Initial Preparation of Teachers Elementary and Secondary Preparation
The Case of Elementary Education
In Costa Rica, teachers for the first two cycles of Basic General Education teach various subjects to the same group of students. Generally, in Cycle I they teach four basic subjects (Mathematics, Spanish, Science and Social Studies). In Cycle II some only teach two of those four subjects if the school has enough teachers.
There is a great diversity of programs and university centers offering programs in Costa Rica. For most of them all that is required for admissions is an Upper Secondary Diploma. The UNA and the UCR do require a certain score on the admissions examination.
The Case of Secondary Education
At present the panorama is very complex because of the great number of graduates, mainly from private universities. The Mathematics teaching programs at those institutions do not receive evaluations of quality standards that are offered by the National System of Accreditation of Higher Education. Also, the National Council of Private Higher Education (that is charged with approving and supervising the private universities) does not have efficient mechanisms to guarantee program quality.
At the end of 2012, four public universities and seven private universities had approved programs for initial preparation in the area of Mathematics Teaching.
UCR has had Mathematics programs since 1959. Currently the program offers both a Bachelor’s Degrees (four years) and Licentiate Degrees (five years) with a lateral exit possible so that students can get a three-year Teaching degree (profe- sorado) in Mathematics Teaching. UNA offers the same three degree programs.
UNED has been offering Mathematics programs since 1992. Currently, a Teaching degree and a Bachelor’s Degree are offered in Mathematics Teaching. Beginning in 2014, they are also offering a Licentiate Degree. TEC has had a Mathematics program since 1996 called Computer-Assisted Mathematics Teaching. It offers Bachelor’s and Licentiate Degrees, but not the three-year Teaching degree.