In terms of equity of educational opportunities, the region displays great problems, and El Salvador is no exception to this. The analysis given here of the shortcomings in respect of equity of education in that country begins with a general description of the fundamental lines of action proposed in the educational reform process. A study is then made of the differences in access to education, the intergenerational transmission of educational opportunities, and disparities in the quality of education. It is noted that education has an instrumental function -economic reproduction- but it also has a function of promoting change in pursuit of a more equitable society. It is asserted that the contribution education can make to development has its limits, and the effect of poverty on educational opportunities and hence on individuals' real possibilities of getting on in the world is highlighted. Finally, some ideas are put forward for maximizing the contribution of education to the development of El Salvador.