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Costa Rica’s Education System Is Pura Vida

Costa Rica’s Education System Is Pura Vida

A Country with no army is able to invest more resources in education and public health. In Costa Rica, education is free and is a legal right for every resident. 


We have 4 levels of education: preschool, school, highschool and university, each one with its sublevels. 


There are also private institutions on every stage that range from cheap to really expensive that offer different kinds of extracurricular programs and even proficiency in other languages or technology subjects. 


Costa Rica’s government and private schools make agreements with other countries for exchange student programs or scholarships for people with high grades that cannot afford the best education fitting their capacities. 


The Ministerio de Educación Pública (Public Education Ministry) is in charge of supervising, regulating and modifying the scholar system so we keep being one of the most alphabetized countries in latin america. Statistics show that at least 70% of our population has a high school diploma. 


Also, there are programs for adults who didn’t have the opportunity to graduate from school or high school. This education is free and it is during the nights so people can go to work and then go to classes. 

CR Education

To have a little context, at the beginning of Costa Rica’s education plans, it was dedicated to teach indigenous and creole kids to read, write and count. Church members were the teachers. If someone wanted to have advanced education, they had to travel to other countries to study. Then, education stopped being only for boys and included girls as well but institutions were either for men or women. Eventually they became mixed. In 1844 it was declared that education in Costa Rica was a right and the Government has to guarantee it to be accessible.


Today the panoramics are different,  Costa Rica is thriving on education matters, investing around 8% of the country’s GDP and 23% of the population graduated from the university, which makes us the best in our region. 


Universidad de Costa Rica UCR is our pride and joy. Best university in Latin America, awarded internationally. Some careers available, like Geology, are unique in the continent. With its investigation centers, social programs, scholarships, media, books and all the efforts UCR makes, it represents the country highly.


Not everything has been so great with education, though. In the last decade, quality standards have dropped due to reasons from not having adequate installations to virtual classes with Covid-19. The discussion is also about dynamics and methodologies for teaching and measuring the amount of knowledge a student can remember. Some teachers also complain about the outdated study programs. 


Costa Rica’s economy is also affected by education. We’re seeing unemployment rates never seen before in the country. It is also crucial that we keep our education standards so international companies find it worthy to be here and hire Costa Rican people 


We are optimistic that our actual President is going to pursue the upgrade of our education system and improve the programs so Costa Rica can once again be award winning in education so future generations can access better opportunities to study and to work. 


Karen Ebanks

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