illiterate persons can only be estimated, as there are no accurate census returns. We are of the opinion that it amounts to 6,500,000, or about two thirds of the entire population.
Colleges (colegios) have been established in the principal cities for many years. There are schools of the arts, of law, of medicine, and of science. The Colegio de Minería, or mining school, in the capital, was founded about the close of the last century. (See chapter on the City of Mexico in Part Second.)
The traveler should not, however, be misled by this term “colegio." It is often used in the rural districts as synonymous with "school," very much as it used to be in the Western States of the Union. Soon after the French invasion, a common-school system similar to that of the United States was introduced into Mexico. The English language is now generally taught, and even many business men are studying it with a private tutor. A few industrial schools have been established in the larger cities. Mexican children are said to be very docile pupils, and in the hands of good instructors they learn readily. Among the wealthier families, it is common for parents to send their sons abroad to be educated, as to New York, London, or Paris; and a few Mexican students may be found in the universities and mining schools of Germany.
Young women and girls attend only the parochial schools of the country, and the higher education is unknown among them. The completion of the American trunk-lines of railroad may tend to increase the number of young men who go to the United States annually to “finish" their education.
The following table is taken from Castro's Republic of Mexico, p. 200. It shows the number of public schools in the States and the Territory of Lower California, and the cost of their maintenance for the year 1880: