Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
Daryl Ries of Keller Williams Panama, associate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
While I cannot speak to the quality of the schools in all of Panama, I can speak to the quality of schools where I live, in Coronado, Panama.  There are excellent schools within a 30-minute radius in the district of Coronado.
 
The newest addition is the Coronado International School, which is just off the InterAmerican Highway and closest to the Playa Coronado community. It was established by Group Coronado to provide the best curriculum in English for incoming families from US, Canada, Latin and European countries.  Certainly it has become a major feature of Coronado to meet the new demands of many families settling here.
 
The Panama Coast International School (established in 2008 by an American-certified teacher) is located in a residential community nearby Coronado called Gorgona.  This school has a very fine reputation as an American School, with its schedule and curriculum aligned with the system in the United States and fully accredited, so that students from Panama Coast International School can go on to universities in the United States. The house that accommodates the school creates an educational ambiance that tends to all levels, from elementary through grade 12, with a fully accredited staff.
 
Five Stars Academy is located in the town of San Carlos, on the northwest end of the district of Coronado, Panama, and is attended mostly by students from this area, which is growing, as is all of the Coronado area, by leaps and bounds.
 
From Coronado, there are many other private schools closer to and in Panama City that have achieved high ratings, like King's School and Boston School, to name the top-rated.  There is also Howard Academy in the suburban area of Panama Pacifico at the former Howard air base and the International School of Panama near the City of Knowledge.
Kathya de Chong of Alto Boquete Condominios – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Girl batter in Panama Princess League, in Boquete – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPanama has plenty academic options for their residents to decide.  Either if your are looking for international schools or similar culture facilities, you will be able to explore multiple choices according to your budget and residential area.
 
I especially prefer schools where there are multicultural activities so my children are able to share and learn from others countries' culture.  Academic orientation is also a difference you may find according to each schools specialty. There will be schools where kids are more motivated to explore science, technical, commercial or sports skills and thus in the future they can decide which is of their interest.
 
(Pictured: girl batting in Panama Princess League, in Boquete.)
John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The Gilbert kids and friends with their craft projects, pictured – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe have done ministries in the public schools in Panama where the schools have welcomed us in with open arms. We’ve also experienced the non-educational aspects of the public-school systems here in Panama. 
 
The children in Panama usually wear a uniform, and they mostly seem happy and well-adjusted. The teachers at schools seem professional, and schools generally have good facilities that are very similar from school to school. Panama has done a good job trying to improve their educational system here in their country. 
 
There are private schools here in Panama as well. There are far more opportunities for a private school experience in Panama City than there is in the rest of the country. In Panama City, there’s an International School which has an influx of the very affluent children from all over the world who get a very high level of education alongside very well-heeled people and those who will be movers and shakers of Central and South America moving forward. 
 
That experience in Panama City just can’t be duplicated here where we live in the smaller area of Volcan, in Chiriquí Province, but even here out west, we have the AIB School, a bilingual international school in Boquete that has a mixture between Panamanian and international students. 
 
People here have homeschool options, like the Elevate School in Boquete, where they teach the ACE Curriculum, a homeschooling program known to most homeschooling families in the United States. The Elevate School in Boquete uses the ACE Curriculum in teaching and supervise the individual student’s learning achievements and goals along with the parents. That’s a very good option for people coming from abroad to Boquete. The Elevate School is Boquete has a quite extensive waiting list, so it’s been hard for people to get into that program lately, also because they’re so successful.
 
(The Gilbert kids and friends with their craft projects, pictured,)
David Btesh of Pacific Realty / Pacific Developers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Library of the University of Florida campus in The Republic of Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe private schools in Panama are always upgrading- they’re always looking for new teachers. They bring in teachers with a high efficiency rate of teaching and have a lot of new techniques.
 
The non-private schools are run by the government. The students use their uniforms, are given their books, and the school is much, much cheaper. 
 
The students play a lot of sports in all the schools. They also have a lot of shows in the schools, and art classes. They have a lot of things in the schools to keep the students busy. For example, they have the end-of-the-year-show, the Mother’s Day and the Father’s Day show, and all of the other shows.
 
My grandkids go to private school, and their schedule is really heavy, because they spend more than 8 hours at school, and then they’re given homework, so they have another 2 hours to study. Then they have plays that they have to practice for. They also have sports, get-togethers on Sundays, and science activities. They’re really busy. They keep them busy and out of trouble. 
 
These kids get into the best schools. For example, I was educated in Panama and I went to Georgia Tech. Lots of them go back to Georgia Tech and Wharton School of Business. They get into the medical schools, and then they take their doctor’s degree in a place with a good reputation.
 
(Library of the University of Florida campus in near the Panama Canal, Panama, pictured.)
 
Jennifer Moloney Jones of The Visitor – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
schools in Panama COLEGIO_JOSE_GUARDIA_VEGA_ – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI have a lot of friends whose kids who are of school age. There are both public and private schools in Panama, but my knowledge is limited to the private schools because that is where most expats tend to send their children.
 
There are several international schools here in the city of Panama. We have Chinese schools, French schools, a couple of English schools, and American schools. Various systems of schooling are practiced in Panama, from the British to the American systems of education and more. There are schools literally from all over the world here. They are all of a very high standard and all seem to rank quite highly. There is an international school here from which a lot of its students tend to do very well when they go to universities after they finish. Florida State and Louisiana also have branches here in Panama City. Overall, the schools here in Panama are good and you could find the type of education you seek.
 
Outside of Panama City, David, which is the provincial capital of Chiriquí, also has an international school and I believe that Boquete is beginning to grow one, as well. Right now, they only have the lower levels, but they start opening new levels every year. However, I do not know of any other such schools in the interior.
Michael A. Martinez of B & B Real Estate Nicaragua / Panama Real Estate Information – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Balboa High School in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe were initially in Santiago, Veraguas, and out there we had a choice of about eight private schools, aside from the public schools. Some of the private schools are international schools that are franchised around the world.
 
This year, our family is living in the Western Azuero, so right now the options are only public schools, but we are  also starting to build this community, so we have reached out to a couple of retired teachers to come to the schools and tutor the kids in English. It is kind of a volunteer program. We ask kids to join and we ask developers to chip in. The retired teachers come to the schools during the week after school and give classes to give the kids there the extra edge they need.
 
All over Panama, there are a lot of options for schools. There are several private universities and there are quite a few options for kids going to junior college or community college and special universities. They are all over the place. But, when you get out into the smaller communities here in Western Azuero, we really have a few options for school. We have one high school. There is a couple of elementary schools and maybe two junior high schools in this area.
 
Escuela Normal in Santiago Veraguas Azuero Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI do not think the quality of the teaching is the same quality as the schools in the US, but it has been a long time since I have been to school, and we know that the quality of education in the US is diminishing quite fast. A lot of the schools here have the internet and the students work on computers. Some of them, although they are not 100% funded, keep their English classes. Each grade is asked to have an English class. The newly-elected president has mandated that all schools must teach Spanish with English.
 
Here in Western Azuero, we are looking right now towards building our own volunteer- assisted program at the public school with our retired teachers from North America. We are already looking at our first elementary school. All my kids will be going to that school.
 
I have met families that lived in and out of here for some time, and most of those American and European kids were home-taught. Quite a few expats who are traveling and living from place to place homeschool their kids. We sometimes see homeschooled kids go into the public schools for a semester. If you go to Western Azuero, you will find a place where your kids will learn, and your kids will learn a second language and that will be sufficient. That is our objective here in Western Azuero because we are a brand new community of expats here. Up until now, this area had mostly been cattle farms and fishing villages.
Lucia Haines of Panama Realtor Inc. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In Panama, whoever has the means to send their kids to a private school does so, as parents want the best for their children. The public schools here in Panama have come a long way, but they still have a long way to go. 
 
There is a huge mix of private schools in Panama.  There are some on US calendars, there are some on local calendars, there are some with British English curriculums, Canadian curriculums, French curriculums, and US curriculums. There is a huge spectrum.
 
Most of the international schools in Panama are located in what we call “The Reverted Areas,” which is defined as the five mile zone next to the Panama Canal or near Panama City, but as Panama grows and the expat community grows as well, we are starting to get international schools in places like Coronado, Santiago, and David; international schools are really flourishing in Panama.
Rafael Alvarado of Rafael Alvarado / Attorney / Real Estate Broker – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
There are foreign nationals all over Albrook and Fort Clayton who have their children enrolled in the schools here. There are about four or five schools here in the Albrook and the Fort Clayton area. The private schools are bilingual. I do not recommend the public schools in Panama because the public schools here are not in any way like the US. Some of the private schools are religious and some are not. The religious schools are nonsectarian, so even if your family is not the same religion as the school’s, you can still enroll your kids there.
 
Education in the private schools is of the best quality. Private schools here are a lot better than the public schools in the US. I can say that because my wife, Cinthya used to work for a public school in North Carolina 15 years ago.
 
My kids’ schools fees are as follows: the one-time fee upon enrollment ranges between US $500 and $700 for each child. The monthly fee is around $200 for each child for 10 months.
Bob Gugel of Origen Real Estate Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The public school system in Panama does not have a very good reputation here. From what I have seen and understand, most schools have double sessions and some even have triple sessions. Children are already used to start school at 6 AM and end at 11 AM and the next session, which is a different batch of students, starts at 12 noon and ends at 5 PM, or something similar to that. From what I understand, the teachers are not very well paid. There are some good public schools but there are not too many.
 
Most middle and upper class Panamanians send their children to private schools, which are very good. Most expats send their kids to private schools. One school I know has the International Baccalaureate program for their high school students. Private schools are mostly English speaking or bilingual,  so if you meet a young Panamanian who went to an English-speaking school from kindergarten to the higher levels, when he or she speaks English, you would not hear any accent at all. Their parents might have an accent but they don’t. The football team that I coach, I coach in English. Some of the players speak English quite well and others speak it fairly well, which is good because it is easy for me to coach them. They get good education in the private schools here in Panama.
 
There are also American schools and British schools that have their own school systems and schedules. There is a British school in the Balboa area. The Oxford school is in the middle of Panama City. You will see an international school on the east side and the more upscale area of the city. If you go to Fort Clayton, which is in the Old Canal Zone, you will find the Balboa Academy and I think there is another international school there.
 
The good private schools are now extending up to the Pacific beach areas to the west of Panama City. There are at least two schools in the Coronado area. In Panama Pacifico, which is the new master planned community across the Panama Canal, across the bridge, you will find the new Panama Pacifico Academy. 
Roberto Diaz of United Country Panama Coastal Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Schools in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe schools in Panama are incredibly varied depending where in Panama you choose to live.  I grew up in Panama City and attended 3 different schools there.  My first school was a Jewish school named Albert Einstein Institute which still offers a highly coveted education and remains one of the best schools in Panama.  After one year learning Hebrew, I guess my parents thought it might be better for me to learn English and they sent my little gentile behind to the Episcopalian School of Panama in El Carmen, Panama City.  I spent six years there and then my mother moved me to New Orleans, Louisiana.  In Panama, I was an average student, but the schools in the US where so easy that I immediately became a top student despite the fact that I was not a native English speaker.  After a few years in the US, I came back to Panama and I studied at Curundu Jr. High School in the old canal zone.  I was so far behind that I needed tutoring in math to catch up with the kids on my grade.
 
Nowadays, you can find really great private schools in most places in Panama.  I live in Coronado, Panama and I have a 4 year old who is attending a private school.  Both my wife and I feel she will receive a top notch education here.
 
The only thing I wish they had in her school that they do not have currently are Mandarin classes.  There are at least two schools in Panama City that teach Mandarin which I believe will give any child a huge competitive advantage in the future.
 
Now, the public schools I do not recommend.  Most of them, in my opinion, are rudimentary at best and need a lot of improvement.  
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
EDUCATION AND SCHOOLS IN PANAMA
 
Education in Panamá is provided from very isolated areas in the mountains, to the very sophisticated schools in the city.
 
In order to graduate from private high school in Panamá, the student must speak at least two languages.
 
Public schools are making a great effort to improve languages and other subjects, as growth and development increases in the country.  And for that purpose, this Administration completed a program of giving every student in the public system a free laptop to be able to work on their assignments at home, and to introduce them to technology.  The government has also installed free internet everywhere in the country, in order to increase the quality of life of their residents.
 
There are excellent and numerous private schools and universities in Panamá , spread all over the country, mainly in the city, for every need and budget.
 
This government has created many alliances with international schools and higher educational centers, like Arkansas University, Georgia Tech, schools and colleges in the UK, among many others, to benefit  Panamanian students with scholarships, and many graduates who otherwise would not have had this great opportunity, are very pleased with results.
 
Careers in Panamá go from marketing to marine specialists, to all areas of engineering, and everything in between.  
 
More than ever, Panamá offers quality bilingual elementary and high schools.  Maybe some public schools still need to be improved, but with good will and attitude, everything can be accomplished.
 
Some expats are doing extraordinary volunteer work with students, with these volunteers contributing their talent and their time, accomplishing a great deal not only in education, but in profit organizations for all underprivileged people. 
 

Go Here Next

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".

Contact/Support

Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Suggestions
Press
Phone: (US) 520-940-0481