Government seeks tighter grip on private education

The education ministry wants to tighten its control over the 53 private universities that operate in the country.

Sonia Marta Mora Escalante, minister of  Educación Pública, said Tuesday that the government will propose reforms in order to improve the quality of education.

First, the proposal is being submitted to public comment from April 6 to 10.

The Consejo Superior de Educación Privada is the government entity that supervises private higher education. The Consejo Nacional de Rectores approves courses of study.

There are about 1,200 courses of study or academic majors in the country now at private institutions.

The proposal will allow the Consejo Superior to set standards of quality for those studying education, health and civil engineering. Unclear was if the health  category included medical and nursing majors.

Universities also would be required to update their programs every five years.

The proposal also lays out duties and rights of students involving infrastructure and academic conditions. The proposal also says that the course of study could not be changed during the student’s time at the institution and that they would have to receive notifications of changes in fees and tuition.

Academic institutions also would have to remain paid up with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

Although not mentioned by the education ministry announcement, the Consejo Superior is seeking the right to oversee tuition charges.

Those going to private institutions are likely to be charged an additional 15 percent on their tuition when the government’s new value-added tax goes into effect.

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