Country: Costa Rica
City: San José
With an area of 19,730 square miles, Costa Rica is about four-fifths the size of West Virginia. Though Costa Rica lies within the tropics, the country’s geography produces wide climatic variations. The Caribbean Lowlands are hot and humid. Southern Costa Rica, the wettest part of the country, is home to about ten percent of the population. The rolling Guanacaste Plains comprise the northwest section of Costa Rica. The Highlands are the economic, political, and cultural heart of the country, and include the Central and Talamanca mountain ranges and the Meseta Central. The Meseta, with elevations ranging from 3,000 to 4,500 feet, and adjacent areas contain nearly two-thirds of Costa Rica’s population.
San José, the capital and largest city, is located in the Meseta Central area. The temperature in San José is generally pleasant, with two seasons distinguished mainly by the amount of rainfall. The dry season runs from December through April, and the wet season extends from May through November.
Host Institution: Ministry of Public Education
In Costa Rica, education has been free and mandatory since 1870. To provide sufficient resources to finance the ambitious national objective of guaranteeing universal access to quality education, the government is constitutionally required to allocate at least eight percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to educational programs annually.
Costa Rica’s literacy rate is one of the highest in Latin America. The Ministry of Education (MEP) has set up programs to guarantee literacy in computer sciences and in English. The MEP has four National English Teaching Advisors, two for the elementary level and two for the high school level. The national advisors head a group of 27 district-level Regional English Teaching Advisors. These regional advisors provide in-service training for teachers, assist in developing materials, and engage in ELT research projects. However, it is not possible for them to attend to the professional development needs of all teachers in the hundreds of schools in each district; so the needs of some teachers are not adequately addressed.
- The Fellow will work with MEP officials to direct and administer programs and initiatives related to implementing the recently approved public school English language curriculum that was developed in close coordination with the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Office and the Peace Corps
- The Fellow will work with an in-country English Language Specialist to deliver and implement pilot training for the MEP’s national and regional English language advisors and for public school teachers
- The Fellow will work with MEP officials to continue developing necessary training manuals, reference libraries, multimedia aids, and other educational support materials
- The Fellow will integrate other U.S. Government-sponsored English language practitioners (Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs), Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs), Fulbright Scholars, etc.) into the curriculum implementation and training plan
- In conjunction with U.S. Embassy representatives, the Fellow will continue developing partnerships with other English language teaching and learning stakeholders
- Visit English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) sites to assist with language learning and culture-related activities
- Provide ELT workshops for Fulbright ETAs