BEGINNING October 5, preparatory courses for higher education entrance exams, lasting 28 or 56 weeks, will start as part of the country’s adult education system, which since 2009 has offered the opportunity to workers or those who have been out of the classroom for a long time and wish to undertake university studies.
Adult education is currently focused on these programs, with the hope of perfecting them, as noted by the Master of Science graduate, Regla Lovaina, acting director of this department of the Education Ministry.
“We are pretty ambitious and have managed to continue increasing enrollment in preparatory courses. Each school year, we have ensured that a greater number of students pass the entrance exams given the preparation we offer them,” she stressed.
The nationwide results by subject in the 2014-2015 period are indicative of this: in Mathematics 3,517 candidates took the exam and 3,026 passed; in Spanish, among a total of 3,639, 3,445 passed the test; and in History the figures were 3,568 and 3,306, respectively.
Lovaina explained that the 28-week courses are more attractive to younger students, as they prefer the shorter duration and intensity of the preparation.
“These young people who have graduated from a pre-university high school opt for these courses so they can take the entrance exams in the same year in which they prepare for them,” she added.
However, those who opt for the 56-week courses continue studying for two academic years before taking the entrance exams. “These are for people who have spent a longer time out of school,” Lovaina notes.
The current academic year has seen the beginning of community projects, in conjunction with language schools. The new program is focused on children aged 7-17 learning a second language, mainly English, to reinforce their skills.
Previously, centers for the study of foreign languages only enrolled workers who went through a selection process depending on the priorities of their employers.
“These courses have been very well received in communities, just like the summer courses held in July and August,” the official noted.
The adult education department is also responsible for the Worker – Farmer Faculties (FOC) across the country, which offer regular courses and part-time courses, providing study opportunities for workers who want to raise their level of schooling.
This year the adult education system is offering all individual who have completed skilled worker programs, whether employed or not, the possibility of enrolling in one of the FOCs to complete their high school education. This study option has been designed considering that students in skilled worker programs conclude their studies at an early age.
Standard FOC entry requirements establish that applicants must be aged 17 or above and be employed, although for women who work in the home the latter is not required.