5 Opportunities for Improvement inCosta Rican Education this 2024

    Specialists mention that the country's education is in a moment of extreme gravity and vulnerability

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    As part of its seventh report, the Education Observatory of the American University (UAM) carried out an analysis to determine the challenges that Costa Rican education will face in the period that begins. The study was born from the manifesto of the State of the Nation Program, published in August of the previous year, which explained that Costa Rican education is in “a moment of extreme gravity and vulnerability […]. If we do not act urgently, a path of regression towards lower quality education and exclusive access for large segments of the population will continue to unfold.”

    For experts, it is essential to identify opportunities for improvement in Costa Rican education for the current year, since this establishes the direction to follow. Therefore, after a detailed analysis, the five most appropriate areas are presented:

    Learning loss:

    One of the main challenges is linked to the loss of learning that the educational blackout left in its wake. The most obvious lag is in the area of ​​reading and writing. To this end, the UAM study recommends implementing recovery and academic leveling programs focused on reading, writing, critical analysis, calculation, etc.

    Macro evaluation:

    The analysis mentions that, since the Eighth State of Education Report (PEN, 2021), it was noted that the measures implemented by the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) after the educational blackout – “I learn at home” and “Regresar” – did not were sufficient to provide educational quality. In this sense, they advise establishing a comprehensive macro-evaluation system that not only evaluates learning, but also uses the results to promote significant improvements in education, in areas such as National Standardized Tests, linguistic proficiency tests, computing, infrastructure and educational investment.

    Teacher training:

    The study mentions that, despite the importance of teacher training to ensure quality in education, a deterioration in training opportunities for teachers has been observed. For example, there has been a marked decrease in funding allocated for this purpose, as it went from 4,112 million in 2019 to 551.3 million in 2023. In this sense, it is recommended to improve the continuous training of teachers with relevant, accessible and viable to ensure high quality education.

    Suitability tests:

    On August 12, 2020, Law 9871, Civil Service Statute Reform, came into force, through which it was established as a requirement to enter the teaching career “Pass the suitability exam established for this purpose by the Ministry of Public Education ( MEP), in coordination with the General Directorate of Civil Service.” However, it is mentioned that, to date, said exam has not been carried out nor are aspects related to the passing grade, the conditions, the methodology for applying it, among other aspects, known.

    According to the analysis, it is of utmost importance for the improvement of the Costa Rican educational system to apply exams based on national standards (such as the National Qualifications Framework for Education Careers), job competencies and soft skills, in order to ensure the hiring of teachers. qualified and improve the quality of the educational system.

    Women in STEM fields:

    The study mentions that current policies aimed at promoting inclusion have not been sufficient, progress has been slow and disciplines continue to be dominated by men. For this reason, they advise reinforcing strategies to increase the presence of women in STEM areas and try to close the gender gap in higher education.

    “2024 is a decisive year for Costa Rican education, concrete actions must be taken. This report highlights the urgent need for collective and individual action to confront these challenges in Costa Rican education. This situation demands an immediate response andcommitment of all actors involved in the educational system, including educators, politicians, parents, students and citizens in general, who must collaborate to overcome these obstacles through innovation and political will,” explained Margarita Chaves, Coordinator of the Education Observatory.

    In relation to the challenges, the Academic Vice Ministry of the MEP outlined, with a letter, signed by Andrea Méndez Calderón, Head of Office, that with the purpose of guaranteeing inclusive and equitable quality education, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all ( aspect established by Enel SDG 4 of the 2030 Agenda), actions have been articulated for the promotion of human rights, peace, the responsible exercise of local and global citizenship, gender equality, sustainable development and health.

    Furthermore, this letter mentions that there are other challenges – which are already being addressed – such as: the prevention of violence in educational centers, the application of national tests as a thermometer of the situation of education, the reevaluation of programs study within the framework of Revolution 4.0, bilingualism and the incorporation of technology as a pillar in the profile of citizenship.

    This report highlights the importance of individual commitment in improving education. Each person, in their own environment, has the capacity to contribute significantly to strengthening the educational system.

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