In Ecuador, children are obligated to go to school from the age of 5, although pre-schooling is available for children of 3 and 4 years old. Until the age of 14, being subscribed in an official educational institution is compulsory.
The basic (primary) education system is divided in four levels:
Level 1: Preparational, 5 years old
Level 2: Basic Elementary, from 6 to 8 years old
Level 3: Basic Middle, from 9 to 11 years old
Level 4: Basic Superior, from 12 to 14 years old
After basic education, youngster can continue to bachellirato and choose a specialisation preparing them for university. It takes three years to gain the bachellirato diploma, after which students are ready to go to university.
Although the quality of the education offered in public institution has increased over the last decades, many parents choose private schooling for their children.
Rates are paid monthly (apart from a yearly registration fee) and vary from $30 USD per month up to over $1,000 USD per month. In most cases, you would pay between $200 USD and $500 USD per month for a good private school. These rates do not include uniforms and school supplies.
Check Expat-Quotes for a complete list of private international schools in Quito and surroundings.
In Quito and its valleys, there are about 30 universities, of which 7 are public and around 23 private. Public universities are quite popular and difficult to gain entry.
To be able to get in an Ecuadorian university, students have to pass the exam Ser Bachiller (ENES). This exam covers mathematics, linguistics, science, social sciences and abstract reasoning. On top of this, universities may have additional enrollment requirements.
Most university degrees take four or five years. In Ecuador, it is not very common to obtain a Master's degree and many people who aspire such a degree go study abroad. However, Ecuadorian universities offer master programmes of good quality, like Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. Non-university degrees, like in graphic design, cooking, and other practical careers, can be obtained in institutions.
Public universities are free and the cost of private universities and institutions vary from $2,000 USD to $7,000 USD per year.
All universities have library students, and sometimes also non-students, can make use of. There are few, small, public libraries and Ecuador's national library is situated in the cultural centre Casa de la Cultura along Avenida 12 de Octubre and Patria, near El Ejido Park.