Education in Peru through primary and secondary school is theoretically free for children from ages 7 to 16, although in practice inaccessible to many rural children. The model begins with pre-school education before children enter primary school for 6 grades.
Secondary school consists of 5 grades. Many children, especially from country areas find it difficult to adapt to this new level especially as they are accustomed to a single teacher. Ongoing efforts are in place to try to close this gap.
Vocational education is available from a variety of technological institutions and other similar facilities. Although mainly private, these are supervised and graded by the Ministry of Education that also licenses them.
Higher education is available from private and public technical colleges and universities. Courses taken at the former require 3,000 hours of study (usually 3 years) and result in certification as technical professionals.
The oldest university in Peru is the Universidad Nacional Major de San Marcos founded in 1551 AD by decree of King Carlos V of Spain. Those students who manage to aspire to tertiary university education follow a hierarchy of degree courses similar to the American model.