Education: More Investment, Better Results?

Although Costa Rica invests almost 7% of GDP in education, spending efficiency is some of the worst when compared to other countries globally.

Friday, May 10, 2019

In its 2018 Annual Report, the Comptroller's Office of the Republic of Costa Rica carried out an analysis of the investment made by the State in public education versus the efficiency of spending, which is measured in the development of the skills of the student population.

In 2017, the Central Government of Costa Rica invested 7.4% of GDP in education, and between 2011 and 2016, granted 6.8% of GDP on average, a figure higher than that spent by countries such as Argentina (1.6%), Brazil (1.3%), Chile (4.3%) and in all of Latin America (3.8%) for the same period, according to the document.

To make the comparison, the institution used the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) model, which is an efficiency estimation technique based on straight-line programming. For this study, Costa Rica was compared to 56 other countries to verify the results of its investment.

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From the application of this model, an average efficiency score of 78.4% was obtained, which places Costa Rica as the third country with the lowest indices in technical efficiency of expenditure, surpassing only Colombia and Thailand.

One of the strongest conclusions of the study is that the average efficiency of the other countries in the panel was 92.2%, which places Costa Rica far from this average threshold.

The low efficiency of investment is associated with the capacities and constraints presented by the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) to exercise its leadership role as rector in the national education system.

The report explains that the MEP "... as an active administration has major shortcomings in planning, implementing, monitoring, supervising and evaluating the programs under its responsibility, which may be resulting in the quality and effectiveness of education provided in the country."

See "Progress in Implementing Dual Education"

In Costa Rica, progress has been achieved, although very slowly, in the implementation of changes in the education system, such as the dual education model, which although welcomed by the business sector, has not yet advanced the bill that will formalize it in educational institutions.

The last thing CentralAmericaData reported is that in March of this year businessmen and authorities signed a protocol that defines concrete actions to implement and promote dual education in the country.

See full study.

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