Guatemalans, political conflicts, insufficient resources, rural schools, Guatemala City
The literacy rate for Guatemalans over the age of 15 stood at 80 percent of the population in 2001 (74 percent of females and 86 percent of males could read), among the lowest rates in Central America. Elementary education is free and compulsory, and 102 percent of school-age children, or 1.8 million pupils, attended primary school in 1998-1999. The enrollment ratio dropped to 33 percent for secondary schools, which had an enrollment of 434,912 students. Enrollment figures are lower in rural areas than in urban areas. Many rural schools only go to third grade, and much of the nationís education budget is spent in Guatemala City. In addition to public schools, there are also private and church schools, both Catholic and Protestant, among the nationís 12,409 primary schools.
The University of San Carlos of Guatemala, founded in 1676, is the national university, and tuition is free. But the university has suffered greatly from the political conflicts in the country and from insufficient resources. This has led to the founding of private institutions, including Rafael Landivar University (1961), run by the Catholic order of Jesuits; the Mariano Galvez University (1966), with strong Protestant origins; the University of Del Valle (1966), closely connected with the American School of Guatemala; and Francisco Marroquin University (1971). All of these universities are located in the capital city, but several have branches in other cities. Guatemala City also has several smaller universities and colleges.
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