QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica students are back to school today, the start to the 2016 school year that runs to December.

One of the major challenges for the Ministry of Education – Ministerio de Educación Pública (MEP) – for 2016 is to reduce dropout.

“The expulsion or dropout is one of the major educational challenges of the country, although there are slight indications of progress,” says a report a MEP education committee of the education system and statistical analysis that says some 32,113 schoolchildren left the classroom in 2014.

For Sonia Marta Mora, Minister of Education, “Yo me apunto” is the main strategy to address to reduce the number of dropouts, working directly with 190 schools with high incidences of attrition.

To that end, the Minister is asking school administrators to report on the number of dropouts last year and how their going to handle the problem this year.

The MEP is also is looking to use the scholarship programs for students announced Monday, along with help from the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, the IMAS (the government agency that operates the duty free stores at the airports, among other things) to keep children in school.

The IMAS and MEP will make available ¢5.715 billion colones to the program.

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