Elementary education is free and compulsory for five years. Much effort has been devoted to eliminating illiteracy, and 94 percent of all Colombians over age 15 could read and write by 2007. Instruction in Roman Catholicism is required in all public schools, most of which are controlled by the Roman Catholic Church. Protestant churches maintain a number of schools, chiefly in Bogotá.
The national government finances secondary- and university-level schools and maintains primary schools in municipalities and departments that cannot afford to do so.
In 2007 some 5.3 million pupils annually attended primary schools; 4.7 million students attended secondary schools, including vocational and teacher-training institutions. In the early 2000s Colombia had about 280 institutions of higher education; total enrollment in 2007 was 1,372,700. Among the largest universities are the National University of Colombia in Bogotá (parts of which date from the 16th century), the University of Cartagena in Cartagena, the University of Antioquia in Medellín, and the University of Nariño in Pasto. "Colombia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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