Education in Costa Rica

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As Costa Rica’s economy has developed in recent decades, the education system that helped propel the country to upper middle-income status now needs reform to respond to rising expectations and changing demands for skills. New challenges are emerging: economic growth has recently slowed, inequality is widening and productivity growth is weak. How can Costa Rica improve both the quality and equity of its education system while also addressing efficiency challenges? This report assesses Costa Rica’s policies and practices against best practice in education from across the OECD and other reference countries in the Latin American region. It analyses its education system’s major strengths and the challenges it faces, from early childhood education and care to tertiary education. It offers recommendations on how Costa Rica can improve quality and equity to ensure strong, sustainable and inclusive growth. This report will be of interest in Costa Rica as well as other countries looking to raise the quality, equity and efficiency of their education systems.


Completing upper secondary school and pathways beyond: rethinking diversified education in Costa Rica

This chapter analyses key features of Costa Rican upper secondary education and proposes measures to ensure that all young Costa Ricans acquire the skills they need at this level of education for work of future learning. Costa Rica can build on its many strengths including a reformed curriculum and a growing and well-funded vocational system - to make upper secondary education more inclusive. A more systematic approach is needed to tackle disadvantage, and particularly to improve teaching in the schools with the highest levels of disengagement and drop-out. Further support is needed for teachers to implement the new curriculum, and reform the Bachillerato examination to give a fairer chance to students to complete secondary education. Vocational education and training should be strengthened and expanded, through the creation of specialised technical schools and the development of short post-secondary vocational programmes.


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