What is the Peruvian School System like?


I am working on a project for my Spanish class, and I have some questions I need answered. These are for an average school.

1 - Do schools have running water and/or Air Conditioning?

2 - Can students ask their teachers questions?

3 - What is their daily schedule?

4 - Is there a difference between public and private schools?

5 - Finally, is there a difference between rural and urban schools.

Thank you so much for the help!


It is hard to give a general answer to these questions as schools, both public and private, vary quite a bit from one area to another. My comments will try to cover the average school.

1 - Do schools have running water and/or Air Conditioning?

Water - In most cities and larger towns, there is running water and electricity. However, thousands of smaller towns have no running water, so schools in those towns lack running water also. Some schools in rural areas have no electricity.

Air Conditioning - I have personally never seen a school in Peru with air conditioning.

I would imagine that no public schools at all have air conditioning.

Private schools are found in most larger towns and cities and it is likely that some of the private schools in the hot areas of Peru, for example, the northern area and the cities located in the hot tropics.

2 - Can students ask their teachers questions?

Students can ask questions in class. Teachers are told to encourage this. But as I noted above, some stick to the old ways. Physical punishment, such as slapping your hands with a ruler, is still fairly common in rural schools.

3 - School schedules, etc.

Schools usually run from about 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Every Monday starts off with an "Hora Civica," where the students assemble to salute the flag and sing the national anthem. Students whose religious convictions preclude these nationalistic activities may find some opposition from teachers or administration, but the laws of Peru clearly allow freedom of religion to choose whether to participate or not.

Traditionally, teaching was done mainly by rote; where the teacher would ask the students to repeat after him/her and this included a lot of just memorizing and very little reasoning.

Various reforms over the years have attempted to modernize the methods of teaching and have succeeded to a great extent. However, some teachers still teach the way they were taught with little encouragement to the students to think on their own. As in every country, there are good teachers who are dedicated to their jobs...and their are not-so-good teachers.

4 - Is there a difference between public and private schools?

Private schools also are generally far better than public schools. That also depends on location, since a private school in a small town may not be as good as a public school in a big city such as Lima.

Most private schools are well equipped and have computers and small libraries.

Some public schools lack even basic items like desks, pencils, and books, especially in the isolated areas of Peru.

5 - Difference between rural and urban schools?

To answer your last question, schools in rural areas may lack many things that schools in the cities have. A rural school may have no electricity or running water, for example.

One of the main problems in the public and many private schools is the poor pay that teachers receive. Small towns (pueblos) may rely on teachers from larger towns nearby. If there are problems with transportation, teachers can't make it to school and classes may be canceled for that day. There are strikes by the teachers occasionally, usually because they haven't been paid by the school system.

On the other hand, education is highly valued by nearly everyone in Peru, and parents as well as children are serious about getting a good education.

Peru is continually working to improve things but it is a long, slow process.

A young person who applies himself to study will get a good education in most parts of Peru.

I hope this helps!

David Schneider

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