- Download our Moving to Buenos Aires Guide (PDF)
Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, is known for its excellent educational system that offers numerous options for parents who want to provide quality education to their children. There are many schools in Buenos Aires and its suburbs that cater to different educational approaches, such as Montessori, Waldorf and traditional schools, among others. Expats who are new to the city often opt to send their children to private or international schools. This is mainly because public schools in Buenos Aires use Spanish as the primary language of instruction, which could be a challenge for non-native speakers.
Private schools in Buenos Aires are known for their rigorous academic curriculum as well as their emphasis on extracurricular activities, such as sports, music and arts. They often offer smaller class sizes, individual attention and bilingual or multilingual instruction. International schools, on the other hand, follow the curriculum of another country, such as the United States or the United Kingdom. These schools offer a global perspective and attract families who are moving frequently or want their children to have an international education. Overall, expats in Buenos Aires have a range of educational options that cater to their preferences, needs, and budget, making it easier for them to settle down in the city.
Public schools in Buenos Aires
While free public schooling is provided to all children in Buenos Aires, the Argentine public education system faces some challenges. Public schools in the city have been underfunded in recent years, and as a result, resources are stretched thin. This has led to a decrease in the quality of schooling and the overall educational infrastructure.
Expats who choose to send their children to public schools in Buenos Aires should also be aware of the language barrier, as Spanish is the primary language of instruction. This can be a great opportunity for children to learn the local language and assimilate into the culture, but it can also be a challenge for non-Spanish-speaking children to keep up with their peers academically.
Ultimately, while the public education system in Buenos Aires may present some challenges, expats who are willing to work with the system and help their children adjust to the language and culture can provide their children with a valuable and rewarding educational experience.
Private schools in Buenos Aires
Private schools in Buenos Aires are popular among expat parents, because many of them offer a bilingual curriculum that caters to both Spanish- and English-speaking students. This means that children can continue to develop their English language skills while also learning Spanish. However, it's worth noting that a bilingual curriculum may lead to a longer school day, as classes are typically conducted in Spanish in the mornings and English in the afternoons. The longer day may be challenging for younger children, but many private schools offer after-school care and activities to help families manage their schedules.
Most private schools in Buenos Aires are affiliated with the Catholic Church and charge high fees. In addition to tuition, parents may also need to pay for extras such as books, uniforms and stationery, which can add up to a significant cost. It's important for expat parents to consider these additional expenses when choosing a private school.
Competition for places at top private schools in Buenos Aires can also be high, so parents should plan well in advance and be prepared to apply to several schools to increase their chances of securing a place for their child. That said, many expat parents find that private schools in Buenos Aires provide an excellent education and a valuable cultural experience for their children.
International schools in Buenos Aires
There are also a number of well-respected international schools in Buenos Aires that follow European or American curricula. Some of these also offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.
Space can be limited at international schools in Buenos Aires, and expat parents need to plan well ahead if wanting a place for their child at the school of their choice. International schools provide world-class education and support for their students, and fees can be expensive. Those moving to the city as part of a corporate relocation should factor this into any contract negotiations before committing to the move.
See our reviews on the best International Schools in Buenos Aires.
Special-needs education in Buenos Aires
By federal law, all schools must accept children with disabilities. There’s a new push for inclusion programmes in many schools, trying to incorporate children with all different types of abilities. Unfortunately, public schools aren't always receptive to accepting children with special needs.
Parents of children with special needs should therefore consider international or private schools, and it's advisable to contact the schools to find out what options are available.
Tutors in Buenos Aires
Expats can find private home or online tutors for their children through registered online tutor companies. Apprentus and TeacherOn are two such companies. These tutors can help children adjust to the new curriculum, to learning in Spanish, or offer school support for students struggling in any of their classes.
►For more information on schooling see Education and Schools in Argentina.
►Read about the Best International Schools in Buenos Aires
"There are many schools to choose from and the majority of them are bilingual and bicultural. Although their teaching techniques tend to be more traditional, their globalism and multiculturalism is far better than in the US. My suggestion would be to thoroughly investigate all the school options because there are many. You don’t need to go only to the international school in order to find English speaking friends for your kids. There are many options all over the city." To read about Maggie, an American expat, and her experience of moving to Argentina, see her interview.
Are you an expat living in Buenos Aires?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Buenos Aires. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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