Children in El Salvador start their nine-year
primary school at the age of seven. Almost all children
go to the lower stages but many then drop out. The
quality of education is often low.
Formally, compulsory schooling applies to children
from 1 to 15 years. Nevertheless, few in the lowest ages
participate in any form of education. Just over half of
children between the ages of 4 and 6, mainly in the
cities, attend preschool, which is usually three hours a
The elementary school is divided into three stages in
three years each. Education should be free of charge in
state schools, but many families still pay for school
uniforms and books. The private schools, many of which
are run by the church, are subject to fees. The lower
classes are often gender segregated - girls go by
themselves and boys by themselves. Only in the
corresponding high school are the classes usually
combined. The school year runs from January to November.
Allcitypopulation: Offers a list of biggest cities in the state of El
Salvador, including the capital city which hosts major colleges and
Country facts of El Salvador, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
About every third child fails to attend high school.
Rural children attend school to a lesser extent than
children in cities. This is partly because the
authorities cannot always give the children the right
education because of a lack of teachers and resources,
and partly because the children have to contribute to
the family's livelihood and therefore are at home part
of the school year.
The left government that took office in 2009
introduced a social program with free school food,
school uniforms and materials for the poor. The
proportion of children in the school subsequently
increased for a few years, but has since dropped again.
After compulsory school, a two-year high school is
offered that gives university admission, or three years
for those who want a vocational education. One third of
young people go to high school.
There are a number of universities and colleges.
Founded in 1841, the State University of El Salvador (UES)
is the largest with over 50,000 students. The UES is
headquartered in San Salvador but is represented in
several locations in the country. Jesuit University
Universidad Centroamericano José Simeón Cañas (UCA)
actively participates in the social debate.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
80.6 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
88.1 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
16.1 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
16.1 percent (2016)
Ex-President Flores surrenders
Former President Francisco Flores surrenders and is
placed under house arrest (see May 2014).
Criminal gangs give armory a second chance
The leaders of five criminal gangs say they will
cease attacks on police and military in an attempt to
rein in the ceasefire. They say they want to give peace
"a second chance". The number of murders has now doubled
compared to 2013, to around eleven a day. Sánchez Cerén
did not acknowledge the ceasefire but said he would
develop his own strategy against the violence.
Meeting with Obama on the refugee issue
President Sánchez Cerén and his colleagues from
Guatemala and Honduras meet with US President Barack
Obama at the White House and discuss what has sailed up
as a crisis in the United States, with at least 57,000
unaccompanied refugee children arriving since October
2013, mainly from the three countries. Obama says those
involved have a "shared responsibility" to change the
conditions that make the refugees leave. This applies to
poverty, violence and difficult living conditions in the
home countries, but also to some information that most
refugees may not stay in the United States, even if they
The President's residence becomes an art gallery
Sánchez Cerén announces that he intends to stay in
his own home and let the presidential residence function
as an art gallery so that "socially excluded" Salvadoran
people will be able to share the country's cultural
Agreement on oil from Venezuela
El Salvador joins Petrocaribe, the program through
which Venezuela sells subsidized oil to states in
Central America and the Caribbean.
Sánchez Cerén takes office
Salvador Sánchez Cerén takes over as president, with
Óscar Ortiz as vice president.
Detention order issued for former President Flores
A court issues an arrest warrant for former President
Flores (see January 2014) and orders
his assets seized, including several real estate, cars
and boats. It is unclear where Flores is; he may have
fled the country.
Button victory for Sánchez Cerén in the presidential
In the second round, FMLN candidate Salvador Sánchez
Cerén gets 50.1 percent against 49.9 percent for Arenas
Norman Quijano, a victory margin of just 6,634 votes.
Arena claims that cheating has occurred and requires
first recasting of all votes and then that the entire
election is redone, but receives no hearing from the
Election Authority (TSE). Arena also questions TSE's
impartiality and Quijano is causing some uproar with a
call to the military to "create democracy". According to
international election observers, the election was the
most democratic one to date in the country. Almost three
weeks after the election, Arena admits defeat and says
the party should invest in "democratic, serious and
sincere" opposition to the future president.
No winner in the first round
In the first round of the presidential election, Vice
President Salvador Sánchez Cerén gets close to 49
percent of the vote, and thus fails to avoid a second
round of elections. He is then placed against Arena
candidate Norman Quijano, who in the first round gets
close to 39 percent. Ex-president Antonio Saca gets just
over 11 percent.
Live election debate
For the first time, a live presidential debate will
be held on television and radio before the election.
Sánchez Cerén now leads by a fairly large margin in
opinion polls. In the debate he focuses on his political
proposals and does not appear to be confrontational,
which undermines the arena's attempt to portray the
guerrilla veteran as radical and unpredictable. Quijano
is more offensive and advocates, among other things,
militarization of the fight against the criminal
leagues, maras, among other
things by putting gang members before the military
court. He is forced to back away from that proposal the
days after the debate, as it would have violated the
Ex-president confirms money from Taiwan
In a hearing before a parliamentary committee,
ex-president Francisco Flores (1999-2004) confirms that
he received $ 10 million from Taiwan during his
presidency, but denies that the money would have been
for personal use. According to Flores, Taiwan should
have contributed money on three occasions, after
earthquakes and to combat drug trafficking and gang
crime. The government claims that the money never
reached its intended goals but instead ended up in bank
accounts in the Bahamas. According to President Funes,
Flores has tried to flee to Guatemala to avoid further
hearings. Flores denies the charge.