Approximately 12% of males 15-24 years of age and 17% of females are illiterate. Reflecting even worse literacy rates in past generations, the overall adult literacy rate is only 73%.
While nearly all Guatemalan children enroll in primary school, the attendance ratio is less than 80% and only approximately 62% are still in school at grade six. Approximately 25% of the student-age population finish middle school equivalent and only about 11% finish the equivalent of high school. These percentages are lower in the rural areas, especially in certain indigenous communities.
In theory, the government provides primary and secondary education for free. In practice, parents or students have to pay for uniforms, school books, school supplies and any needed transportation.