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Argentina Education Facts


The level of education is among the highest in Latin America. Students start primary school at the age of six. Before that, most people spend a year in preschool, which is also subject to compulsory schooling. Almost all children start in the nine-year elementary school, Educación general básica. But only eight out of ten go on to the next stage (Polimodal), which covers three to four years and where one branch prepares students for higher studies, while others are more vocational.

It is mainly the provinces that are responsible for the schools. Many schools are worn out, classes are often large and there is a shortage of educated teachers. In the 1990s, major savings were made in the education system, but the years 2005-2010 were invested in the school, among other things, teachers’ salaries were increased. At the same time, the number of private schools has increased. Many of them are run by religious communities, especially by the Catholic Church.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Argentina, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

However, in an international study of school results, Pisa, where the economic cooperation organization OECD every three years measures school pupils’ knowledge of mathematics, reading comprehension and the natural sciences of 15-year-olds, however, Argentina 2013 ranked first in 59 of 65 countries.

All schools are secular, but students can ask for religious education. The school year usually starts in March and ends at the end of November, when the summer holidays begin. In state schools, students wear school uniforms at least until they turn twelve. English is a compulsory subject in elementary school, right from primary school.

In 2013, the country had 36 state universities and 20 private, most of them Catholic. The oldest one is in Córdoba, founded in 1613. Eight out of ten students attend state universities. It is common for Argentine academics to apply abroad for a job.

The state universities have no tuition fees, but a large part of the students have to work in order to support themselves during their studies and many skip their studies before they have graduated. The government has promised to more than double its funding for research by 2020, partly with the help of private money. Six research areas will be prioritized: energy, industry, health, agriculture, social development and the environment and sustainable development.

  • Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Argentina in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.


Proportion of children starting primary school

99.0 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

17 (2008)

Reading and writing skills

99.1 percent (2016)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

13.5 percent (2016)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

13.5 percent (2016)



“Prosecutor Nisman was murdered”

December 26

A federal judge states that prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered (see January 2015). Until now, it has been officially claimed that Nisman committed suicide, the day before he would testify against then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The case involved a suspected darkening of the terrorist act against a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994. Now the judge is suing a former Nisman employee, Diego Lagomarsino, for involvement in the murder. In early December, ex-President Fernández was indicted for treason on suspicion of blackout.

Pension reform is approved despite protests

December 18

After a 17-hour debate, the Chamber of Deputies approves the government’s pension reform, with 129 votes in favor and 117 against. The government is securing victory through the support of the Peronists within the Partido Justicialista and promises that more of the country’s tax revenue will go to the provinces. At the same time, protests against pension reform continue. Outside the congressional building, protesters clash with riot police. At least 60 people are arrested and over 200 injured. The protesters are accusing the government of letting poor Argentinians pay the price for the savings policy. The CGT union announces a 24-hour strike in support of the protesters, leading to an almost total stop in public transport. Several hundred flights are also canceled.

Protest against pension reform degenerates into violence

December 14

Violence erupts in connection with a demonstration in Buenos Aires in protest of a planned pension reform. Military police deploy water cannons and tear gas at stone-throwing protesters, but also shoot at them with rubber bullets. The violence is causing the MP to postpone today’s session on pension reform. Trade union representatives, according to the AFP news agency, accuse the government of “militarizing” the area around the congress building, while government officials claim that it is the opposition that has resorted to methods of violence (the protest was organized by trade unions). The purpose of the pension reform is to save money. The retirement age for men should be increased from 65 to 70 years, and from 60 to 63 years for women. Under the current system, those who have paid into the system are guaranteed to receive 80 percent of their salary for 30 years (with an upper limit for those with high salaries). President Macri’s attempt to speed up the process has contributed to the dissatisfaction with the reform.

New prosecution against Fernández de Kirchner

December 7

A federal judge is suing Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for treason and is demanding that the Senate abolish the prosecution’s now-defunct immunity as a senator so she can be remanded. Fernandez is accused of participating in attempts to conceal Iran’s involvement in the terrorist attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish Center in 1994. Prosecution is also being brought against former Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and the judge orders him to be placed in house arrest (he is allowed in early 2018 to travel to New York to undergo cancer treatment). Two other former Fernandez employees were also arrested.


Judge: Missing activist drowned

November 24

Santiago Maldonado, the activist who was found dead after disappearing for 78 days, drowned in the Chubut River and his body had been found there for at least 55 days when found. A judge in Buenos Aires states that. However, representatives of the Maldonado family demand that the police investigation be continued as little is known about the circumstances of the death.

Harsh punishments for MR crimes during the dictatorship

November 29th

Two former militants Alfredo Astiz and Jorge Eduardo Acosta are sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. They are convicted of murdering and torturing 100s of opposition activists at the Navy’s mechanical school in Buenos Aires during the military dictatorship 1976-1983. Both men are already in prison sentenced for similar crimes. A further 27 people are sentenced to life imprisonment and 19 people are sentenced to between 8 and 25 years in prison and six people are acquitted. Since the legal process began in 2012, 11 people have died and three have been deemed too ill to participate.

Submarine disappears without a trace

November 15

An Argentine submarine, ARA San Juan, vanishes without a trace in the South Atlantic on its way to Antarctica. There are 44 crew on board the boat. Despite extensive searches, the submarine is not found. The government dismisses the month after the head of the Navy, Marcelo Eduardo Hipólito Srur.

Former Vice President Amado Boudou is arrested

November 3

Former Vice President and Finance Minister Amado Boudou is arrested. He is accused, among other things, of money laundering and of hiding assets. The judge questions, among other things, how Boudou in 2010 got money for an apartment purchase for his then girlfriend, and claims that he had large incomes that cannot be seen from where they came. The day before, a court has given a go-ahead for a lawsuit against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for irregularities that must have been committed during the period 2007 to 2015. However, she cannot be arrested or subjected to house search as long as she is in the Senate. At the end of October, even before the Minister of Planning Julio de Vido, since the Chamber of Deputies voted to lift his parliamentary immunity, was also arrested. Among other things, he is accused of having shot himself by charging an excess price of liquid gas and embezzlement in connection with a mining business. He denies that he was guilty of any crime.


Election success for Macri and Cambiemos

22 October

President Macri’s alliance Cambiemos strengthens its position in the elections to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and becomes the largest party in 13 of the 23 provinces. Cambiemos wins in them five most populous areas: the capital of Buenos Aires, the province of Buenos Aires and the provinces of Cordoba, Santa Fe and Mendoza. However, it does not succeed in winning its own majority in Congress. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner secures a seat in the Senate, which means she cannot be arrested if she is convicted of some of the crimes she is accused of, but she comes second after Esteban Bullrich, the government alliance candidate in Buenos Aires province, which secures just over 41 percent of the vote against slightly over 37 percent for the former president. In terms of the whole country, Cambiemos receives just under 41 percent of the vote, while Fernández de Kirchner’s Citizens Unit receives 21 percent and Partido justiceists nearly 14 percent. Cambiemos increases from 86 seats to 107 in the Chamber of Deputies, still a good bit from the 130 seats required for its own majority in the House, and from 15 to 24 seats in the Senate (where 37 seats are required for its own majority). The turnout is 78 percent.

Disappeared MR activist found dead

October 18

The missing human rights activist Santiago Maldonado is dead. A corpse has been found at a river bank near the site where Maldonado disappeared a few months earlier. The body is taken to Buenos Aires to be identified. All parties cancel their campaigns before Sunday’s congressional elections. Maldonado’s disappearance has attracted a lot of attention in Argentina and has gradually become a chip in the political game.

Reduced poverty gives Macri headwinds

October 5

New statistics show that poverty in Argentina fell to just under 29 percent in the first half of 2017, compared to slightly over 30 percent at the end of 2016. That’s good news for President Macri ahead of the congressional elections later this month. Opinion polls indicate that government candidate Esteban Bullrich is leading former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in the Senate election in the province of Buenos Aires. Fernandez de Kirchner’s case is also not helped by the opening of lawsuits against Amado Boudou, who was her vice president, and Julio de Vido, who was responsible minister when a severe train accident occurred in 2012.


The government is accused of darkening the disappearance of activists

September 14

The question of what has happened to activist Santiago Maldonado continues to upset the Argentines. The government is accused of trying to obscure what happened to Maldonado and for disseminating false information about the case. A federal prosecutor has asked to hear several government members about this.

Protesters demand answers about missing MRI activist

2 September

Thousands of Argentines are demonstrating in Buenos Aires and other cities, demanding that President Macri do more to find out what has happened to human rights activist Santiago Maldonado, who disappeared in Patagonia in August in a protest for the rights of the Mapuche people. A mapuche group has occupied an area in the province of Chubut which they claim belongs to them but which today has private owners. Maldonado was last seen on August 1, when the Border Police (Gendarmería Nacional, GN) intervened to remove a roadblock. The police deny that they have arrested the man. Security Minister Patricia Bullrich defends the border police and is accused of supporting all kinds of explanations for the disappearance that have nothing to do with GN.


Trade unions protest against Macri’s economic policies

22 August

Tens of thousands of people gather in Buenos Aires to protest the government’s economic policies and demand that new jobs be created. The protest is organized by the trade union movement CGT and other unions, together with various leftist groups. Not all major unions participate, and it is clear that the trade union movement is fragmented and therefore not as influential as before.

Cambiemos success in the primary elections

August 13th

The primary elections will be a success for the Cambiemos government alliance, which is doing better than expected. The government had thought they could win in 8 out of 24 provinces, but took home the victory in 11, including former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s home province of Santa Cruz. At the same time, it is slow for Fernández de Kirchner’s new party Civic Unit and other Kirchner faithful forces, although it achieves good results in the capital (but Cambiemos becomes the largest party) and in 4 provinces. Other Peronist factions also have problems, as several political heavyweights make a lousy choice. They still become the largest party grouping in 8 provinces.


Demonstration leads to violence

June 28

Several leftist groups such as Quebracho, Túpac Amaru, Patria Justa, and the Kirchner faithful La Cámpora are blocking important roads in Buenos Aires to demand work and higher wages. The protest leads to violent clashes between protesters and security forces.

Fernandez de Kirchner back in politics

June 26

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner tries to make a political comeback and announces that she plans to run in the Senate elections in October. She has previously started a new party Unidad Ciudadana. She has until now been one of President Macri’s chief critics and claims that the charges against her are politically motivated. If she is elected to the Senate, even if she is convicted, she will not be able to be arrested as long as she is a Senator.


Activist leaders are prosecuted

May 16

Hebe de Bonafini, head of the human rights organization and foundation Fundación Madres de Plaza de Mayo, is charged with misuse of state funds that would have gone to housing for low-income earners (see May 2011). According to the indictment, the equivalent of about 13 million US dollars has disappeared. The 88-year-old Bonafini has repeatedly refused to stand in court when she claims the case is politically motivated.

Controversy surrounding the penal code for human rights violations

May 10

Congress adopts a law prohibiting the early release of people sentenced to prison for crimes against humanityunder the military dictatorship. The law follows a disputed ruling in the Supreme Court (HD) the week before, according to which a sentence punished for human rights violations would be reduced according to the principle “2 against 1” in relation to detention time. This means that one day in detention will shorten the prison sentence by two days, in cases where the detention period has exceeded two years – according to a law that was in force between 1994 and 2001. HD’s decision (which related to targets that went on during the period in question) has generated strong reactions.. Several federal courts have concluded that HD acted unconstitutional and a prosecutor has launched an investigation into the three judges who supported it. Hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated on the streets. The government has withdrawn from the decision, even though it has been rejected that the HD judges should be brought before national law.


General strike strikes Buenos Aires

April 6

A day-long strike is carried out in protest of Macri’s austerity policy. Public transport is stationary, flights are canceled and schools and banks are closed, and protesters are blocking streets in Buenos Aires. The strike is organized by three major unions and is a culmination of protests that have been going on for months. It is being implemented at the same time as the President is hosting an economic meeting with other Latin American leaders.

Cannabis for medical use is approved

April 4th

The Senate unanimously approves the legalization of cannabis for medical use. The law, which has already been passed by the Chamber of Deputies, also provides a clear indication for import until the state can produce cannabis itself.


Trial awaits Fernández de Kirchner

March 23rd

A judge decides that the ex-president should be brought to trial for fraudulent handling of state finances. The indictment also includes former Finance Minister Axel Kiciloff and former central bank governor Alejandro Vanoli (see also May 2016).

Macri promises new ethics laws

March 1st

In a speech to Congress, President Macri promises to sign laws related to ethics for politicians. Shortly before that, the State Prosecutor has launched an investigation into Macri, which is partly about the government’s decision to grant the President’s family business Socma debt relief equivalent to $ 296 million, and partly because it gave an airline that previously belonged to his family the right to operate certain routes.

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