Costa Rica is confronting an education crisis that is “the worst in decades,” according to the latest investigation 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,” the report reads.
“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.”
The report cites “significant interruptions” that have created a “sharp cut” in learning that the authors called “an educational blackout.”
Standardized test results demonstrate educational deficiencies and reflect the inequalities between Costa Rica’s public system and private schools, which in many cases haven’t interrupted services.
Virtual and hybrid schooling “did not guarantee that students acquired quality learning,” State of the Nation said.
While the pandemic exacerbated issues, the report agues that educational shortfalls cannot be attributed entirely to Covid-19.
“The educational system at the preschool, basic and diversified levels had been showing inertial performances, without solving fundamental problems: an inadmissible evolution in light of the public investment that Costa Rica makes in this area,” State of the Nation says.
The authors recommended drafting an executing a national strategy to invest in better public education.
The Education Ministry has admitted to difficulties in the country’s transition to distance learning.
In March 2020, more than 1 million Costa Rican students were provided with an institutional email account in order to facilitate online lessons. As of August 2020, just 590,136 had completed account activation in order to use the online platform.
Additionally, data provided by school directors indicate 35% of students’ homes don’t have an internet connection.
UNESCO and ECLAC have warned that the coronavirus pandemic will exacerbate gaps in terms of educational access, equity and quality across Central America.