In 1949, when the army was abolished, the Costa Rican government pledged that the “army would be replaced with an army of teachers.” In Costa Rica, universal public education is assured in the constitution, and to this day literacy, with a historical rate of 94.9%, remains one of the highest rates in Latin America.
Elementary and high schools are found throughout the country, in nearly every community. Primary education is mandatory, and both preschool and high school are free of charge for residents. There are only a few schools in Costa Rica that offerbeyond the 12th grade and students who finish 11th grade receive a Costa Rican “Bachillerato Diploma”, accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education. In Costa Ballena there is a mix of both private and public primary schools. For accreditation of high school programs in the country of origin, one must consult withtheir local school representatives, as in each state or province there are a particularset of rules and in many circumstances equivalencies can be given or special examscan be taken in order to receive such equivalencies.
There are both public and private universities throughout the country. The University of Costa Rica has been awarded the title “Meritorious Institution of Costa Rican Education and Culture” and is held in high regard. In recent years, many private universities and colleges have consolidated because of the demand for higher education, which exceeds availability provided by the public sector. For post secondary education, private and public schools are available in San Isidro El General and various programs are available.
When it comes to evaluating options for your child’s education, many factors are to be considered. Foremost, would be the child and their natural disposition. Successful integration depends on the child’s willingness and openness at the onsetand parental support and understanding is invaluable when difficulties arise. Every situation has a solution; children are highly flexible and adaptable, sometimes it is the parents who show more resistance to change then the children. Many examples can be found where children pick up the language in as little as three months when given the opportunity for full integration. By far the most enriching aspect of education in the Southern Zone is the cultural integration, not only in Costa Rican culture but internationally. Many children from all corners of the globe are present in the schools of Costa Ballena. The rich experience of exposure to an intercultural setting prepares children for what lies far beyond our younger years. With the digital age being as it is, hybrid teams worldwide are becoming the norm. To be able to adapt in the work force is a must and to have, in such young years, learned to adapt to a new culture and assimilate into a different system is valuable beyond measure; not only in the work force, but also to prepare one for the challenges in life.
The school year in Costa Rica runs from February to December. Students have vacation for about two month, from December to February, and a few weeks off in July.
Home schooling is available, as are tutors who can provide additional support. For those who wish to return to their home country for post secondary education, preparation for pre-requisite courses can be done by distance, even exams can be done online, one simply needs to be well informed.