The city has the highest literacy rate in the country, estimated at more than 90 percent. Students are required to attend six years of primary school and three years of secondary school. Students who want to go on to college are required to attend three years of bachillerato (college prep courses). During the 1997–98 school year, there were almost three million students and 168,442 teachers in the city's 9,460 schools.
Mexico City is home to some of the nation's most important universities, including the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), founded in 1551. More than 350,000 students are enrolled at the sprawling university. Some of Latin America's most influential intellectuals have taught and attended classes at the prestigious Colegio de Mexico. Among other respected institutions are the National Polytechnic Institute and the Metropolitan Autonomous University. The Ibero-American University, Anáhuac University, and the United States International University are private institutions.