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Honduras - Educational System—overview

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceHonduras - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education

EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM—OVERVIEW

Schools in Honduras fall in four categories: preprimary, primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary. The Secretary of Public Education is the chief administrator. The Ministry of Education supervises the writing and publication of textbooks and is in charge of distributing them throughout the country. The curriculum is the same for the whole country and, following the spirit of the country's constitution, education inspectors make regular visits to insure that syllabi and textbooks are used and implemented properly. The inspectors also visit private schools.

Private education has flourished in the last third of the twentieth century. Unlike in other countries, private schools do not have as much academic prestige in Honduras, where they have the reputation of being little more than moneymaking enterprises. Despite the schools' lower academic standards, wealthy families like to send their children to the private schools because they still convey higher social status.

To pass any academic subject, students must achieve at least the 60 percent mark. They can repeat the same course several times during the year, but low achievers may be required to repeat grades. Education is compulsory from ages 7 to 13, and after finishing primary education, students are required to teach two adults in literacy. Dropout rates are high in both primary and secondary education, especially in the rural areas. While more than 90 percent of students enroll in primary schools, less than half complete their studies. Of those who do finish primary school, only one-third goes on to secondary schools. There are six universities in the country, led by the National Autonomous University in Tegucigalpa.

Although French and German are taught in some private institutions, the most popular language in both the private and the public systems is English. Most students, however, do not achieve the proficiency standards set by the state. The Internet, as a classroom tool, is slowly making its way into many Honduran schools, especially in urban areas. It is used the most at the main university in Honduras.

In the late twentieth century, the educational system in Honduras struggled with a lack of funds, teacher shortages, poor pedagogic training, and antiquated curricula. These problems were compounded in 1998 when Hurricane Mitch hit the country. An estimated one-fourth of schools were destroyed.


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