24 November 2012

Macaws

Nov 20, 2012

Snapped these two in the tree. As I was trying to focus on them, a local helpfully explained to me that these macaws mate for life and are therefore always seen in pairs. My first reaction was “Mate for life?? First, respect the stamina! 🙂 Second, don’t even bother applying for a CIA position” 🙂 🙂

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24 November 2012

5K run

Nov 20, 2012

5K run. That would be the 11th country I put in a 5K run after US, Canada, India, Spain, Portugal, Germany, England, Peru, Chile and Argentina. I had to stop twice – partially due to the heat, humidity and hills. And partially because I have never seen so many colorful birds in one run….

24 November 2012

Costa Rica education system

Nov 20, 2012

Both the girls are down with stomach virus. That was a great opportunity to meet a lot of locals – while running or just making friends with the resort staff. Today I was focused on learning about the education system. Again, fascinating….
There are 50 universities! For a country of 4.3 million, that sounds like a lot. However, most of my questions were around K-12.
1. Education is mandatory for

 every child. The country today has seven schools with one student and one teacher!!! If any family is way out in remote areas, the govt will open a temporary school. Even if with one teacher. Talk about “No child left behind”. Got an interesting perspective from such a teacher. She explained her life not just as a teacher – but for those 8 hours she also has to be the classmate – since the child has nobody else to play with! Wow!!
2. To not differentiate between rich and poor, uniforms are mandatory. Private or public school.
3. Usually, there are two shifts. (My mom in India use to work in shifts in school, now I remember). I saw quite a few kids trudging along the road after first shift yesterday.
4. Everybody has to learn two foreign languages. Nobody knows why French is one of them for the first three high school years. Everybody agreed it is of no use!! New language introduced in syllabus – Mandarin Chinese!!
5. There are more teachers than policemen!!
6. Saw a few of the schools on the trip. Definitely nowhere close to the facilities that the US schools enjoy – but I give them full points for trying with limited money that they have.
7. While there is a fixed school calendar – in high school, you can earn your in-year credits faster by studying hard. Then you get some time off (shorter year) that you can use to learn new things or go for vocational training. (Cannot stay at home though!!! )
Rahul Guha, it seems the literacy rate is between 95-97%.