Special Education in Costa Rica
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Costa Rica has the strongest public education system in Central America. The 1869 constitution mandated a free, obligatory, and state supported educational system- making Costa Rica one of the first countries in the world to pass such legislation (Biesanz, Biesanz, & Biesanz, 1982; Creedman, 1991). Approximately 25% of the national budget is dedicated to education (United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization [UNESCO], 1997) and elementary schools can be found even in the most isolated regions of the country. Costa Rica is equally progressive in the area of special education. Recent educational initiatives have exponentially increased the number of students receiving special education in Costa Rica and the Ministry of Education is making a focused effort to coordinate these services. Undeniably progressive legislation now supports the rights of individuals with disabilities to work, receive public health services, and to be educated.