, placing the entire national educational system under legislative control and setting new objectives, academic structure, and content for all levels of education. The Law gives the Ministry of Culture and Education the authority to make policy and control the quality of education. In addition, the Law establishes the means for gathering statistical information on schools, evaluating and regulating teaching quality, and improving school infrastructures.
The federal government established the Federal Educational Pact, made up of members of the national administration, the provinces, and the municipality of Buenos Aires. Among its many principles, the Pact specifies the amount and source of financing that education is to receive. By 2000, the goal was to achieve 100 percent attendance of children 5- to 14-years-old. The Pact members also aimed to eliminate ill-equipped schools and to upgrade school libraries and instructional equipment.
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