Costa Rica Schools

Costa Ricans enjoy one of the highest literacy rates in the world: the country boasts 96% literacy in those 10 years old or over. Many of Costa Rica’s early founders, such as the first president Jose Castro, were former teachers concerned with education in Costa Rica. In 1869, the country became one of the first in the world to make education both free and obligatory. In those days, only one in ten Costa Ricans could read and write.

There are different options for a family moving in Costa Rica. The majority of expats will choose the private education over the public education, especially when their native language is English.

The last 20 years have seen a significant boosts to educational standards. Since the 1970’s, Costa Rica has invested more than 28% of the national budget on primary and secondary education. The Constitution mandates that public expenditure in state and higher education should not be less than 16% per annum of the gross domestic product. The Ministry of Public Education is in charge of awarding scholarships and assistance to those in need.

Elementary and High schools are found in every community. Elementary school has 6 year levels, and high school has 5 year levels.

There are private schools available in most areas of Costa Rica, especially those with a larger ExPat community.  If you are going to move here with school aged children please let us know and we will be happy to help you identify the schools in your community.

Although the country lacked a university until 1940, Costa Rica now has four state-funded universities and many smaller private universities whose number has increased dramatically in the last decade due to the difficulty of being admitted to state-funded universities. The government facilitates primary or secondary diplomas for adults who failed to complete their education as children.