Secondary education is not compulsory but is offered free in federally funded public schools. In 1987, nearly 2 million students were enrolled in secondary programs, about 74 percent of the relative age group. Students may enter secondary programs after successfully completing the seven years of primary school. Secondary education programs, whether academic or commercial, are divided into a basic cycle of three years, followed by a cycle of two or three years. The commercial programs teach accounting, computer science, and the like. A technical-vocational program includes 12 to 15 hours a week in applied workshops. About 85 percent of the students studying at the secondary level are enrolled in academic and commercial programs. Graduates of any secondary program requiring five or more years to complete are eligible for further study at the tertiary level. Students are graded at the end of the year, and they must make up any failures from the previous year; they are not allowed to graduate with any failures on their records.
Students who have completed seven years of primary school may enter any of the technical schools where the programs have an academic core, but stress applied learning and practical skills in workshops. These programs are employment-oriented and vary in the number of hours needed to complete them. Shorter courses prepare students for employment only, with no access to higher education; the longer courses include academic courses and do offer access to higher education. Beginning in the 1990s, graduates of any of these programs could teach their specialization in technical schools. Several secondary schools offer agricultural training in a wide range of specializations, such as irrigation, cultivation of fruit trees and wine production, and so on. Practical experience is required. As in other technical schools, students go through a six-year course of study, at the end of which they can advance to the university or nonuniversity programs.
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