The rate of illiteracy among adults in the year 2000 was estimated at 27.8% (males 27.8% and females 27.5%). Public education is free and compulsory for children ages 7 to 13 in primary school and ages 14 to 19 in secondary school. As of 1998 there were 1,032,595 students enrolled in primary schools and 169,430 enrolled in secondary schools. Primary school lasts six years, followed by five years of secondary education. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 35 to 1 in 1999. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4% of GDP.
In 1994, the number of students enrolled in all institutions of higher learning amounted to 54,106 with 4,078 teaching staff. The major university is the National Autonomous University of Honduras, founded at Tegucigalpa in 1847, with branches at San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba. There are several other universities, as well as technical and agricultural schools.