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.


Early Childhood and Care: Giving all children a strong start in earning and life

Costa Rica has taken important steps to improve access and quality in ECEC in the last decade. Participation in pre-school has increased rapidly, the curricula has been revised to put stronger emphasis on early literacy skills and a dedicated body has been created to co-ordinate services for children under four. However, when compared with OECD countries and many emerging economies in Latin America, the early childhood sector in Costa Rica stands out as underdeveloped in terms of access and quality, in particular for vulnerable and disadvantaged children. This chapter looks at how Costa Rica can build on promising new initiatives to ensure all young children benefit from adequate care and education in these critical early years, which can have a significant impact on education performance later on and enhance social equity.


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