trade schools, private colleges, Panama, high school students, Antigua
Education is compulsory for 6 years and is provided free by the government through the university level. The government spent 17.6 percent of its budget on education in 1998. Wealthier families usually send their children to the numerous private schools in the cities. In 1995, 361,900 elementary and 216,200 high school students were enrolled in the country. School attendance by elementary-age children is nearly universal. Panama has one of the highest literacy rates in the region, 97 percent.
In the early 1990s about 60,000 people attended the national University of Panama (founded in 1935), its associated Technological University, and the University of Santa Maria la Antigua (1965), a Roman Catholic institution. Many others enroll at the private colleges and trade schools that have sprung up in recent years.
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