in reaction to the country's socio-economic crisis of 1989 led to the decentralization of the Argentine secondary school system, whereby, from 1992 onwards, the schools' administration and funding became a provincial responsibility. The policy's weakness, however, lay in that federal revenue sharing did not increase accordingly, particularly given the decision to shift two primary school years to the secondary system.
Real government spending on education increased steadily from the return of democratic rule in 1983 (with the exception of the crises in 1989 and 2002) and, in 2007, totaled over US$14 billion. Argentina built a national public education system in comparison to other nations, placing the country high in the global rankings of literacy. Today Argentina has a literacy rate of 97,4%, and 16,2% over age 15 have completed secondary school studies or higher.
School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 17. The Argentine school system consists of an elementary or lower school level lasting six or seven years, and a secondary or high school level lasting between five to six years. In the 1990s, the system was split into different types of high school instruction, called Educacion Secundaria and the Polimodal. Some provinces adopted the Polimodal while others did not. A project in the executive branch to repeal this measure and return to a more traditional secondary level system was approved in 2006.
There are forty-seven national public universities across the country, as well as forty-six private ones. The University of Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, and the National Technological University are among the most important. Public universities faced cutbacks in spending during the 1980s and 1990s, which led to a decline in overall quality