The Uruguayan K-12 Education System

The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the education system in Uruguay. The K-12 education in Uruguay starts with preschool education, followed by primary education and basic cycle/middle school education which are compulsory to attend, and then upon completion of basic cycle, students can go for the second cycle/upper secondary education. 

Understand the Uruguay K-12 Education System

Pre-primary Education/Pre-school Education

Early childhood education caters to children aged 0-3 years. Pre-primary education in Uruguay is provided by preschools and kindergartens.

Initial education is for children aged 3 to 5 years. Initial education is mandatory for children aged 4 to 5 years. This educational level provides knowledge of environment, physical and social knowledge, language and expressions, math, and artistic knowledge.

Compulsory Education

Compulsory education in Uruguay last for 9 years encompassing primary education and basic cycle- secondary education. 

Primary Education

Primary education in Uruguay is free of charge in public schools and is mandatory to attend. 
The courses are classified into three levels.
  • Duration: 6 years
  • Ages: 6 to 12
  • Grades: 1-6
    • First level covers grade 1 and 2
    • Second level covers grade 3 and 4
    • Third level covers grade 5 and 6
Admission requisite: Students who have complete primary education can enter basic cycle secondary education. 

Curriculum: Mathematics, natural sciences, language, physical education, geography, music education, civics, artistic studies, and history

Certificate awarded: Certificate of Primary Education

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Uruguay is conducted in two cycles of 3 years each.
  • First/ basic cycle
  • Second/high school cycle

Basic Cycle

The basic cycle is compulsory to attend and comprises of two streams-general and technological. Students who have completed basic course can go for higher level in the general stream, or can go for technological education.   Technological education prepares students for higher studies or labour market. 
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 12 to 14
  • Grades: 7 to 9

General basic cycle: Mathematics, physical sciences, history, Spanish, chemistry, literature and language, physics, physical education, English, civic and social education, geography, biology,  and art education. 

Technological basic cycle: Technology, mathematics, physical sciences, history, Spanish, chemistry, literature and language, physics, physical education, English, drawing,  geography, biology,  and computing. 

Second Cycle: High School/Upper Secondary Education

The second cycle prepares students for higher education. 
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 15 to 17
This cycle provides students 3 options. Students choose the option on the basis of course studied at the secondary basic cycle.
  • First option is to study under the Circlo Diversificado. This programmes leads to a Bachillerator Diversificado de Secundaria and consists of following areas: law, medicine, humanities, business and science.
  • Second option is the Bachillerato Tecnico/Diversificado: This option prepares pupils for vocation in technical fields and also consists of programmes in the humanities field.  
  • Third option is the Bachillerato Tecnico: This alternative emphasize on developing the technical skills only and the course last for 4 years. 
Certificate awarded: Diploma of Secondary Education/Secondary Education Certificate

School Year

The schools in Uruguay run from March to December with summer holidays, winter holidays and spring break in between the session.
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