9: Balancing Global Education Policy and Inclusive Education in Costa Rica: Capitalist Pressures, Social-Democratic Tendencies, and Technological Responses

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This chapter focuses on the dynamic but often conflicting global forces and local responses in the field of education reform. Global economic forces drove certain aspects of the case of Costa Rica. For instance, pressure from multinational corporations induced the Costa Rican government to change its national curriculum. These corporations needed more skilled labour to continue their operations in Costa Rica and called on the government to modernize its education system to meet the needs of capitalist development. In 2015 the Public Education Ministry (Ministerio de Educación Publica [MEP]) implemented education reforms containing a new curriculum to retain technology companies and satisfy capitalist development. With Costa Rica being a hybrid social-democratic, capitalist system, the MEP had to find a way to blend the concepts and practices that underlie the traditional Costa Rican vision with that of the foreign investors. This blending undermined the legitimacy of the reform effort and threatened to exacerbate gaps in student learning across the country. In response, the MEP turned to international guidelines for planetary citizenship to inform their inclusive education efforts and developed the Tecno@prender programme to ensure students in socioeconomically vulnerable zones had full access to technology.

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