Education in Colombia




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The educational model of Colombia resembles that of the Netherlands. Colombia works with a primary and a secondary school. In 1886 in the law is included that education is regulated by the Ministry of Education. There is also a law that 10% of the budget of the government must be spent on education. The language of instruction is Spanish. There are schools in which instruction is in English, German or French, but these are private schools and must be paid for. Most Colombians can't pay that much.


Textbooks are not issued by the school or put on loan by the school. People must buy their own books. At the time a school has a particular method (book) it is used for about 3 years. Books are available in local bookstores.


Primary school (Educación básica primaria) 6-12

Children between 6 and 12 years go to primary school. This school is free. In 2001, 86.7% of children attending this school. 89% of these children succeed. In 2002 a rule changed that up to 5% of students at a school may sit a year. Because of this people automatically go to the next year. As regards the delay whatsoever so. This rule tries to push de costs down for the goverment.

In Colombia the primary and secondary education use a uniform. This is so that all children have the same clothes. So you cannot identify if someone is from a family wich is rich or poor.

Elementary school comprises 5 years of formal education. Children usually enroll into grade 1, at age five. The net primary enrollment (percentage of relevant age-group) attending elementary school (primaria) in 2001 totaled 89.5 percent. In some rural areas, teachers are poorly qualified and drop rates are high. In urban areas, on the other hand, teachers are generally well prepared and knowledgeable of their profession.


However Colombia developed the method of teaching, known as Escuela Nueva or “New School”. The method transforms the conventional learning paradigm where the teacher is the only one talking and conveying information in a classroom. The idea is that students are placed in the center of the learning process in rural communities. Decades after the model was first developed in 1975, Escuela Nueva has received support — including financial — from the Colombian government, Unesco, and The World Bank, and was implemented into a national educational policy in Colombia in the late 1980s. By 1988, Unesco declared that Colombia was the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean where rural schools outperformed urban schools because of the Escuela Nueva method. Between 2007 and 2009, the program taught 700,000 children in Colombia, and the model is now implemented in 20,000 schools across the country. Escuela Nueva has now expanded internationally to 17 countries, including Brazil, the Philippines and India, benefiting more than five million children.



Secondary education (Educación secundaria) 12-16

After primary school children go to secondary school. This takes just as in the Netherlands four years. The first two years is generally, the last 2 years attempting to form a career. The problem is that only people with a reasonable income are able to move their children to the university for further study.

Secondary school

See also: List of schools in Colombia

Secondary and fourth education is divided in basic secondary (grades 6 to 9) and mid secondary (grades 10 and 11). The mid-secondary education (usually beginning at the age of 15 or 16) offers many different "tracks", which all lead to their own "Bachiller" after a curriculum of two years. Out of the usual academic curriculum (Bachillerato Académicoi), the students can follow one of the following technical tracks(Bachillerato en Tecnología o Applicado): Industrial track (Bachillerato Industrial), Commercial track (Bachillerato Commercial), Pedagogical Track (Bachillerato Pedagogico), Agricultural Track (Bachillerato Agropecuario), social promotion track (bachillerato de Promocionio Social).

The "Bachiller" is required to continue into academic or professional higher Education. Nonetheless, technical and professional institutions of higher Education can also welcome students with a "qualification in Arts and business". This qualification is granted by the SENA after a two years curriculum.


University (Educación universitaria)

The University has two types of courses. For those with a certificate or people still need to get a certificate.

A graduate in Colombia takes 5 years. Have you finished university you get a master's or doctoral title. Also you can go to the university for refresher courses, but you must already have a diploma. You are then a few weeks or months in university to learn new things or to keep up with your profession.

Che Square or Santander Square, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá

University education is divided into under-graduate degrees and post-graduate degrees and is regulated by the 30th law of 1992. Most of the university degrees are 5 years long. Technical formation usually lasts 3 years. Post-graduate education includes specializations, masters and PhD programs.


Education for Employment and Human Development is regulated by law 1064 of 2006 and the 2888 decree of 2007. It provides a degree of technical education: skills and talents to improve the level of subsistence. Education for employment involves technical skills for work through the formation of "labor competences", which is a Colombian strategy to standardize and certify human resource, expanding and diversify the formation and training of human resources. It includes the education provided by the enterprises to their employees. The Colombian government promotes this kind of education as an alternative to university education, which is not accessible for the majority. Some institutions that provide this services are SENA (national service of learning), CESDE, ANDAP, and INCAP among others.


Technical training

After the secundary education you can do a technical training. This is between 2 to 3 years.





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