Elementary and Secondary Education
Education in Spain is free and compulsory for children between 6 and 16 years. The school system consists of primary schools (for children 3-5 years), primary education (6-11) and secondary school (12 to 16 in two cycles of two courses). Later students can access a professional training course for one or two years, or two years of high school courses as preparation for university entrance. The university system generally has three cycles: the first, leading to the diploma degree lasts three courses;
The second cycle lasts two or three courses and at the end, a bachelor's degree is reached; and students who wish to obtain a doctoral degree must complete a third cycle of two years and write and defend a thesis publicly. There are also many university options tailored to the regulations of the EU (EU, formerly European Community), consisting of four courses.
In 1998 - 1999 the number of pupils enrolled in kindergarten and preschool was 1,096,677; General Education in Primary and Basic Education (EGB), 2,567,012; Secondary Education (ESO), Unified Baccalaureate Multipurpose (BUP), Pre-University Course (COU) in the LOGSE Baccalaureate courses, and Experimental School, and in vocational training centers (FP), 3,852,102 students. Courses for Adult Education, for the year 1994/95 counted with 332,453 students.