Guatemala - Education
In the year 2000, the adult illiteracy rate was estimated at 31.3% (males, 23.8%; females, 38.9%). Elementary education is free and compulsory for six years although enforcement is lax in rural areas. In 1997, there were 1,544,709 students in primary schools. In that same year, secondary schools had 384,729 students and approximately 23,000 teachers. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 39 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, 81% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 18% of those eligible attended secondary school. Among Guatemala's six universities, the Universidad de San Carlos, in Guatemala City, is the most important center of higher learning. The others include Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Universidad Mariano Galvez, Universidad Rafael Landivar, and Universidad Rural. In 1995, all post-secondary institutions had a combined enrollment of 80,228 students.
The education budget accounted for 15.8% of the central government budget in the latter half of the 1990s. As of 1995, public expenditure on education was estimated at 1.7% of GDP.