Panama Country Guide

Everything you need to know about moving to Panama

Expats Guide to Schools in Panama

Young expat families have options when it comes to schooling in Panama

For families with children moving abroad, one of the most significant considerations is where to go to school. Luckily, Panam aboasts a range of high quality schooling options.

Navigate page

Overview of Schooling in Panama

Panama offers a diverse and thriving educational landscape for expatriates, catering to various international curricula. Notable schools for expats include the International School of Panama (ISP) and Balboa Academy, both accredited institutions offering programs from pre-kindergarten through high school. These schools provide a multicultural environment, fostering a global perspective among students. The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is widely available, offering a rigorous and internationally recognized curriculum. Expatriate families in Panama can choose from a range of schools that prioritize academic excellence, cultural diversity, and the development of well-rounded individuals.

Public Schools in Panama

The public school system in Panama is overseen by the Ministry of Education, and education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15. The system is divided into three cycles: pre-primary, primary, and secondary education. Pre-primary education serves children aged 4 to 6, primary education covers grades 1 to 6, and secondary education spans grades 7 to 12. The curriculum is designed to meet national educational standards and is delivered in Spanish.


While the public school system in Panama is continuously improving, challenges such as unequal distribution of resources and varying educational quality across regions persist. Some urban areas may have more well-equipped schools compared to rural counterparts. Additionally, the language of instruction in public schools is predominantly Spanish, which can be a consideration for expatriate families seeking an English-language education for their children. Despite these challenges, public schools in Panama play a crucial role in providing education to a significant portion of the population and contribute to the country’s overall educational development.

Not sure where to start?

Speak with an international relocation specialist for free

Private Schools in Panama

Panama boasts a robust and diverse private school system that caters to the needs of expatriates and locals seeking high-quality education with an international focus. Many private schools in Panama offer bilingual programs, incorporating both English and Spanish into their curriculum. These institutions often follow international educational models, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or American curriculum, providing students with a globally recognized education. Notable private schools in Panama include the International School of Panama (ISP), Balboa Academy, and King’s College Panama, each known for their commitment to academic excellence and cultural diversity.


Private schools in Panama typically have state-of-the-art facilities, smaller class sizes, and a wide range of extracurricular activities. They often place a strong emphasis on fostering a global mindset and preparing students for an international academic environment. While private education in Panama comes with a tuition fee, many expatriate families find the investment worthwhile for the personalized attention, language immersion, and comprehensive educational experience these institutions provide. The private school system in Panama plays a pivotal role in meeting the diverse educational needs of the country’s expatriate community and locals seeking a world-class education.

International Schools in Panama

Panama’s international schools cater to the diverse expatriate community and locals seeking an education with a global perspective. These schools, such as the International School of Panama (ISP) and Knightsbridge Schools International Panama, typically follow international curricula like the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the Cambridge International Curriculum. They offer an English-language education, making them particularly attractive for expatriate families looking for a seamless transition for their children. The student body in international schools is often culturally diverse, fostering an inclusive environment that reflects the global nature of these institutions.


International schools in Panama focus not only on academic excellence but also on holistic development, emphasizing extracurricular activities, community service, and language proficiency. With state-of-the-art facilities and a commitment to providing a well-rounded education, these schools prepare students for the challenges of an increasingly interconnected world. The presence of international schools contributes significantly to Panama’s appeal as an expatriate-friendly destination, offering top-tier education that aligns with global standards and prepares students for a successful future on the international stage.

Homeschooling in Panama

Homeschooling in Panama is a legal and viable option for families seeking an alternative to traditional school settings. While homeschooling regulations may vary across regions, parents generally have the flexibility to design a personalized curriculum tailored to their child’s needs and learning style. The Ministry of Education in Panama recognizes homeschooling as a legitimate form of education, allowing families to take charge of their children’s educational journey. This approach can be particularly appealing to expatriate families in Panama who desire greater flexibility in their children’s education or have specific cultural or language preferences.


Homeschooling families in Panama often utilize various resources, including online educational platforms, textbooks, and educational support groups, to enhance their children’s learning experience. The flexibility of homeschooling allows families to incorporate real-world experiences and cultural immersion into their curriculum, taking advantage of Panama’s rich environment and diverse learning opportunities. While homeschooling does require commitment and planning, it provides a unique avenue for families to create an educational experience that aligns closely with their values and goals.

Browse our Panama Country Guide

StartAbroad client reviews

Join our mailing list

Receive monthly newsletters, special offers, insider information, and more.

Receive StartAbroad's Free Relocation Checklist