By Claire Wallerstein
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Extra resources for CultureShock! Costa Rica: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette
Public school teachers are badly paid, so the best ones end up in the private schools. As most politicians send their own children to private schools, education has become less and less important in the national budget. While the level of education in Costa Rica is clearly high for the region, and one of the reasons why the country is so popular with foreign business investors, it seems that a good education is increasingly becoming an issue of wealth. 36 CultureShock! Costa Rica Reluctant Literacy So, despite the much-trumpeted statistics, it is not a shock to learn that Ticos are not big readers.
Figures from the Ministry of Economy show that by 1998, more than 15 per cent of children aged between 5–17 were already working, 39 per cent of them for 57 hours a week (21 hours more than the legal maximum). 6 per cent of the minimum wage. Despite efforts to provide a standard level of nationwide education, many rural schools are poorly equipped. Most teachers would rather work in the cities than farﬂung rural backwaters, increasing still further the gulf between education standards in urban and rural areas.
Both coasts are hot, and are home to steamy banana and African palm plantations (excluding the Guanacaste part of the Paciﬁc coast). While the Paciﬁc side has a distinct dry season, the Caribbean coast is rainy all year round, and blanketed in a profusion of wild greenery. There’s no escaping the fact that Costa Rica (again, except Guanacaste) is a very wet country. 5 m (25 ft) of rain a year. ” Like Eskimos with their 57 words for snow, Ticos have up to a dozen terms for rain—from drizzly pelo de gato (literally ‘cat’s fur’) to a baldazo or aguacero (downpour), and a temporal (heavy rain falling without let-up over several days during the rainy season).
CultureShock! Costa Rica: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette by Claire Wallerstein