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Education System in Guatemala

 EducationSchool/LevelGrade FromGrade ToAge FromAge ToYearsNotes
PrimaryPrimary School  7136School attendance is obligatory
MiddleCiclo Prevocacional  13163General Secondary Education
SecondaryCiclo Diversificado (Diversified Secondary)  16182Certificate/Diploma awarded: Bachillerato. Bachillerato is a prerequisite for access to university education. Most universities require an entrance examination (Examen de Admisión).
SecondaryTechnical Secondary School (Upper Secondary)   15183Certificate/diploma awarded: Perito Industrial, Agricola, Contador
TertiaryPrimary/Basic School Teacher Education    3Three-years program at teacher training colleges after the first cycle of secondary education.
TertiarySecondary School Teacher Education    3Three-years program at university. Students awarded a title of Profesor.
TertiaryFirst Stage: Licenciatura    5Higher education is provided by one state and four private universities. There are also institutes and schools. In some universities, a Baccalaureatus or Baccalaureaus is offered in Arts and Science after four years of study. In Medicine, the course leading to the Licenciatura lasts for seven years (three years at university, followed by four years' professional experience). A professional qualification of Ingeniero is awarded after five or six years. Short-term studies lead to the diploma of Técnico after three years. University teachers must hold at least a Licenciatura.
TertiarySecond Stage: Maestrado    1This degree is conferred after one or two more years of study and submission of a thesis.
TertiaryThird Stage: Doctorado    2Awarded after two consecutive years of study following upon the Licenciatura and on submission of a thesis in Law, Humanities, Education, Economics, and Social Sciences.

Primary Education

Although the first 6 years of basic education are theoretically free and mandatory, the truth is that outside cities even primary schools are scarce especially in rural indigenous areas. There, religious institutions are often the only filler in the gap

Middle Education

The first 3 years of secondary education known as basico  are similar to junior high school elsewhere and provide pupils with a spread of subjects aimed at preparing them for the widest range of working roles.

Secondary Education

The final 3 years of school education at secondary school called  diversificado are more specialized. At state schools most students study either teaching or bookkeeping. Their range of choice at private secondary schools is much improved, for there agronomy, auto-mechanics, computers, secretarial services and tourism may be taught as well.

Vocational Education

The objectives of the Guatemala vocational education system are to teach people new skills in under-employed areas that can help them build a better life. Hope remains a neglected commodity for many, although progress continues to be slowly made.

Tertiary Education

Guatemala EducationThe oldest university in Guatemala (and the only state university) is the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. It was founded in 1652 by a catholic priest, but only officially decreed in 1676 by King Charles II of Spain.


There are in addition 11 other private universities most note-worthily Universidad Rafael Landivar and Universidad Fransisco Marroquin. These are complemented by a variety of technical and teacher training colleges.

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