- Education in Paraguay
Paraguayhas not valued educationhighly. During Alfredo Stroessner Mattiauda’s presidency (1954–89), education initiatives took a backseat to economic concerns and the task of controlling political adversaries, and teacher salaries fell to extremely low levels. The constitution of 1992 attempted to remedy the long neglect of education. Article 85 of the constitution mandates that 20 percent of government revenue be designated for educational expenditures. This measure, however, has proven to be impractical and has been largely ignored. [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Paraguay.pdf Paraguay country profile] . Library of Congress Federal Research Division(October 2005). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain."]
Nevertheless, democratization has been accompanied by a gradual improvement in the education system. Spending on education has increased, reaching 4.7 percent of
gross domestic productin 2000, up from 1.7 percent in 1989. Much of the increased funding went to raise teacher salaries and update curricula. Still, Paraguayan children spend far less time in school than in most other South American countries. Schools in Paraguay average about 700 contact hours annually, compared with 1,500 in countries such as Chile. Students are required to attend school for nine years, and surveys indicate that Paraguay has a net primary school attendance rate of 92 percent. Public education is free to all, but dropout rates remain high.
According to the United States government, Paraguay does not have an adequate
universitysystem. Until the 1990s, the state National University and the Catholic University served Paraguay’s entire population. As part of the educational reforms of the 1990s, the government created 10 new universities, but the entire system is regarded as poor in quality. In 2003 Paraguay’s national military academy admitted female cadets for the first time, opening another door for women pursuing education.
In 2003 Paraguay had an estimated
literacy rateof 94 percent, with very little differential between men and women (94.9 percent to 93 percent, respectively). Illiteracyrates exceed the national average in rural areas. The 2001 census found that 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men living in rural areas were illiterate.
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