“EDUCATION SYSTEM IN HONDURAS”
I.State of the Honduran education system.
II.Structure of the Honduran education system:
1. Pre-school education
2. Primary education
3. Secondary education
4. Higher education
5. Adult education and professional training
III.Current trends in education.
STATE OF THE HONDURAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
Honduras lacked a national education system until the late 1950s. Before the reforms of 1957, education was the exclusive privilege of those who could afford to send their children to private institutions. The government of Ramуn Villeda Morales (1957-63) introduced reforms that led to the establishment of a national public education system and began a school construction program.
Data from the Program for the Development of the Organization of the United Nations (PNUD) reveal today that 51% of the matriculates finish primary school, in an average of 9.4 years, and that the number of dropouts increases each year. The acutest problem is that the basic educational system only covers 86.5% of school-age children, while the remaining 13.5% cannot get access to the education.
Although the Honduran Constitution formally stipulates that minors have to have their educations taken care of, many arrive at adulthood without learning to read or write, while the state tries to justify this by the insufficiency of resources at its command. Illiteracy encompasses more than half a million people in this country, which is the equivalent of the entire population between 15 and 40 years old. Good education is still largely the privilege of the few who can afford to send their children to private institutions.
Statistical information shows that the state of the public education system remains poor. Figures cited by the Ministry of Education suggest that Honduras suffers from widespread illiteracy (more than 40 percent of the total population and more than 80 percent in rural areas). A significant percentage of children do not receive formal education.
The statistics collected by the Ministry of Education reflect that no department in Honduras reaches, on average, the six-year minimum of primary education. According to recent data indicating educational efficiency, for every thousand graduates of the first grade in 1990, only 292 (29%) complete primary school in six years and 468 (46%) never finish. The situation with universities is much more worrying, since only 20% avoid failing out in universities such as the National Autonomous University of Honduras (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras, or UNAH).
The quality of instruction in Honduran public schools is greatly impaired by poor teacher training. The situation is worsened by the extremely low wages paid to teachers, lack of effective and up-to-date instruction materials, outdated teaching methods, poor administration, and lack of physical facilities.
Because of the deficiencies of public education, the years since 1970 have seen the proliferation of private schools. With few exceptions, however, private education is popularly viewed as a profit-making enterprise. Great skepticism remains regarding the quality of the education that private schools offer.
The UNAH is the primary institution of higher learning. Located in Tegucigalpa, it was founded in 1847 and became an autonomous institution in 1957. The university has approximately 30,000 students. There are two branches of the UNAH in San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba.
President Ricardo Maduro is attempting the change the educational system, but at the current rate of reform it would take at least 23 years to reach the level of the educational system in other nations in the area like Costa Rica and Panama. Evaluations performed by international organizations denounce the backwardness of the states investments in the sector with respect to the majority of countries in the region, and that the current educational model has reached its limits after more than a decade in Honduras.
STRUCTURE OF THE HONDURAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
ISCED levelNameMinistry ResponsiblePre-schoolEducacion Pre-basicaMinistry of EducationPrimaryEducacion Basica (Grades 1-6)Lower secondaryEducacion Basica (Grades 7-9) including
EDUCATODOSLower secondary vocationalFormacion de Oficios (INFOP, Academias)Upper Secondary (general)Educacion media (academica)Upper Secondary (vocational)Educacion media (tecnica)Tertiary, first stage
- Tecnico universitario (first certificate, short),
- Bachiller Universitario (5A first certificate, long),
- Licenciatura (second certificate),
- Maestria (further certificate)National UniversityTertiary, second stageDoctorado
Pre-school education covers a three-year period with the aim of adapting children to the social environment and developing their sensorial and other faculties. The program tries to provide adequate nutrition, eradicate parasites, vaccinate, give medical and dental care, and to educate parents in health, nutrition, hygiene and family welfare. Although planned for children between four and six-and-a-half years, the government has decided, in view of financial constraints, to provide these services only for six-year-old children, especially the less privileged ones. Teachers for pre-school education are trained at the Escuela Superior del Profesorado.
In the sixties, the pre-primary schools were concentrated solely in the urban areas. In the seventies, the system has been expanding to include rural areas. Because of its financial limitations, the government has decided to stimulate participation of the private sector in the development of pre-school education.
We see that the age of children receiving pre-school education in Honduras and in Ukraine differ. In Ukraine it is not actually set, and children start attending day nursery when they are 2 years old or go straight to the kindergarten at the age of 3 or 4. The graduation age is usually 5 or 6. The purpose of the Ukrainian pre-school education is somewhat similar to the Honduran one the main stress is put on introducing children into the society and developing their communication skills, though much attention is also given to the basics of reading, counting, etc.
2. Primary education
Primary education is compulsory and lasts 6 years. This level consists of two cycles, each of three years duration. In order to democratize education and to improve the retention rate, examinations for promotion have been eliminated. The practical areas of learning receive special attention.
In Ukraine primary education is also compulsory, but it lasts 3 or 4 years and is not divided into cycles. Actually, primary education is not separated from the secondary one and is considered to be the first stage of it. During these years children mostly improve their reading, writing and counting skills.
3. Secondary education
Secondary education starts at age of 13 and is aimed at further development of the cultural, scientific and practical knowledge received at the primary level, and at preparation for higher education and training for work. To achieve these objectives, secondary education is divided into two cycles the common cycle and the diversified cycle. The common cycle lasts for 3 years. Besides further cultural, scientific and practical knowledge, students receive vocational guidance similar to that of the education-apprenticeship. The diversified cycle lasts for 3 years, except for the Bachillerato course which lasts only 2 years. This cycle comprises several streams, namely: primary schoolteacher training (3 years); the Bachillerato (sciences and humanities) course; technical education 3 years for bachilleros and 4 years for qualified workers (peritos) including the common cycle level. Peritos are trained in areas such as auto mechanics, general mechanics, carpentry, electronics, home economics, agriculture and cattle breeding, medicine (assistant nurses). On the bachiller level, courses are offered in agriculture, medicine, nurses training, arts, musical education, etc.
One of the most striking characteristics of secondary education is that almost 80% of the total enrolment was absorbed by private secondary schools in urban areas, and that the remaining 20% were in government secondary schools, also in urban areas.
Retention rates at this level are considerably higher than in primary education due to better organization and administration of the system and to an increase in investment in the education of those enrolled.
Teachers for secondary education are trained at the Escuela Superior del Profesorado in a three-year post-secondary course.
In Ukraine secondary education starts at the age of 10 or 11 which is the 5th grade and lasts until the age of 17 (the 12th grade). Pupils are taught a wide range of subjects, both humanities and sciences. Less attention is given to technical subjects, but after the 9th grade children can enter technical schools and study until the graduation age to receive special secondary education. Nowadays many schools have biases, for example there are schools with a foreign language bias, a mathematics bias, a medical bias and so on. Unlike the Honduran secondary education, the Ukrainian one is not divided into cycles. Most schools are maintained by the state, thought private schools are gaining more and more popularity. A lot of secondary graduates in Ukraine proceed