Ecuador Best Colleges and Universities

Ecuador Education Facts


In Ecuador, there is a nine-year compulsory schooling from the age of six. The proportion of children attending school has increased significantly in a couple of decades. Nowadays, almost all children in primary school start, although some then go on classes and one in ten will drop off completely before school is complete.

Two out of three children also attend the three-year high school that follows preschool. For small children, pre-school from the age of four is offered, at least in the cities.

The dropouts are many not least among the rural poor. Especially girls from the indigenous peoples often fall away. Tuition and textbooks in state schools are free of charge, but factors such as the family being dependent on the children helping to work or the cost of school uniforms being too high contribute to dropouts. The standard in public schools, especially in rural areas, is rather low due to teachers’ poor education and lack of resources. In some parts of the country there are also not enough schools.

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In the cities, many children go to well-to-do parents instead of paid private schools with better resources. There are both secular and religious private schools. Catholic schools are the most common, but more and more Protestant schools have been added. About one in five children in primary school attend private schools. In high school, the proportion is double: two out of five.

Major investments have been made in education during the 2000s. In 2007, President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) announced a “state of emergency” for the education sector in order to channel more state resources to the school. In connection with this, a comprehensive program was launched according to the Cuban model to increase reading and writing skills. Earlier, a large investment in adult education had reduced the proportion of illiterate persons from one quarter in 1974 to less than one tenth in 2007, and thereafter it has dropped further. Today, it is mainly elderly people living in rainforest areas who cannot read and write.

There are a large number of universities and colleges, both state and private. Higher education is now free of charge. This has led to an increased influx of students, but since the allocations for teaching have not kept pace, the quality has decreased.

In an effort to remove Ecuador from oil dependency and towards a knowledge-based economy, the Correa government launched an Ecuadorian “Silicon Valley” – a “City of Knowledge”, Yachay, in the northern part of the Andean highlands. The plan was for the city of Yachay to become a tax-free zone. The University of Yachay Tech was formally inaugurated in 2014 and five years later had six different programs 1,500 students.

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Proportion of children starting primary school

91.3 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

25 (2017)

Reading and writing skills

94.4 percent (2016)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

12.8 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

12.8 percent (2015)



Demonstrations despite coronary restrictions

May 25

Several thousands of people are participating in protest marches across the country, against the drastic financial measures taken by President Lenín Moreno to deal with the corona crisis. The protesters wear mouth guards and keep away from each other, in accordance with the recommendations. The trade union movement believes that workers must pay too high a price compared to the country’s elite. The week before, the president announced cuts that include closures of state-owned companies and embassies around the world. At least 3,200 people are estimated to have died in covid-19, making Ecuador the hardest hit country in South America, per capita.

Halved salaries in state management

May 8

President Lenín Moreno, ministers and others in the state leadership cut their wages by half due to the corona pandemic that is hitting the economy hard. Ecuador continues to be severely affected with over 30,000 confirmed cases of infection and approximately 1,650 deaths. Prior to the cut, the president earned $ 5,000 a month, compared to the minimum salary of about $ 400.


Corona “like a bomb” in Guayaquil

April 17

New data indicates that the corona crisis has hit even harder against the province of Guayas, where the three-millionth city of Guayaquil is located, than previously reported. The number of deceased in the first two weeks in April amounts to 6,700, compared with 1,000 during the corresponding period in normal cases. Guayaquil’s Mayor Cynthia Viteri says the infection has hit the city “as if a bomb struck.” Viteri himself has been ill but recovered from covid-19. Guayaquil has been hit hardest by corona throughout Latin America, many die at home or are found dead outdoors Despite many concerns, many defy the curfew that applies for 15 hours a day and goes out, often in search of food.

Ex-President Correa sentenced to prison

April 7

After a two-month trial, former President Rafael Correa, in his absence, is sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption. Correa and 19 co-defendants are convicted of receiving $ 7.5 million in bribes from companies in exchange for government contracts. The bribes must have been paid as campaign funds for the 2013 elections. Among the convicted are several former ministers, MPs and businessmen, as well as former Vice President Jorge Glas, who has already been sentenced to prison in another case (see December 2017). The convicted are suspended from politics for 25 years. Correa, who is also prosecuted in another case involving kidnapping (see June 2018), lives in Belgium. He complains that the court is engaged in political persecution. The judgment may be appealed.

Dead are picked up on the streets

2 April

Police and military have fetched at least 150 corpses from streets and homes for three days in Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, hit particularly hard by the corona pandemic. In social media, images and desperate calls for help from people who do not know where to turn when someone dies are circulating. The curfew prevents the handling. Guayaquil is reported to have the highest mortality rate in covid-19 in all of Latin America.


Extensive restrictions due to corona

24th of March

President Lenín Moreno criticizes people who violate the curfew prevailing to curb the new corona virus, and calls it in a TV speech for irresponsible acts to be compared to “terrorism”. All air traffic to Ecuador was stopped the week before to try to stop the virus. Ecuador is the second worst hit in Latin America, after Brazil. The government has ordered the military to take control of the worst-exposed province of Guayas, which now becomes a “national security zone”.


Opposition members are granted asylum in Mexico

January 9

Four MEPs and seven other members of the opposition are granted political asylum in Mexico. The four MPs, who belong to ex-President Rafael Correa’s National Revolutionary Movement Party, have stayed at the Mexican embassy in Quito since the unrest in October, but have now flown to Mexico by regular flight.

Ecuador Best Colleges and Universities