Dual Education to Reduce Unemployment

In the Central American region, the average unemployment rate for those aged between 15 and 24 is estimated to be around 11%, with lack of work experience being the main barrier to accessing the first job.

Friday, December 14, 2018

According to figures from the Central American Observatory of Social Development, Costa Rica and Panama are the countries in the region with the highest rates of youth unemployment, with 27% and 15%, respectively. Followed by Honduras, with a rate of 12%, El Salvador and Nicaragua, with 8% each, and Guatemala, with 5%.

In Costa Rica, the business sector has insisted for many years on the need to make more flexible the conditions for hiring young people for certain jobs, in compensation schemes and flexible hours, for them to continue studying and at the same time be trained in the company.

Finally, a law that could begin to solve part of the problem reached the Congress. The law, called Dual Education in Costa Rica, has already received the unanimous opinion of the Science and Technology Commission, but its discussion is pending in the Congress.

See "Dual Education: Yes We Can" and "Costa Rica: A First Step Towards Dual Education"

The proposed law that seeks to modify educational programs so that students combine theoretical classes with assisted professional practices in private companies and public institutions, is one of the government's priorities for next year.

On the matter, Gonzalo Delgado, president of the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private Business Sector (UCCAEP) said to Nacion.com that "... Dual education and training should be part of a bigger set of public policy measures to ensure quality education, job training for young people and a successful transition into the workforce."

The proposal is already supported by the business sector, since according to a survey conducted by UCCAEP, 72 of every 100 private companies are interested in supporting this educational program.

The law establishes that young people who could access the dual education system would be students from technical colleges, community institutes and universities, as well as from the National Learning Institute (INA), but who have at least an approved elementary school.

Nacion.com details that other requirements to apply is that "... Must be at least 15 years old, except when the occupational risks of the career require that the students are of legal age. All interested parties must pay a mandatory student insurance, which would range between ₡5.500 ($9) and ₡19.000 ($32) per month. In addition, they would have to complete requirements agreed between educational center and company that trains talent."

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More on this topic

Dual Education: A Triumph in Costa Rica

August 2019

For the business sector, the approval in the second debate of the draft law on dual technical education and training will make it possible to combat the worrying rise in unemployment and ensure the training of a greater number of technicians in strategic areas.

The Legislative Assembly reported on the afternoon of August 12 that with the affirmative vote of 49 deputies, the second debate was given to file N°20.786, Law of dual technical education and training, thus opening the possibility for students to perform work experience in companies and continue their studies in technical training centers.

Labor Market: Companies vs. Government

February 2019

The greater interest in studying social sciences and the lesser inclination for training in technical or scientific areas may be partly because of the preference of professionals for employment in a government institution rather than in the private sector.

According to data from the National Council of Rectors (Conare), between 2006 and 2016, in Costa Rica the careers in the area of Social Sciences registered the highest growth according to the proportion of graduates, going from 36.2% to 45.5% of the total number of students.

The Wrong Recipe Against Unemployment

November 2017

In Costa Rica a law iniatiative pretends to force companies to have 25% of their workforce composed by young people aged between 17 and 24 years old.


The problem of unemployment that affects thousands of young people in Costa Rica and the Central American countries will not be solved simply by forcing private companies to hire a certain proportion of young employees, regardless of their qualifications and skills, or even worse, without considering whether there is an actual need for hiring or not.

A Big YES to Dual Education From Businesses

July 2016

Seven out of ten entrepreneurs in Costa Rica would be willing to implement training programs for young people in the academic-work placement format.

A statement from the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of Private Enterprises (UCCAEP) notes that   "... 72% of employers would be interested in launching training programs under the dual mode and 83% said they already have accepted into their businesses students or trainees for internships or professional work experience."

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