The Argentina Education System

The Argentina educational system is made up of cooperative, state, private, and socially-managed educational services. The Argentina education is administered by the national government, the provinces and federal districts, as well as private institutions.  All matters related to the education sector are supervised and administered by the Ministry of Education. The Argentina National Council of Education lays down a standard curriculum that is followed by schools throughout the country.

Argentina Education Background

The education in Argentina was referred as the Latin American docta. Under the Constitution of 1853, a secondary school system was established along with many primary schools throughout the country.  By 1878, Argentina had over 400 private schools, one- third of them were private and Catholic. In 2001, the Catholic Church played a significant role in the Argentina educational system. 

There was no effective education plan until President Domingo Sarmiento (1868–1874) put stress on getting Argentina up-to-date with practices in developed countries. President Sarmiento supported and encouraged the immigration and settling of European educators and built schools and public libraries throughout the country, in a course of study that doubled the enrolment of pupils during his term.  

Between 1869 and 1947, compulsory education was introduced for ages 6 to 14.  The first national law- “Law 1420 of Common Education”, was approved in 1884 during the management of President Julio Roca, which emphasized on universal, compulsory, free and secular education. A student-led reform movement at the University of Cordoba in 1918 was a crucial turning point in the education system of Argentina. With this reform, education system of Argentina, mainly the university level education became more independent of the government, as well as the influential Catholic Church. Also, free tuition was introduced.  In 1958, law approved setting up of private universities. These universities were given the authority to grant degrees.  After 1983, the universities and institutions reclaimed autonomy. 

Education Profile of Argentina

The Argentina educational levels are: 
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Primary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Higher Education
The Argentina education also consists of eight modes.  

Argentina possess a system of compulsory education referred as Basic General Education (In Spanish: Educacion General Basica, or EGB) and is split up into three phases, called cycles (ciclos).

EGB I: Includes 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade

EGB II: Includes 4th, 5th and 6th grade

EGB III: Includes 7th, 8th and 9th grade

Early Childhood Education

Childhood education in Argentina covers pre-school and kindergarten. The childhood education is for children aged between 45 days and 5 years.

Compulsory Education

Education in Argentina is compulsory from age 5 and above.

Primary Education (Educacion Primaria)

Primary education in Argentina begins at the age of 6 years and lasts for 6-7 years, depending upon the district.
Curriculum: Spanish, physical education, mathematics, social studies, arts and music, and basic science. 

Secondary Education (Educacion Secundaria)

 Secondary education comprises of two phases: 
  • 3 years of lower-secondary education, or ciclo basico 
  • 3 to 4 years of upper-secondary education, or ciclo orientado

Lower-Secondary Education (Ciclo Basico)

The lower-secondary education provides a core curriculum that is common to all schools.
Curriculum: Subjects in the fields of mathematics, art education, language, physical education, technical education, natural sciences, social studies, and social sciences. 

Upper-Secondary Education (Ciclo Orientado)

The upper-secondary education depends on the field selected by the student:
  • Secondary education oriented (Educacion Secundaria Orientad)
  • Secondary technical and vocational education mode (Educacion Secundaria Modalidad Tecnico Profesional)
  • Artistic mode secondary education (Educacion Secundaria Modalidad Artistica)
  • Secondary continuing education for Youth and Adults (Educacion Secundaria Modalidad de Educacion Permanente de Jovenes y Adultos)
The upper-secondary education lasts for three years and includes at least 25 hours per week of study. This level of education prepares students for higher education or for the job market. 
Upon completion, students are given the Bachiller (en) certificate

Technical-Professional Secondary Education

The technical secondary education lasts for 7 years (3 4) and includes at least 30 hours per week of study. This form of secondary education prepares pupils for higher education or for the job marketplace. 
Along with subjects offered during the lower and upper-secondary education, this level emphasizes on the vocation studies to a large extent.  After completion of this level, students are awarded a Tecnico (en) certificate in the profile/specialization chosen. 

Secondary Continuing Education for Youth and Adults (Educacion Secundaria Modalidad de Educacion Permanente de Jovenes y Adultos Adultos)

This form of secondary education focuses on young people and adults. After completion of their form of secondary education, students are awarded the Bachiller certificate. This certificate allows the students to go for higher education. 

Secondary Vocational Education

This form of secondary education is offered by the institutions of professional education (instituciones de formacion professional), vocational training centres, ars and crafts schools, job training centres, etc. 

Higher Education

Higher education in Argentina is offered by public as well as private institutions. Argentina higher education consists of universities and university institutes, institutes of higher education of national, provincial or city of Buenos Aires jurisdiction of state or private administration.

Higher Education Institutions

Following are the higher education institutions in Argentina:

Universities provide academic and technological research programmes. They offer undergraduate programmes (grado), postgraduate programmes (posgrado), specialist advanced programmes/courses (especializaciones) and PhD programmes (doctorados).

University Institutes (Institutos universitarios) are specialist institutes that provide programmes in the areas of police training, defence and aviation. These institutes provide courses that lead to the graduate or professional degree (Licenciado or Titulo Profesional)

Higher Education Qualifications

The higher education institutions in Argentina award undergraduate degrees- honours degrees, engineering degrees, etc., and postgraduate degrees- specialisations, masters' and doctorates. 

Grado Programmes

  • Duration: 4-7 years
  • Certificate awarded: Graduate or professional degree (Licenciado or Titulo Profesional), such as engineer (Ingeniero), lawyer (Abogado), architect (Arquitecto), doctor (Medico) or dentist (Odontologo)

Postgraduate Programme (Posgrado Programmes)

Posgrado programmes include the specialization (especializacion), master’s (maestria) and PhD (doctorado) programmes.  These programmes are prepared by universities or research institutes and higher professional institutions. 

Especializacion (Specialist Programmes)

These programmes expand the knowledge within a certain subject area or professional field. It enhances the student’s professional abilities.  

Master’s Programmes (Maestria)

There are 2 types of master's programmes:
  • Academic master’s (maestria Academica) 
  • Professional master’s (maestria Profesional)
These masters’s programmes end with the individual presentation of a final project depending upon the master’s undertaken. After successful completion of the programme Magister degree is awarded to the pupils.

Doctorate Programme (Doctorado)

A Doctorate degree is the highest academic qualification attainable in Argentina. 
  • Duration: 2-6 years (set by the institutions individually)
The doctorate programme consists of an independent academic research in one or multiple fields, and concludes with a public defence of a doctorate dissertation. 

To know more about the Higher Education System of Argentina, click here

Eight Modes

The eight educational modes are-
  • Technical education professional
  • Arts education
  • Special education
  • Continuing education for youth and adults
  • Rural education
  • Intercultural education bilingual
  • Education in contexts of deprivation of liberty
  • Education homecare and hospital

Admission Requirements

The general admission requirement for higher education in Argentina is that the candidate must hold a Bachiller (en) / Tecnico (en) secondary school diploma. The higher education institutions in Argentina may establish their own additional admission requisites, such as entrance examinations or a preparatory year. Admission requirements varies depending upon the institution and educational level. 

Spanish Languages Tests

Certificate of Use of Language in Spanish, or CELU
International students who wish to study at the universities in Argentina are required to prove their Spanish language proficiency. This exam demonstrates a certain level of proficiency in the language. 
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