In general, expat families send their children to private schools, as the majority of state schools adhere to a half-day schedule and the learning is of a lower quality. Nevertheless, a few outstanding public schools do exist, and they may be an option if you’re willing to raise your kids from a young age as cultural Argentines in the full throttle of Argentine society.
Public school at all levels, except graduate studies, is paid for by taxpayers. However, there are no public school buses and the families must buy their books and uniforms (the white smocks that students wear over their regular clothes). English is the official foreign language taught in Argentina’s schools, but most public schools don’t teach more than the minimum required 2 hours a week.
For enrollment, you will need to contact the school and go through them directly. Keep in mind that which public school your child attends is based upon where you reside, so this may be a consideration when deciding where you want to live in Buenos Aires. You will need your children’s visa papers as well as your own, your and your children’s passports and DNIs, as well as proof of residency. Depending on the school, you may also need to bring your child’s birth certificate.
The public schools with the highest esteem are those affiliated with the University of Buenos Aires, considered Argentina’s most prestigious university. These schools include the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires and Escuela Superior de Comercio Carlos Pellegrini. The websites are all in Spanish, and the curriculum is in Spanish as well. Admission is competitive, a drawn-out process that involves a stringent examination schedule over the course of the school year (as secondary schools commence with 8th grade, the exams must be taken in the student’s seventh year of school). There are also primary magnet schools of high quality, although admissions are more determined by lotteries than by testing.
The Ministry of Education has an interactive map that shows all the public schools from primary all the way up to university-level public schools in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country.