Easier said than done: Obstacles to the expansion of secondary education in Uruguay


  • María Ester Mancebo Universidad de la República
  • Julia Pérez Zorrilla Flacso Argentina




Uruguay, 2005-2017, secondary education, inclusion, qualitative methodology


In 2008, the Uruguayan General Education Law was enacted, stipulating the right to education and extending compulsory education from nine to fourteen years. This article analyzes the obstacles to design and implement educational policies to improve secondary education attainment rates during the governments headed by the Frente Amplio party from 2005 on. Using a qualitative approach, we employed a triangulation method that includes document analysis (laws and institutional reports) and 49 semi-structured interviews conducted between 2011 and 2015; the interviews covered government authorities, legislators, bureaucrats, experts and union leaders. We identified three potential causes of this policy gridlock: the institutional fragmentation of the educational system; the ideological disagreement between educational authorities and party members; and the teacher’s union veto. The educational policy stalemate in secondary education is explained by these multiple factors and their interaction.


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Author Biographies

María Ester Mancebo, Universidad de la República

María Ester Mancebo es Profesora Titular (en Régimen de Dedicación Total) en la Universidad de la República e Investigadora Nivel II en el Sistema Nacional de Investigadores de Uruguay. Se ha especializado en Políticas Educativas, área en la que concentra su labor de enseñanza de grado y postgrado y su investigación.

Julia Pérez Zorrilla, Flacso Argentina

Julia Pérez Zorrilla es candidata a Doctora en Ciencia Política por la Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM) y becaria doctoral del Consejo Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) con sede de trabajo en FLACSO Argentina. Es Magíster en Ciencias Sociales con orientación en Educación (FLACSO Argentina), Magíster en Derechos Humanos y Democratización (UNSAM) y Licenciada en Ciencia Política (UDELAR). Se ha especializado en el estudio de las políticas educativas en el nivel medio.



How to Cite

Mancebo, M. E., & Pérez Zorrilla, J. (2018). Easier said than done: Obstacles to the expansion of secondary education in Uruguay. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 161. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3189



Políticas de Inclusión y Extensión de la Obligatoriedad Escolar