The education system
Currently there are four levels of education: preschool, basic general education (EGB), and Multipurpose Unified Baccalaureate (BUP) and university education. Training of first and second degree (FP FP-I and-II) is, together with the Bachelor, which is called Secondary Education. Also part of the education system Special Education, Adult Education and other specialized courses such as Applied Arts Schools, Language, Art Education, etc.
Early Childhood Education is divided in kindergarten (2 and 3 years) and kindergarten (4 and 5). Early childhood education is voluntary and free in public schools only. Kindergartens are very different and depend on businesses, foundations and the private sector.
The Basic general education comprises eight courses, six to fourteen. Teaching at this age is compulsory, free and universal. During the first five years (Primary Education) students have one teacher. In primary school children learn language arts, mathematics, knowledge of the environment, art, music and drama. One of the main innovations of the curriculum is the early introduction (eight years) of a foreign language. In the upper cycle (Secondary Education) teachers are different for languages, humanities, science and physical education.
The Private education has traditionally been very important in the primary and middle levels and has been closely linked to the Catholic Church, although neither teaching nor religious practice may be mandatory.
The school year lasts from 1 September to 30 June, with holidays at Christmas and Easter. Assessment is continuous, and if negative two courses may be repeated until the maximum age of 16 years. Students who pass the advanced cycle (over 75 percent) are awarded the Graduate School and may enter upper secondary and vocational training. Those who do not, receive a Certiñcado Schooling and can only enter vocational training.
The Bachelor and the Unified Multipurpose consists of three courses, after which students can perform Second Grade Vocational Training (FP-II). Not being mandatory, BUP is free only in public schools. In the third year about 60 percent of the students choose the option of Sciences and the rest of Letters (Latin and Greek instead of Physics, Chemistry and Natural Sciences). Before there was also the Pre-University Course (COU), which was only one more year of high school. Today this course is abolished.
The Vocational Training Although not mandatory, it's free. The first degree (FP-I) consists of two courses, with a third of direct vocational subjects and practical training, belonging to 21 branches and more than fifty professions. The most frequented are Administration, Electricity, Automation, Health and Metal.