San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica’s English Teachers Are Speaking Better English

An Education Ministry program to improve English proficiency levels among the country’s English teachers seems to be paying off, with 95 percent of them now speaking at an intermediate level or higher, according to a recent study by the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center.

Two years ago, 34 percent of Costa Rica’s English teachers barely made it past a beginner level, with classes often taught in by teachers not up to par.

In response, the Education Ministry launched a program through four public universities to improve written and oral communication, with the goal that all teachers reach an intermediate level (B-1) or higher.

The initial study, which was conducted by the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center with the help of the CRUSA Foundation, found that 1,200 out of 3,200 evaluated teachers tested at elementary (A-2) or beginner (A-1) levels, which are “insufficient to teach the language.”

After a ₡300 million ($600,000) investment in the program, 84 percent of the teachers tested at the intermediate level, with only 5 percent testing in elementary levels.

In the coming year, Education Minister Leonardo Garnier plans to launch the second phase of the program, targeting teachers scoring at the intermediate level, with a ₡500 million ($1 million) investment.

  2008   2010
A1 10 1% 0 0%
A2 330 35% 48 5%
B1 600 63% 492 51%
B2 6 0.63% 300 32%
C1 3 0.3% 109 11%
TOTAL 949   949  

SOURCE: Education Ministry

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