Education in Spain is compulsory and free between ages 6 and 16 and administered on a regionalized basis. Primary schooling is divided into three 2-year cycles during which literacy, numeracy and an introductory knowledge of a range of academic subjects is achieved.
For the balance of their free and compulsory education period pupils move on to lower secondary school. Upon completion of their academic program they are awarded the title of graduado de educación secundaria
or secondary education graduate.
Alternatively students may opt for 2 years of occupational training instead and qualify as a técnico
or technician. With this they may enter the workforce, and enrol later in a higher technical program after acquiring related experience.
There are two forms of post-secondary school education. The first leads to the title of técnico superior
(higher technician) after a period of 1 – 2 years that brings with it the right to register at university too. Pupils who attended academic higher secondary school may go directly on to any one of 59 Spanish universities provided they first pass an entrance examination. Here they may attend a variety of courses beginning with 1 year programs and culminating with doctorates.
The most venerable tertiary institution of all in Spain is the University of Salamanca that is in fact the third oldest operating university anywhere in the world. It dates from 1134 although it only received a Royal Charter in 1218.