Costa Rica passes a law on dual vocational education and training

Costa Rica takes a further important step towards dual vocational education and training. Late on the evening of Monday 12 August 2019, the Costa Rican Parliament passed a draft law on dual vocational education and training that had been supported by President Carlos Alvarado. The act was adopted on its second reading and enjoyed a clear majority of 49 votes to 2. Costa Rica has thus created the foundations that will enable dual VET to become a part of its national education system.

Costa Rica passes a law on dual vocational education and training

Initially, there had not been good signs for the proponents of dual vocational education and training. Over the previous weeks and months, the draft law had caused the opposition and government to lock horns as the country headed towards a general strike. This paralysed large parts of the school system and ultimately resulted in the surprise resignation of Minister of Education Edgar Mora Altamirano, who had been particularly committed to the introduction of dual vocational education and training. The fact that members of parliament finally gave their consent to the bill by 49 votes to only 2 against came as even more of a surprise.

The passing of the draft law also represents a success for the German one-stop international VET cooperation. The German Embassy, the German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training (GOVET) and other German stakeholders had all acted as important consultants to the Costa Rican Government and the social partners during many years of debate centring on the introduction of dual training in the country.

As recently as March this year, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) had invited Edgar Mora Altamirano, who was Minister of Education at the time, to undertake a week-long study tour in Germany together with Minister of Labour Steven Núñez Rímola and further high ranking representatives of the Costa Rican (vocational) education system. This trip was organised by GOVET as part of the bilateral cooperation between the BMBF and Costa Rica. A visit to the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) provided an excellent opportunity to thoroughly examine the firm legal and institutional foundations which dual VET enjoys in Germany. During the specialist discussions that took place, Edgar Mora Altamirano emphasised the value of the ideas that he and his delegation would be taking home with them. (Read a report on the BIBB website)

The hopes described at the time have now become a reality in Costa Rica with effect from Tuesday morning. The law will enter into force once signed by the President and is expected to take effect from the school year 2019/2020. GOVET will continue to act as a major partner to the Costa Rican Ministry of Education and to Altamiranos’ successor, the new Minster of Education Guiselle Cruz.