Figure 10. Percentage of School-Aged Population Enrolled din
School, Divided by Urban-Rural residence, 1982
Source: Based on information from Ecuador, Instituto Nacional de Estadística
y Censos, IV Censo Nacional de Población y III de Vivienda, 1982 -- Resumen
Nacional: Breve Análisis de los Resultados Definitivos, Quito, 1985, 49.
In the late 1980s, formal education was divided into four
cycles: a preprimary two-year cycle, six years of primary school,
secondary school, which was divided into two three-year cycles, and
higher education. Children could begin attending preprimary school
at four; primary school began at age six. Attendance theoretically
was compulsory for children from six to fourteen years of age. The
first three-year cycle of secondary school was a general curriculum
that elaborated on that of primary school. In the second cycle,
students could specialize in one of several different curriculums.
An academic, liberals arts course led to university admission;
other specialized courses prepared students for technical schools
or teachers' training.
Roughly 20 percent of primary and secondary schools were
privately run. The role of private schools increased with grade
level; slightly less than 20 percent of primary students and more
than 40 percent of secondary students attended private schools.
Private education was a predominantly urban phenomena.
Approximately one-third of city primary and secondary schools were
The country had twelve state universities, equally divided
between the Costa and the Sierra, and an additional five private
universities--three in the Sierra and two in the Costa. A number of
polytechnic schools and teachers' colleges offered specialized
postsecondary studies. The number of university students per
100,000 population grew fivefold from 1960 to 1980; the number of
professors grew ten times. About two-thirds of those enrolled in
higher education attended public institutions, especially the
Central University in Quito.
The 1960s and 1970s saw a major expansion in educational
opportunities at every level. Spending increased until by 1980
education represented one-third of total government outlays.
Enrollments, which had begun to climb in the 1950s, continued their
table 7, Appendix). Retention rates at the primary
and secondary level also improved.
Expansion created its own set of problems, however.
Construction failed to keep up with the increase in students. A
significant proportion of teachers lacked full accreditation,
especially at the levels of secondary and higher education. These
deficiencies were most evident in the countryside where the
percentage of uncertified primary teachers was estimated to be
double that of the cities. Finally, despite enrollment increases,
by the 1980s the percentage of school-aged children attending
fig. 10). Rates were particularly low for rural
primary-school-aged children. Relatively few children continued
beyond the first cycle of secondary school.
Illiteracy rates, especially those in the countryside, also
remained elevated (see
table 8, Appendix). The Ministry of
Education and Culture, municipal governments, and the military all
offered literacy classes
(see Recruitment and Conditions of Service
, ch. 5). Overall,
the programs had limited impact, however;
most of the decline in illiteracy came through increased school
enrollments. In the 1980s, there were efforts to target literacy
programs to the needs of the rural populace and non-Spanish
Data as of 1989