Among the factors that contribute to poverty in Nicaragua, lack of education is at the top of the list. With a birthrate of 2.2 percent and 40 percent of the population below the age of 15, education is a critical force to determine the future of Nicaragua. Poverty is consistently associated with low educational levels, large family sizes, and dependence on agricultural activities.
Over half of the extremely poor in rural areas and over a third in urban areas are illiterate. Many poor children do not complete primary school due to late entrance, high repetition, and the low quality of schooling.*
Nicaragua has an education system that takes 11 years to complete. 6 years are spent completing primary school and 5 years in secondary school. Secondary school is completed at the 5th grade.
Elementary: Primary education in Nicaragua consists of 6 years of education and serves children from ages 6-12 years old.Upon completion, students are awarded the Diploma de Educacion Primaria (Diploma of Primary Education)
Secondary: is divided into three years of ciclo básico (basic cycle), with students typically aged 12 to 15 years, two years of ciclo diversificado (diversified cycle) for students aged 15 to 17 years, for a total of 5 years.
Admission to university-level studies requires the student to have earned the Bachillerato credential from their secondary school. Students are also required to take the Prueba de Ingreso (entrance exam).
Undergraduate: Licenciatura: Usually attained after four or five years of study, depending on the subject, and indicating a basic professional qualification.
Graduate: Maestría (Masters) degree: This degree follows a two-year course of study and the presentation and defense of a thesis.The shortest course of study is a two-year program in accounting and the longest is the six-year sequence for medicine, although the degree granted in that field is Doctor.**
*”Nicaraguan Poverty Assessment.” The World Bank. December 23, 2003