1.1 The Educational Law.
Costa Rica has had a long tradition of supporting education. By 1869, mandatory primary education was decreed by the government and the cost of the education to be covered by the State. The Ministry of Public Education (MEP - Ministerio de Educación Pública) is charged with the administration of the Costa Rica educational system. It oversees the public educational system and licenses private educational systems. English is conceived of as a linguistic and cultural tool for communication, which allows the learner to complement his/her whole education. His/her knowledge of English contributes to the social, economical and technological development. It also allows the learner to apply techniques to understand and produce appropriate oral and written messages. In the end, the learner will apply his/her knowledge of English to accept and adapt him/her self to constant changes confidently. (M.E.P 2005)
1.2 The Educational Policy “Toward the 21st Century”.
In 1994 one reviewed the vision and foundations of the Costa Rican education, in order to adapt the course of the national educative system to satisfy the emergent, own educative demands of the society globalize of beginnings of the decade of 1990, governed by the knowledge and the information. That project denominated Educative Policy towards the 21st century and constitutes the philosophical, pedagogical and administrative frame of the Costa Rican education.
1.2.1 Implementation of the Educational Policy in the English National Syllabus.
The Educational Policy "Towards the 21st Century" will give learners the opportunity to express how much they care about their country, which is characterized by its democratic environment, cultural diversity, its great respect for law, nature and pacifism. This policy allows Costa Rican people to become positive leaders and critical thinkers through activities which promote a democratic environment. This environment should be based on liberty to help develop Costa Ricans own identity and authentic growth as independent and interdependent learners. Some of the basic principles of the policy are stated as follows:
1. Individuals should be able to develop personally and should seek opportunities to contribute to the development of their country, while fulfilling themselves and finding their own happiness. They should be able to interact with other peoples and cultures to solve problems and produce benefits for their country. They should respect their own values and those of other people. 2.Education should promote the broadening of understanding by providing challenging classroom situations and opportunities for self-growth. Individuals should "learn how to learn". 3.Social and economic gaps should be closed by providing individuals with possibilities of social improvement in order to integrate them into every-day problem-solving situations. The goal should be to promote a self-sufficient society. 4.Achieving sustainability in production and the economic in general represents a challenge for education. The country needs more qualified people in order to increase productivity and improve the spirit of competitiveness. Furthermore, there is a need to integrate the country more effectively into the global economy. 5.The information or the content the learners handle should be up-to-date and should be relevant to global development in the 21st century. 6.Education should aim to solidly reinforce values and attitudes. This is a moral imperative.
English, in common with other subjects in the Costa Rican curriculum, must provide the learner with the opportunity to develop awareness of the urgent need for the balanced development of our environment, our human resources, and also the socio-political and the economy and means of production. This balance is essential to ensure the success of the new era of sustainable development....