An Overview of the Education System in Puerto Rico

Education in Puerto Rico is viewed as important and is therefore compulsory for students between the ages of six and seventeen years. During Spanish rule education was restricted to Christian subjects and there were relatively few books available in Puerto Rico. It became compulsory for students to learn English in the early twentieth century and English remains part of the curriculum today.

Since 1925 the Insular Department of Education has reorganized itself in a number of ways. More money has been poured into the administrative, teaching staff and supervisory sections of the Education Department. A third of the total government revenue, which is sourced from municipalities and the Legislature of Puerto Rico, is allocated purely for schools and educational purposes.

There are a large number of students in Puerto Rico who attended college and other tertiary institutions once they have finished their secondary education. Compared to other counties, Puerto Rico is ranked sixth in the world for the most students attending some form of tertiary education. The literacy level of school-going students is about 90%. However, there are still not enough schools and educational facilities to provide all school-going children with the same form of education.

Puerto Rico has over 1500 public schools and over 500 private schools. They also have a number of Colleges and Universities. This includes the American University of Puerto Rico, Catholic University, Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, Universidad Del Turabo and the Ponce School of Medicine. There are a number of schools that teach mainly in the English language, such as St. John’s, Baldwin, Wesleyan, Robinson, Cupeyville and Parkville.

There are two distinct forms of elementary schools: urban and rural. The urban school curriculum is made up of manual training, agriculture, home economics, health and physical education, English and Spanish. The rural school provides four years of primary education. The second phase of the rural school is pre-vocational, meaning that they provide training or skills that can be used as a trade later on. The secondary phase provides courses in agriculture, industrial arts, gardening, trades, handicrafts and social work.

The purpose of education is to raise the standard of living in rural communities by providing all school going students with the opportunity to gain some type of formal education.

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