Education in Ecuador is public, free and compulsory at the preschool, primary and secondary school levels, from 3 to 17 years. The state funds teachers, and material and technological resources.
Education is provided through public, Church-state and private institutions. Public institutions provide education at no cost to students. Church-state institutions are non-profit institutions that receive total or partial funding from the state on the condition that they comply with principles such as free access, equal opportunities for access and retention. If the state’s contribution is insufficient, these institutions may charge for services. Finally, private education institutions must be registered by the national authority and can charge fees, but cannot exist primarily for profit.
The implementation and distribution of education resources is the responsibility of the Under-Secretariat for School Administration (centralized function) and decentralized management at three intercultural and bilingual levels (locality, district and circuit). The distribution of resources at all levels is governed by economic, geographic and social criteria, and special attention is paid to areas with the largest number excluded from the education system in a given territory.
For higher education, the state allocates resources to public and some private institutions according to quality, efficiency, equity, justice and academic excellence criteria. Higher education institutions must select 10 per cent of their students to receive scholarships.
In 2017, total education sector spending was USD 4.8 billion (13.9 per cent) of total public spending – 4.61 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The school-age population totals 6.1 million.
This project focuses on students with special educational needs (SEN), especially those at risk of marginalization, exclusion or school failure, and at risk of or in vulnerable situations. This type of education is provided in regular state schools and in hospital classrooms. In 2018, the amount accrued was USD 830,651 – 24 per cent of total education spending – benefiting 15,957 students.
This programme aims to include rural and peri-urban populations in education. In 2018, the programme served 19,924 children using USD 345,811 from fiscal resources, equivalent to 10 per cent of total education spending.
This programme is aimed at students in public schools that provide preschool, and general primary and secondary education. In 2017, USD 165 million was accrued for this programme (3.51 per cent of total education spending) and over 416 million food rations were supplied.
This is a Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT) programme for higher education studies. The programme is open to all citizens but selection is based on individual excellence and inclusion criteria, and national scholarships are targeted exclusively at priority, historically excluded or discriminated groups. The scholarship amounts to approximately USD 2,628 per student. In 2017, the programme implemented USD 106 million (2.25 per cent of total education spending) and provided an estimated 8,120 scholarships.
This is a conditional cash transfer programme for families with children under 16 years who are extremely vulnerable according to the Social Registry’s 2013 socioeconomic index. To receive the grant, children aged 5–17 years must be enrolled in school and have 75 per cent school attendance, and children under 15 years must not be in work. The grant has a variable component depending on the number of minors. The monthly transfer is between USD 50 and USD 150 per family.
In 2017, the programme budget was USD 243 million or 0.24 per cent of GDP, and benefited 412,365 households (1.9 million people). In 2016, the grant benefited more than 1 million inhabitants – 6.32 per cent of the total population.