A distinctive cultural tradition has evolved in Chile that combines elements of the various ethnic groups. To a large extent, the arts and the educational system of Chile are based on European models. Chile’s modern education system had its origins in the mid-19th century. Today, Chile has one of the best educational systems in Latin America. Education is free and compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 13. The school system is administered by the national government under the minister of education. The national literacy rate of 97 percent is one of the highest in Latin America.
Chile conducted intensive adult literacy campaigns in the 1980s and initiated adult education programs in the 1990s.
In 2006, 1.7 million students were enrolled in primary schools and 1.6 million were enrolled in secondary schools. Chile also has a national preschool program. Among the institutions of higher education, the University of Chile (founded in 1738), a state-operated university in Santiago, is highly respected throughout the world. Other centers of higher learning include the Catholic University of Chile (1888), also in Santiago; the University of Concepción (1919); the Catholic University of Valparaíso (1928); and several technical universities. Most of the regional capitals have a university. Total annual enrollment in institutions of higher education in 2006 was 661,142. "Chile" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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