The 1979 Sandini Revolution meant a new orientation of
the country's education with a stronger focus on
self-determination and national identity as well as
connection with productive work. Under the influence of i.e.
Cuba launched adult education programs to address
illiteracy. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Nicaragua.
The school structure consists of a primary school of 6
years followed by a secondary school of 3 plus 3 years,
which can be completed with a bachelor, a kind of
student degree that qualifies for admission to university.
The dropout rate, especially in primary school, amounts to
almost half. For adults, after a short introduction of a
year 3 or 4-year training courses, which is directly linked
to the work experience of the person concerned, is arranged.
The attempts to eradicate illiteracy, which was still around
34% in the mid-1990s, through special "crusades" are a
feature of Nicaragua's educational system.
1990 FSLN loses election
FSLN nominated incumbent President Daniel Ortega as its
candidate in the election. The opposition formed a coalition
of 14 parties called the Unión Nacional Opositora (National
Opposition Union, UNO). As a candidate, they drafted Violeta
Barrios de Chamorro, who was the murdered Pedro Joaquín
All election polls gave the Sandinists victory by a wide
margin, but in the February 25, 1990 elections, Nicaragua's
history took a sharp turn. UNO won the election by 55% of
the vote against the FSLN's 41%. Violeta de Chamorro was the
new president. Ortega acknowledged the defeat and promised
to hand over power.
Prior to the transfer of power on April 25, the President
and the FSLN signed a "transitional protocol" stating that
the existing constitution should be respected, the
institutions and social achievements of the revolution
respected and the "contrails" disarmed. Chamorro announced
that she personally assumed the post of Secretary of Defense
and retained the Sandinist General Humberto Ortega as the
commander-in-chief of the army. At the same time, she
immediately abolished the mandatory military service.
UN Vice President Virgilio Godoy now accused Violeta de
Chamorro of betraying pre-election agreements by retaining
Humberto Ortega in his post, and he therefore withdrew from
the government along with part of the coalition.
In May 1990, strikes broke out among state employees for
a 200% pay rise. The government responded by declaring the
strike illegal, repealing the law of civil servants and the
land reform law of the Sandinists. The workers now
radicalized the struggle that spread to the whole country. A
week later, the government agreed to partially meet the
demands of the strikes, and the strike was canceled.
From the middle of 1990, the government received offers
from several international consortia interested in
implementing projects in the northern part of the country in
a 270,000 hectare rainforest area. The projects ranged from
the construction of toxic waste disposal sites from North
America to the utilization of the area's fisheries, mining
and forest resources.
At the same time, it emerged that secret negotiations had
been held between the authorities and a Taiwanese company on
the right to exploit the area's forest resources. On the
same occasion, it was revealed that in the area there were
significant reserves of gold, silver, copper, molybdenum and
Central America's largest deposits of calcium carbonate,
which is an important raw material in the manufacture of
In 1991, President Chamorro signed an agreement with the
FSLN on the recognition of land reform and a guarantee to
transfer at least 25% of the shares to workers in the
companies the government now wants to privatize.