Central American University, Sandinista government, Literacy rates, Managua, warfare
Before 1980 educational opportunities in Nicaragua were limited and, in rural areas, often unavailable. Adult literacy in 1971 was only 57 percent. In 1980 the Sandinista government launched a national literacy crusade, and spending on primary education more than doubled. Literacy rates climbed to 87 percent by 1985, and by 1990 the government claimed that virtually all children of primary age were enrolled in school. The 1987 constitution declared primary education free and obligatory, and schools were established in most rural areas.
However, education suffered during the warfare and economic problems of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and Nicaragua remains a poorly educated nation. Education budgets declined in the late 1980s and remain low. Literacy rates have fallen sharply, to 74 percent. Many children who are enrolled in primary school rarely attend. Some 57 percent are reported to attend secondary school.
University enrollments almost tripled in the 1980s, but most students attend part-time, and many never graduate. Slightly over half of those enrolled in higher education are women. Nicaragua has two major universities, the National University in Leon, founded in 1812, and the Central American University in Managua, founded by the Catholic Church in 1961. In addition, there are several state technical universities, and six private universities opened in the 1990s.
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