The Lake Chapala area offers many education options for your family, including public schools, private schools and international schools. Homeschooling is also allowed in Mexico. Many expats choose to put their children in private, bilingual schools because public schools often are crowded.
The public school system in Mexico is overseen by the Secretariat of Public Instruction (Secretaría de Educación Pública, SEP). Attendance is mandatory for all students ages 6 to15. Basic education includes pre-primary school for children 3 to 5, elementary school for children 6 to 12 and secondary school for those 13 to 15.
Students at the age of 16 are given the option to continue schooling at the high school level. There are two possible degree options. The first is a qualified technician degree, or profesional tecnico, which is chosen by less than 10 percent of all students. The other is a high-school diploma, or bachillerato, a much more popular option.
The school year in Mexico starts in mid-August and ends in the first days of July and, by law, must cover 200 days.
Many expats opt to enroll their children in international schools, such as the International Institute in Chapala. The school is a private, nonprofit, U.S.-accredited institution that offers classes for children from middle school through 12th grade. Terra Nova Institute in Ajijic offers K-12 education. International schooling is provided for students from elementary school through post-compulsory school. American college entrance examinations (SAT, ACT and AP) and/or British GSCE A-level examinations are available through most international schools. Many international schools also offer either the globally recognized International Baccalaureate (IB) Program or the Cambridge IGCSE and instruction generally is conducted in English and Spanish. Certification from these schools is accepted worldwide for university entrance.
Homeschooling is another option for expats in the Lake Chapala area. There are no laws prohibiting homeschooling in the country, if you choose to do so. You can find out details at this Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website.