Like most other countries, both public and private education are available in Costa Rica, each offering many benefits as well as pitfalls. When choosing a school either for yourself or your children, it is important to know that there is a disparity in attendance and grades between public and private schools. It has been found that the percentage of students failing in private schools is much smaller than the percentage of students failing in public schools. But, it always depends more on the individual than on the school system.
Private schools generally follow the public school year and timetable, although as some private schools use a more North American or European education system, this may differ. In fact, there are several North American schools, as well as French, German and Japanese schools. International students studying at private schools may also be given the opportunity to take exams from their own countries, such as SATs. Courses are generally shorter than public school courses because they don’t include the mandatory liberal arts courses.
While it remains free to attend public schools, families still have to pay for books, uniforms, food and sometimes transportation and other extra fees. Private schools are of course more expensive, but there is a bit more leeway with the curriculum, and students will probably be in smaller class sizes. Private schools have actually made a massive contribution to the success of public schools due to the fact that their popularity has meant that public schools are less crowded.