Uruguay Table of Contents
In 1973, the year in which Uruguay descended into authoritarian rule, major changes were decreed in the education system. The National Council for Education (Consejo Nacional de Educación--Conae) was set up to oversee all three branches of education under the supervision of the executive branch of government. At the same time, the compulsory length of schooling was raised from six to nine years. The secondary curriculum was completely reorganized, as was the pattern of teacher training. Finally, the INET saw its status and budget upgraded. However, overall spending on education fell from 12.2 percent of the central government budget in 1974 to 7.3 percent in 1982.
Enrollments in primary education (both state and private) fell 6 percent from 1968 to 1981. From 1968 to 1982, secondary school enrollments grew 6 percent; however, about half the secondary school students in Montevideo (and 70 percent in the interior) dropped out before receiving any certification. Over the same period, there was a boom in technical schools; enrollments increased 66 percent in the interior and 27 percent in Montevideo. The major cause of this increase was the new ciclo básico (basic cycle), which added three years of compulsory secondary education to the six years of compulsory primary schooling. However, the dropout rate remained about 50 percent. Enrollments in the University of the Republic doubled from 1968 to 1982, but the proportion of students graduating fell to just 8 percent.
In 1984, as something of a parting shot, Uruguay's military government formally granted university status to a Catholic college that had been expanding over the previous decade. This ended the University of the Republic's monopoly, which had lasted since its foundation in 1849. The new Catholic University of Uruguay remained extremely small, however, compared with its rival.
Data as of December 1990