Education in Costa Rica

image of Education in Costa Rica

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.


Foreword and acknowledgements

Costa Rica is recognised across Latin America for its leadership in education. The first country in the region to achive full enrolment in primary school, Costa Rica's education achievements have contributed to strong economic growth and high levels of well-being. The question today is whether the system that drove this progress can evolve to respond to new pressures and changing demands for skills. Despite rising investment in education, the majority of students in Costa Rica leave school with weak foundations for work and further learning, and the attainment gap between children from poor and wealthy backgrounds remains stubbornly high.


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