Education in Costa Rica
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Education in Costa Rica is divided in 3 cycles: pre-education(before 7), primary education(from 7 to 12), and secondary school(from 12 to 18), which leads to higher education. Elementary and secondary school are both divided in two cycles. Since 1869, education is free and compulsory (article 78 of the constitution).
Costa Rica education system is ranked 20th in the “Global competitiveness Report 2013-14”, and is described as of “high quality”. The literacy rate in Costa Rica is 94.9%. It is 2 points over the average for Latin-America and Caribbean countries.
The primary education lasts six years and is divided in two cycle. The uniform is obligatory, in order to reduce social and economic distinctions.
The secondary Education is divided in two cycles of three years. The first cycle is dedicated to general education. The second cycle, while keeping a core curriculum, implies a specialization. Specializations can be academic or technical (agricultural, industrial, commercial, secretarial, accounting, crafts, family and social education).
The second cycle ends with the “Bachillerato”, granting access to higher Education. Nonetheless, many universities have in addition their own entrance examination.
There are five public universities in Costa Rica
- Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR) or (TEC)
- Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)
- Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA)
- Universidad Nacional Estatal a Distancia (UNED)
- Universidad Técnica Nacional de Costa Rica (UTN)
Public universities offer degree programs according to their specialty and by law, and manage their own central and regional campus. By Costa Rican law, two different public universities may not offer the same degree program.
There are also several private universities:
- Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología (Costa Rica)
- Universidad Latina de Costa Rica
- Instituto Centroamericano de Administracion de Empresas (INCAE)
- Universidad Adventista de Centroamérica (UNADECA)
- United Nations University for Peace
- Universidad de Ciencias Medicas (UCIMED)
- Universidad de EARTH
- Universidad de Iberoamerica (UNIBE)
- Universidad Autónoma de Centroamérica (UACA)
- Universidad Católica de Costa Rica
- Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica (UNEM)
- Universidad Santa Paula
- Universidad Veritas
- Universidad Cristiana del Sur
- Universidad San Juan de la Cruz (SJDLC)
- World data on Education, UNESCO-IBE(2010-11)
- p54, Global competitiveness Report 2013-2014
- Central Intelligence Agency (2011)
- "fact sheet", UNESCO-UIS(sept 2013)
- Costa Rica embassy in Germany
- Vocation Education in Costa Rica, UNESCO-UNEVOC
- Sistemas educativos en Costa Rica
- Photos of Costa Rican Educational Facilities
- Ministerio de Educación -Government portal
- Vocational Education in Costa-Rica, UNESCO-UNEVOC(2012)