Education in Costa Rica

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Education in Costa Rica is divided in 3 cycles: pre-education (before age 7), primary education (from 6-7 to 12-13), and secondary school (from 12-13 to 17-18), which leads to higher education. School year starts between the second and third week of February, stops at the last week of June, it continues again between the third and fourth week of July and finishes between the last week of November (private kindergartens, schools and high schools) and the second week of December (public kindergartens, schools and high schools). Preschool and basic education are free to the public. [1] Elementary and secondary school are both divided in two cycles. [2] Since 1869, education is free and compulsory (article 78 of the constitution).

Costa Rica Country in Central America

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.


Costa Rica education system is ranked 20th in the "Global Competitiveness Report 2013–14", and is described as of "high quality". [3] The literacy rate in Costa Rica is 94.9%. [4] It is 2 points over the average for Latin-America and Caribbean countries. [5]

The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) is a yearly report published by the World Economic Forum. Since 2004, the Global Competitiveness Report ranks countries based on the Global Competitiveness Index, developed by Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Elsa V. Artadi. Before that, the macroeconomic ranks were based on Jeffrey Sachs's Growth Development Index and the microeconomic ranks were based on Michael Porter's Business Competitiveness Index. The Global Competitiveness Index integrates the macroeconomic and the micro/business aspects of competitiveness into a single index.

Primary education

The primary education lasts six years and is divided in three cycles. The uniform is obligatory, in order to reduce social and economic distinctions. [6]

Secondary education

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). [7]

The third cycle ends with the "Bachillerato", granting access to higher Education. Nonetheless, many universities have their own entrance examination. [8]


There are five public universities in Costa Rica:

National University of Costa Rica public university in Costa Rica

The National University of Costa Rica is one of five public universities in the Republic of Costa Rica, in Central America. The main campus is located in the city of Heredia. According to recent international studies, The National University of Costa Rica ranks 85th in Latin America and 1576th in the world. More than 12,000 students study in its main campus. In addition to offering a broad undergraduate curriculum, it offers 16 Master of Arts degrees. It is known for its strong programs in ecology, sociology and education.

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.

The public universities publish a number of journals where students and academics can publish their research, and access international research publications freely. Some of these journals are:

There are also several private universities:

See also

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San José, Costa Rica City and municipality in San José, Costa Rica

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Culture of Costa Rica

Costa Rican culture has been heavily influenced by Spanish culture ever since the Spanish colonization of the Americas including the territory which today forms Costa Rica. Parts of the country have other strong cultural influences, including the Caribbean province of Limón and the Cordillera de Talamanca which are influenced by Jamaican immigrants and indigenous native people, respectively.

Alajuela Province Province in Costa Rica

Alajuela is a province of Costa Rica. It is located in the north-central part of the country, bordering Nicaragua to the north. It also borders the provinces of Heredia to the east, San José to the south, Puntarenas to the southwest and Guanacaste to the west. As of 2011, the province had a population of 885,571. Alajuela is composed of 16 cantons, which are divided into 111 districts. It covers an area of 9,757.53 square kilometers.

University of Costa Rica public university in Costa Rica

The University of Costa Rica is a public university in the Republic of Costa Rica, in Central America. Its main campus, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, is located in San Pedro Montes de Oca, in the province of San José. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious institution of higher learning in Costa Rica, originally established as the Universidad de Santo Tomás in 1843. It is also the most important research university in the country, and Central America. Approximately 45,000 students attend UCR throughout the year.

Education in Colombia includes nursery school, elementary school, high school, technical instruction and university education.

Universidad de Ciencias Medicas (UCIMED) is a non profit medical school in San José, Costa Rica. The university is known for its medicine program and is recognized as one of the best medical schools in Central America.

INCAE Business School is an international business school located at the Francisco de Sola campus in Nicaragua and the Walter Kissling Gam campus in Costa Rica. The Financial Times has ranked INCAE as a top global MBA program and The Wall Street Journal has ranked INCAE Business School as one of the top 10 international business schools in the world.

Montes de Oca (canton) Canton in San José, Costa Rica

Montes de Oca is the 15th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 15.16 square kilometres (5.85 sq mi), and has a population of 54,288. The capital city of the canton is San Pedro.

Jorge Arroyo Costa Rican writer

Jorge Eduardo Arroyo-Pérez is a Costa Rican writer, playwright, opinion columnist, essayist, poet and theater director. He is currently Costa Rica's ambassador to UNESCO.

Education in Uruguay

Education in Uruguay is compulsory for a total of nine years, beginning at the primary level, and is free from the pre-primary through the university level. In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 111.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 92.9 percent. Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Uruguay as of 2001.

Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica, also known as UNEM or Business University of Costa Rica, is a private university in the city of San José, Costa Rica. It is approved by the Consejo Nacional de Enseñanza Superior Universitaria Privada, the national council of higher education of Costa Rica, to award undergraduate degrees in accounting and business administration, and master's degrees in business administration.

Paso Canoas Place in Puntarenas (CRI), Chiriquí (PAN), Costa Rica, Panama

Paso Canoas is an international city shared between Puntarenas Province in Costa Rica and Chiriquí Province in the west of Panama. The border between Costa Rica and Panama crosses Paso Canoas from north to south, with the result that the city is both Costa Rican and Panamanian.

María Teresa Obregón Zamora

María Teresa Obregón Zamora (1888-1956) was a teacher, suffragist and politician in Costa Rica. She was part of the group that formed the Asociación Nacional de Educadores (ANDE) and fought for women's enfranchisement. After winning the vote, she helped found the National Liberation Party of Costa Rica and was one of the first three women elected as a Deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica. In 2002, Obregón was honored as one of the inaugural group of women inducted into La Galería de las Mujeres de Costa Rica.

Academia Nacional de Ciencias (Costa Rica) Costarican national academy

The Academia Nacional de Ciencias is Costa Rica's Academy of Sciences. The ANC was created as a “permanent forum for discussion and scientific analysis,” and serves both as an honorific society as well as a source of scientific advice for the government. It has a mandate to promote scientific culture and progress within Costa Rica, and to foster collaboration between national and international agencies. The ANC maintains membership in international organizations such as the International Council for Science (ICSU), the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) and the Third World Network (TWN). The headquarters of the ANC are in San Pedro, in the province of San José.


  1. "Costa Rica 1949 (rev. 2011)". Constitute. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  2. "World data on Education, UNESCO-IBE(2010-11)" (PDF).
  3. "p54, Global competitiveness Report 2013-2014" (PDF).
  4. "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency".
  5. "UNESCO UIS" (PDF).
  6. Alonso. "Costa Rican Education System".
  7. "UNESCO-UNEVOC World TVET Database".
  8. "Education in Costa Rica".