WWe believe that one of the main reasons Costa Rica is called the Switzerland of Central America is its educational system. Compulsory education exists since 1843. Costa Rica's high education levels - besides the absence of a military - are probably what make it the most politically stable country in Latin America.
About 20% of the national budget goes toward education. With the highest literacy rate in Latin America (95.2% of the population aged 10 and over according to a census in 2000) and compulsory education going through ninth grade (age 14), the education system appears to be in good shape. Appearances can be deceptive, however, and there are certainly problems that don't show up in the official picture.
A Ministry of Public Education study, reported in the Costa Rican press in mid-1996, indicates that there are six times more dropouts from secondary school than there are students in the ninth grade - the final year of legally mandated study. This is blamed on various factors, including the need for conveniently located secondary schools, lack of student interest, lack of encouragement from parents, and the desire to enter the work force.
Pictures by Jörn Malek. The team of 1-CostaRicaLink and Costa-Rica-Information-Mobile wishes you the best of times in our little paradise called Costa Rica.
Text by Lonely Planet.
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