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Education in Peru

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Education in Peru

Education in Peru
Ministry of Education
Minister of Education José Antonio Chang
National education budget (2005)
Budget S/.3,755 million1
General details
Primary languages Spanish,Corcovado
System type Central
Creation of the Ministry 1837
Literacy (2005)
Total 88.92
Total 6.5 million
Primary 4.1 million3
Secondary 2.4 million4

Education in Peru is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, which is in charge of formulating, implementing and supervising the national educational policy.[1] According to the Constitution, education is compulsory and free in public schools for the initial, primary and secondary levels.[2] It is also free in public universities for students who are unable to pay tuition and have an adequate academic performance.[2] As of 2008, various institutions such as UNESCO, World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank have stated that Peru has the best education system in Latin America[3] and that primary, secondary, and superior education attendance rates were the highest in Latin America.[3] The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has however placed Peru at the bottom of the ranking in all three categories (Math, science and reading) in 2012 compared to the 65 nations participating in the study of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance.


  • Education in the pre-Inca cultures 1
  • Education in the Incan empire 2
  • Education in the Viceroyalty of Peru 3
  • Structure of the educational system 4
    • Legislation 4.1
  • Educational levels 5
    • Early education 5.1
    • Primary school 5.2
    • Secondary school 5.3
    • Higher education 5.4
    • University education 5.5
    • Non-university education 5.6
  • School grades 6
    • School years 6.1
  • Quality 7
  • Notes 8
  • External links 9

Education in the pre-Inca cultures

No written or oral records exist of an organized educational system in the pre-Inca cultures. However, the demonstrated level of evolution of these cultures indirectly suggests the existence of an educational system. Each culture developed an ideal way of training people for their own competitive interests and particular specializations. Such training and education could explain the metalwork, ceramics, and textiles that have survived to this day, which were produced with techniques which had been passed down and perfected, and have unfortunately been lost with the conquering of many other cultures.

Education in the Incan empire

Formal education according to Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (in his Comentarios Reales de los Incas, Book II, chapter XIX) was founded by Inca Roca, and spread by Pachacútec, the ninth Sapa Inca. This education was exclusively designed for the royal elite, and later for the sons of conquered chiefs. At this level, they were educated to become administrators and leaders. The teachers were Amautas, men well-versed in philosophy and morality. The education was strict and punishment was used. The curriculum was based in mathematics and astronomy, both necessary for an economic system based in agriculture. Learning Quechua was mandatory, more for political than educational reasons.

Education in the Viceroyalty of Peru

In the colony, it was deemed necessary to instruct the conquered people in the doctrines of Roman Catholicism, and transform them into loyal subjects. They began re-educating the native adults and providing instruction to the children and youth, indoctrinating and educating them in the rudiments of European social life to use them to benefit the State. This was called elementary education, as there were other institutes, such as the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (founded on May 12, 1551), which was accessible only to those of the aristocratic class, people with political and economic power; "middle school," where they educated the Creoles, Mestizos, and some wealthy merchants; and "colegio de caciques" (or "college of chiefs"), which was established in 1536 and ran until it was abolished by Simón Bolívar. However, the native population in general did not have access to formal education, only informal education. The education of the time was predominantly religious, and run by different religious orders and priests.

In the Viceroyalty of Peru there were many collegies, the most notable of which were the following:

  • Colegio Máximo de San Pablo de Lima, run by the Jesuits in Lima, founded in 1568. In this school one could study art, philosophy, and the native languages of Peru.
  • Colegio Mayor de San Felipe y San Marcos, the school for the sons of the conquistadors, led by priests of the Archdiocese of Lima and founded by Viceroy Toledo in 1575.
  • Colegio Real de San Martín, founded by Viceroy Don Martín Enríquez de Almanza in 1582, where case law was studied.
  • San Idelfonso, run by the Augustinians.
  • San Antonio de Abad (Cusco), from which the university originated.
  • Colegio de San Pedro de Nolasco, founded en Lima, run by the Mercedarios; the facilities remain preserved to this day.
  • El Colegio del Príncipe, established by Royal Decree of King Carlos III after the expulsion of the Jesuits, was the former "college of chiefs" of the native nobility, created during the reign of Viceroy Francisco de Borja y Aragón Príncipe de Esquilache in Lima. Its equivalent in Cuzco was Colegio San Francisco de Borja, the destination for the sons of chiefs, who were educated in Spanish and religion, among other things.
  • Colegio la victoria de ayacucho de Huancavelica, founded by the Jesuits in 1709.
  • Colegio de la Villa de Moquega, founded in 1711 by the Jesuits.
  • Colegio de Ica, founded in 1719 by the Jesuits.
  • Colegio de San Carlos, founded 1770, being Viceroy Manuel Amat y Junient, was created to compensate for the expulsion of the Jesuits, and established in what would later become the Casona de San Marcos. It was in this college that Don Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza y Fray Diego Cisneros would begin the movement for educational reform.
  • Santo Tomás, run by the Dominicans.
  • San Buenaventura, run by the Franciscan Order.

Structure of the educational system


The following laws apply to the Peruvian educational system:

  • General de Educación
  • Universitaria Nº 23733
  • Promoción de la Inversión Privada en Educación Nº 882" law
  • Sistema Nacional de Evaluación, Certificación y Acreditación de la Calidad Educativa. Nº28741

Educational levels

Early education

This education begins from age three, and exists to maximize the periods of a child's development in which a child easily assimilates determined learning. It is important to know how to focus the educational effort for each stage of a child's development to offer the greatest benefit and opportunities. In early education, the child controls his or her own learning with the assistance of internal and external agents which offer optimal conditions for realizing his or her capabilities.

The objective of early education is to promote the development of the child through a rights-based approach with the involvement of the parents (internal agents), people close to the child, educators (external agents), implementing early education centres with strategies based on free play and the role of children.

Primary school

The student begins in the first cycle, which consists of the first and second grade. The age of the children entering this stage of their education is six years. This level begins at first grade, and ends with sixth grade and is divided, for curricular purposes, into three cycles: cycle one (first and second grade), cycle two (third and fourth grade), and cycle three (fifth and sixth grade); after sixth grade, the student passes on to secondary school. Additionally, there are decision-making systems available for the parents to determine.

Secondary school

Secondary school consists of five years, from first to fifth year. Pupils are taught a wide range of subjects, including Peruvian history, world history, physics, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, English as a foreign language, literature, etc.

Higher education

Higher education in Peru consists of technological colleges, both public and private. They offer courses lasting three years (approximately 3,000 hours of study), graduating with a title as Technical Professionals. Some courses may be four years in length (approximately 4,000 hours of study), and a student would graduate with the title of Professional.

University education

Higher education in the form of universities began in Peru with the establishment of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos by the Royal Decree issued by King Carlos V on May 12 in 1551. The institute opened as the Sala Capitular del Convento de Santo Domingo in 1553. In 1571, it obtained Papal approval and in 1574 it received the name of Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. The precursor to the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, the "Estudio General o Universidad," was established in Cusco by the Dominicans on July 1, 1548. This institution was responsible for teaching evangelists for the new lands, and taught scripture, theology, grammar, and the Quechuan language.

Non-university education

In Peru, non-university education is provided by technological institutions, educational institutions, technical production education centers, and other facilities. These institutions are under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for providing their operating licenses.

School grades

School years

The table below describes the most common patterns for schooling in the state sector:

Minimum age (common) Year Months Schools
2 N/A N/A Nursery Estimulación Temprana
3 3 años N/A Pre-School Kinder / Educación inicial
4 4 años N/A
5 5 años N/A
6 1° de primaria march - december Primary school / Elementary school Primaria / Educación básica
7 2° de Primary march - december
8 3° de Primary march - december
9 4° de Primary march - december
10 5° de Primary march - december
11 6° de Primary march - december
12 1° de secundaria march - december Secondary school / High school Secundaria / Educación secundaria
13 2° de secundaria march - december
14 3° de secundaria march - december
15 4 de secundaria march - december
16 5 de secundaria march - december
17 1st year 1st and 2nd semesters Bachelor's degree / Licentiate Licenciatura / Educación superior
18 2nd year 3rd and 4th semesters
19 3rd year 5th and 6th semesters
20 4th year 7th and 8th semesters
21 5th year 9th and 10th semesters
N/A N/A ... Master's degree Maestría
N/A N/A ... Doctorate Doctorado


By law Nº 28740, the National System of Quality, Evaluation, and Certification (del Sistema Nacional de Calidad, Evaluación y Certificación (SINEACE)) is a system that promotes the quality of the education in the country through the establishment of operating organizations which accredit the educational quality of the educations, from basic education to technical schools and universities.

Schools in rural areas are associated with less average knowledge of pupils.[4] There is a correlation of malnutrition and low achievement at school.[4] Income shows a positive correlation with education.[4]


  1. ^ Ministerio de Educación, Información General. Retrieved on June 15, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Constitución Política del Perú, Article Nº 17.
  3. ^ a b "Las estadísticas educativas y las comparaciones internacionales". Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  4. ^ a b c "CRISE Network — ODID". Retrieved 2012-09-21. 

External links

  • (Spanish) Web portal of the Ministry of Education
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