After the last Civil War held in 1948 and the consequent abolishment of the Armed forces, a great deal of the funds previously invested in military efforts was thus diverted towards education, and that has certainly made the costarican populace one of the best educated in the continent. Elementary and Secondary Education levels are free and mandatory, while the Universities are divided between the private held and government sponsored.
San Jose annually receives several international applicants particularly in the well developed University ambient and some institutions have gained worldwide acclaim due to their modern and conservationist approach towards environmental issues. The UCR (Universidad de Costa Rica) is the largest and most famous of all perhaps, situated in the popular eastern San Jose district of San Pedro; it hosts the largest number of faculties available in the country, it possesses the most respected degree issuance of the isthmus. A visit to the UCR campus is a must especially on early December as it features the Feria de las Artes (Arts Fair) where one can purchase at wonderful prices unique items manufactured by students.
The UNA (Universidad Nacional) and the Instituto Tecnolgico de Costa Rica (commonly known within the country simply as the TEC) stand also as the major state funded colleges that provide excellence in their diversified fields. One important mention is that of the renowned Universidad para la Paz (University for/of Peace) where an international conglomerate joins to study social and ecological matters.
Languages and the teaching of a wide range of tongues have also become a forte particularly in privately held education; this has permitted for a plurality in the conception of international affairs for many costarican youngsters. English is thus widely spoken; French, German and Italian follow thereafter.
The costs in private education have increased greatly in recent years, making some careers –specially the medicine related ones- too pricey for the average citizen; they still are not compared to the average price of tuition of countries such as the US.