Kindergarten is optional for children aged four and five. Mandatory education begins at age six and ends at fourteen.
Mandatory education in Argentina is divided in three phases. The first comprises grades first to ninth, and is called Educación General Básica or EGB (Basic General Education). EGB is divided in three stages, called ciclos ("cycles"). EGB is mandatory for all students, although dropout rates are high in some parts of the country and the laws are rarely enforced. Education is funded by tax payers at all levels except for graduate studies. Public primary schools are free, but there are no public school buses and students must buy their own books and uniforms. The EGB cycles are listed below:
Primary education runs from grades 1 through 6. Until 1995, primary schools also included grade 7.
Secondary education in Argentina is called Polimodal ("polymodal", which means multiple modes), because it allows the student to select his or her own program. Students were not obliged to complete secondary school, but it was a requirement for college admission. Polimodal is usually three years, although some schools have four years. Unlike many primary schools which dropped 7th grade, most secondary schools accepted students in 7th grade, allowing them to keep the same classmates for their entire school cycle.
For children with special needs, there are separate programs. There are also many private schools at every level of education. Private schools are often sponsored by churches or organizations and charge tuition fees.
In December 2006 the Chamber of Deputies of the Argentine Congress passed a new National Education Law restoring the old system of primary followed by secondary education, making secondary education obligatory and a right, and increasing the length of compulsory education to 13 years. The government began putting the law into effect in 2007. For students who wish to continue their education beyond secondary school, there are many state-run, taxpayer-funded universities in Argentina, as well as a number of private universities. Foreign students who wish to attend university in Argentina must obtain a student visa, and also ensure that their educational credentials will be accepted at the Argentinean university.List of Universities in and around Buenos Aires: