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Costa Rica – Education and Schools

Costa Rica is a Central American country with a population of approximately 5 million people. The education system in Costa Rica is overseen by the Ministry of Education. In this article, we will explore the quality of education in Costa Rica, the compulsory education ages, breakdown the types of schools available by age, syllabus and qualifications offered, typical school hours and holidays, enrollment process, and international schools. We will also provide information on higher education options in Costa Rica.

Quality of Education in Costa Rica

The quality of education in Costa Rica is generally considered to be high. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, Costa Rican students scored above the average in mathematics, reading, and science. The government of Costa Rica has made significant investments in education, including funding for new schools, teacher training, and technology.

Compulsory Education Ages

In Costa Rica, education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15. This includes primary and secondary education.

Types of Schools Available in Costa Rica

Preschool

Preschool is available for children between the ages of 3 and 5. It is an optional two-year program that prepares children for primary school.

Primary School


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Primary school is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 12 and lasts for six years. Students learn subjects such as mathematics, science, social studies, language, and physical education.

Lower Secondary School

Lower secondary school is not compulsory, but it is available for students between the ages of 12 and 15. Lower secondary school lasts for three years and focuses on the core subjects of mathematics, science, social studies, language, and physical education.

Upper Secondary School

Upper secondary school is not compulsory, but it is available for students between the ages of 15 and 18. Upper secondary school lasts for three years and offers a range of subjects, including mathematics, science, social studies, language, and physical education.

Syllabus and Qualifications

Schools in Costa Rica follow a national curriculum that is overseen by the Ministry of Education. The curriculum includes subjects such as mathematics, science, social studies, language, and physical education.

After completing upper secondary education, students can take the Bachillerato diploma, which is a recognized qualification for higher education.

School Hours and Holidays

School hours in Costa Rica vary depending on the level of education. Primary school students typically have four hours of class per day, while secondary school students have six hours of class per day.

The school year in Costa Rica runs from February to December and includes two semesters. Students have a two-week break in July, a one-week break in October, and a one-week break for Easter. The school year ends in December, and students have a two-month break during the summer.

Enrollment Process

In order to enroll in a school in Costa Rica, students must provide a birth certificate, a proof of address, a health certificate, and a photo. For students transferring from another school, a transfer certificate is also required.

There is significant competition for enrollment in the more prestigious schools in Costa Rica, particularly in urban areas.

International Schools in Costa Rica

For expat families, there are several international schools available in Costa Rica that offer education in English or other languages. These schools typically follow the curriculum of their home country and offer qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

Some international schools in Costa Rica include:

Higher Education in Costa Rica

There are several higher education options available in Costa Rica, including universities, colleges, and technical schools. Costa Rican universities offer undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of subjects, including engineering, medicine, law, and humanities.

In order to be eligible for higher education in Costa Rica, students must pass the Bachillerato exam. The exam covers subjects such as mathematics, language, social studies, and natural sciences.

Some popular universities in Costa Rica include:

In conclusion, the education system in Costa Rica is generally considered to be of high quality. Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15 and includes primary and secondary education. Schools in Costa Rica follow a national curriculum overseen by the Ministry of Education and offer qualifications that qualify students for higher education. School hours and holidays vary depending on the level of education, and enrollment in schools is competitive. For expat families, there are several international schools available in Costa Rica that offer education in English or other languages. Finally, higher education options in Costa Rica include universities, colleges, and technical schools that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of subjects.


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