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Educational System in El Salvador

The one tip that you hear expats living in El Salvador repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to El Salvador. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that El Salvador is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in El Salvador.
|-Educational System in El Salvador

El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America, has a unique educational system that is both diverse and inclusive. The system is divided into several stages, each designed to cater to the specific needs of students at different ages. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive understanding of the Salvadoran educational system, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, availability of bilingual schools, types of private schools, and the possibilities of homeschooling and online schooling.

What are the main stages of education in El Salvador?

The Salvadoran educational system is divided into four main stages: Pre-primary education (Educación Parvularia), Basic education (Educación Básica), Middle education (Educación Media), and Higher education (Educación Superior). Each stage is designed to cater to the specific needs of students at different ages and focuses on different areas of learning.

Pre-primary Education (Educación Parvularia)

Pre-primary education in El Salvador is for children aged 4 to 6 years. This stage focuses on the overall development of the child, including cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. It is not mandatory but is highly recommended to prepare children for basic education.

Basic Education (Educación Básica)

Basic education is compulsory and caters to children aged 7 to 15 years. It is divided into three cycles: first cycle (grades 1-3), second cycle (grades 4-6), and third cycle (grades 7-9). The curriculum includes subjects like mathematics, science, social studies, and Spanish language.

Middle Education (Educación Media)

Middle education, also known as high school, is for students aged 16 to 18 years. It is divided into two years of general education and one year of specialized education, where students can choose a vocational or academic track. This stage prepares students for higher education or the job market.

Higher Education (Educación Superior)

Higher education in El Salvador includes universities, technological institutes, and professional schools. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs in various fields. Admission is based on entrance exams and high school grades.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

Expats can enroll their children in Salvadoran schools by providing necessary documents like birth certificates, previous school records, and immunization records. Some schools may also require a language proficiency test if the child’s first language is not Spanish.

Can children still learning Spanish enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning Spanish can enroll in public schools in El Salvador. However, they may need additional language support, as the medium of instruction in public schools is Spanish.

Are there public bilingual schools?

There are a few public bilingual schools in El Salvador, but they are limited. Most bilingual schools are private and located in urban areas like San Salvador. Admission is based on entrance exams and language proficiency tests.

What types of private schools are common in El Salvador?

Private schools in El Salvador include Catholic schools, international schools, and bilingual schools. These schools offer a diverse curriculum, smaller class sizes, and often have better resources than public schools.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Most expats in El Salvador prefer to send their children to private schools due to the higher quality of education, smaller class sizes, and the availability of bilingual or international curriculums.

How expensive are Private schools in El Salvador?

Private school fees in El Salvador vary widely depending on the school and the level of education. On average, annual tuition can range from $1,000 to $7,000. Some schools may also charge additional fees for enrollment, books, uniforms, and other expenses.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in El Salvador?

Yes, homeschooling is allowed in El Salvador. However, it is not very common and there are no specific regulations or support systems in place for homeschooling families.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in El Salvador?

Yes, online schooling is an option in El Salvador, especially for expat families or those who prefer a flexible learning schedule. However, it’s important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the educational standards of your home country.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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