Costa Rican standard of education

What to expect when studying in Costa Rica

Costa Rica was one of the first countries in the world to provide free public education and now has one of the highest standards of education in Latin America.

The country is a great choice for expats in general as public, private and higher education is abundant for both children and adults. According to the CIA World Factbook, Costa Rica has a literacy rate of almost 95%, making it one of the most literate countries in Latin America. This can be accredited to the fact that education was made obligatory and free in 1869 (largely funded by the country’s coffee income) and that many of its presidents have been former teachers.

In recent years, education in Costa Rica has improved dramatically. Around a quarter of the country’s national budget is spent on education, with a large percentage of that dedicated to primary education. The government has committed to increasing its spending on primary and secondary education to at least 8% of its Gross National Product in 2014, with a view to increasing the coverage of schools across all regions. It has also been a long-time commitment of the Costa Rican government to ensure all schools are equipped with computers and other educational tools. And with privatization on the rise, pricier options are becoming more popular, and the level of literacy has increased drastically as social positions have risen.

The education of Costa Rica is controlled by the Ministerio de Educacion. Education in Costa Rica is mandatory starting at the primary level and onto the secondary level (up to the 11th grade). After that, students may choose to continue onto tertiary education - universities or vocational schools. Costa Rica also boasts more than 100 public libraries - a vital resource for adults who may not have the opportunity to further their education after secondary school.

There are a large number of English-language schools available in Costa Rica. Many of the students at these schools are native Costa Ricans, but also include a number of British, American, Canadian and other European nationals.

Further reading

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