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Costa Rica

Educational System—overview

The 1869 constitution made education free, mandatory, and tax supported. Costa Rica was one of the first nations in the world to make this provision. The education system of Costa Rica is similar to systems in other parts of Latin America. Typically, preschool consists of two years; primary school, six years; secondary school, five or six years. The academic year begins on the first Monday in March and concludes on the last Saturday in November. Classes meet six days a week for a total of 36 weeks or 210 days of instruction, and Spanish is the language of instruction.

Dr. Angel Calderon Guardia, an education reformer, was president of Costa Rica in 1940 when the University of Costa Rica was created under Law number 362. The constitution of 1949 had 13 sections pertaining to Education, including that a primary education of six years is mandatory, both primary and secondary education is free and funded by the government, and university education is supported by scholarships for needy students. The constitution also mandates that the government is responsible for providing needy students at all levels in the education system with food and clothing. The government is also mandated to provide adult education in order to eliminate illiteracy.

The Universidad Nacional was created by the General Assembly in January 1973 through the issuance of plan 5182 during the administration of President Jose Figueres Ferrer. This law mandated that the Escuela Normal de Costa Rica and the Escuela Normal Superior merge to form a new university.


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Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceCosta Rica - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education