Uruguay Children and School

Uruguay Children and School

School in Uruguay

Children in Uruguay start school when they are six. School attendance is compulsory for nine years. Six years of this are spent in primary school and three years in secondary school. Those who then go to school for another three years can do the Abitur, the Bachillerato.

School uniform

Many students in Uruguay wear school uniforms. Since 1950, this has always been a white shirt with a blue bow for primary school students. The loop should, however, possibly be abolished because it is considered old-fashioned. In public secondary schools, however, there is no longer a school uniform.

The Ceibal plan

Every school child in Uruguay is given a laptop in primary school. This goes back to the “One Laptop per Child” project. In Uruguay it is called Plan Ceibal and the laptop is called Ceibalita.
There are of course grades in Uruguay too. Letters are given in elementary school. There are ten such letters in total, from “SMB” (very good) to R (insufficient). Numbers are then assigned in secondary school. 12 is the best grade and 1 is the worst.

The school year

The school year in Uruguay starts in March and ends in mid-December. Then the big holidays begin – December is summer here! Winter holidays are in June / July.

The education system: great!

98 percent of Uruguay’s population can read and write. Together with Argentina, Uruguay has first place in Latin America. As early as 1985, Uruguay had only 4 percent illiterate. All children go to school. No other Latin American country achieves such a school enrollment rate of 100 percent. However, Uruguay slipped in the 2012 Pisa study.

Incidentally, the first kindergarten in South America was opened in Uruguay and that was back in 1892. The teacher Enriqueta Compte y Riqué opened it in Montevideo.


What are the names of the people in Uruguay?

Often in Uruguay the first name is Tabaré. That is also the name of the Uruguayan president. It is a name from the Guarani Indians. The most common name, however, is Agustín, followed by Matías, Santiago, Nicolás, Martín and Bruno. For women, Florencia leads before Lucía, Agustina, Valentina, Camila and Julia.

Are there poor children?

Most children in Uruguay are fine. But here too there are poor children and children who have to work. At least 8 percent of children between the ages of five and 14 are affected. Most of them work on the street and sell something there or they beg. Others collect rubbish. Some tend to herd cattle, help with the harvest, or work in the households of wealthy people. Some children also live on the street, they are street children.

In 2006, 32.5 percent of Uruguay’s population still lived below the poverty line. In 2013 it was only 11.5 percent and in 2015 there was no longer any official extreme poverty.

Typical Uruguay

Argentina and Uruguay

We know much less about Uruguay than about Argentina, for example. In fact, both countries have a lot in common and are also known as the Río de la Plata countries together. In both countries people love to get together over a barbecue, which is called asado here.

The Spanish spoken in both countries is Río da la Plata Spanish – also influenced by the many Italians who once immigrated to both countries. People like to drink mate tea and the gauchos tend the cattle of the pampas. Tango, a dance, is also popular not only in Argentina, but also in Uruguay.


One of the most famous tangos comes from a musician from Uruguay. “La Cumparsita” was composed in 1916.

In Montevideo, as in Buenos Aires, there are often dance events for tango, the milongas.


The candombe music style is even more typical for Uruguay. The music has African roots and is played at carnival. It is extensively celebrated in Uruguay with parades. The candombe parade, which crowns the carnival and in which the best groups are sought, is well known. You can hear Candombe in Montevideo every weekend, because that’s when Candombe groups roam the streets with their drummers. There are also candombe dance shows.


The Murgas are also typical of the carnival. A murga consists of a choir (mostly made up of men) and musicians who mainly play drums. They appear on stages and target politicians and current events. The Murga members are colorfully costumed.


Another thing they have in common with Argentina is their love of football. But in Uruguay, of course, you support your own national team. It is called La Celeste (sky blue because they wear light blue jerseys) or the “Charrúas” after the indigenous people. Uruguay is also proud that the very first World Cup was held here. That was in 1930. And who was the world champion back then? Uruguay! And in 1950 they did it again.

America’s Switzerland

As a country located in South America according to itypetravel, Uruguay was once nicknamed the “Switzerland of South America”. For one thing, it was so named because it had a high level of wealth, especially when compared to the other Latin American countries. A welfare state was established as early as 1910. On the other hand, it was given this name because there are many banks here, as in Switzerland. But the size is also similar: Both are small states between large neighbors. Both like to be neutral and stay out of the conflicts of their big neighbors. By the way, in 1862 Swiss immigrants founded the town of “Nueva Helvecia”. There you can still find streets with the name “Edelweiss” or “Frau Vogel”.

To celebrate

In addition to Carnival, Easter and Christmas, Uruguay celebrates the Semana Criolla. Then gauchos show their skills on horseback. Public holidays are April 19th (landing of the 33 Orientales), May 18th (Battle of Las Piedras) and June 19th (birthday of the national hero Artigas).

Cattle and sheep

The typical animals of Uruguay are probably the cattle and sheep that are kept in the pampas. Around eleven million cattle and seven million sheep live in Uruguay. For decades, beef and wool were the most important goods sold abroad. Uruguay has even surpassed Argentina in beef consumption. 60 kilograms of beef are eaten here per person per year.

Uruguay Children

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