Costa Rica faces its worst education crisis in decades

The pandemic has exacerbated cracks in Costa Rica’s public school system

When Costa Rica dissolved its military in 1948, the country redirected funds to improve public health and education. By most measures, that has been successful: Costa Rica now has a vaunted healthcare system and acclaimed educational model.

But the pandemic has exacerbated cracks in Costa Rica’s public school system, creating an education crisis that is “the worst in decades,” according to the latest investigative report from State of the Nation:

The Costa Rican educational system is going through a serious crisis due to the combined blow of historical lags and the economic and social effects generated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This latest event has revealed unresolved problems, as well as the deep tension between educational purposes and the rigidities of the system. The current educational crisis is the worst in decades.

Students in Costa Rica’s public system are producing “the worst results in a long time” due to an untimely combination: A lack of appropriate investment over decades, recent teachers’ strikes, and the pandemic, which is widening socioeconomic gaps.

Whereas many of Costa Rica’s private schools have remained open during the pandemic (and have the technology to provide quality virtual learning), the public system has suffered “significant interruptions” that have amounted to “an educational blackout.”

“This blackout compromises the development of vital competencies and skills for the progress of the country and of democracy,” the report reads.

The investigation recommended implementing “profound changes” to maximize Costa Rica’s investments in education, noting that the current public system is producing substandard results and is too bloated to adapt to the current challenges.

Click here to read the full report from Estado de la Nación.

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