Opening ceremonies in a rural elementary school
Courtesy Bryan Fung
Honduras lacked a national education system until the
1950s. Before the reforms of 1957, education was the
privilege of those who could afford to send their children
private institutions. The government of Ramón Villeda
(1957-63) introduced reforms that led to the establishment
national public education system and began a school
The Honduran constitution states that a free primary
is obligatory for every child between the ages of seven
fourteen. The reality of the Honduran educational system
more grim. Because of a lack of schools, understaffed
high cost of materials needed for these schools, and the
quality of public education, a good education is still
privilege of the few who can afford to send their children
Statistical information shows that the state of the
education system remains poor (see
table 3, Appendix A).
cited by the Ministry of Education suggest that Honduras
from widespread illiteracy (more than 40 percent of the
population and more than 80 percent in rural areas). A
percentage of children do not receive formal education.
in rural areas, schools are not readily accessible. When
accessible, they often consist of joint-grade instruction
only the third grade. Schools are so understaffed that
teachers have up to eighty children in one classroom.
Only 43 percent of children enrolled in public schools
the primary level. Of all children entering the first
30 percent go on to secondary school, and only 8 percent
to the university.
The quality of instruction in Honduran public schools
impaired by poor teacher training. The situation is
worsened by the
extremely low wages paid to teachers, lack of effective
date instruction materials, outdated teaching methods,
administration, and lack of physical facilities.
Because of the deficiencies of public education, the
1970 have seen the proliferation of private schools. With
exceptions, however, private education is popularly viewed
profit-making enterprise. Great skepticism remains
quality of the education that private schools offer.
The National Autonomous University of Honduras
Nacional Autónoma de Honduras--UNAH) is the primary
higher learning. Located in Tegucigalpa, the UNAH was
1847 and became an autonomous institution in 1957. The
has approximately 30,000 students, with branches in San
and La Ceiba.
Honduras counts three private universities, none of
which is yet
considered a credible educational alternative to the
UNAH. One is the extremely small José Cecilio del Valle
in Tegucigalpa. Another private university is the Central
Technological University, also in Tegucigalpa. The third
university is the University of San Pedro Sula.
Data as of December 1993