Education in Colombia

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How can Colombia improve both the quality and equity of its education system while also addressing efficiency challenges? Despite a fundamental transformation of its education system over the past two decades, Colombia faces two critical challenges: high levels of inequality from the earliest years and low levels of quality across its education system. This report assesses Colombia’s policies and practices against the best approaches in education and skills from across the OECD. It analyses its education system’s major strengths and the challenges it faces, from early childhood education and care to tertiary education. With insights drawn from international research, it offers recommendations on how Colombia can improve quality and equity to reach its goal of being the “most educated” country in Latin America by 2025. This report will be of interest in Colombia as well as other countries looking to raise the quality, equity and efficiency of their education systems.



Executive summary

Over the past two decades the Colombian education system has undergone a fundamental transformation. Access to education has been a priority, with ambitious policies to expand enrolment at every level and bring education services to every corner of the country. In just a decade, school life expectancy has increased by two years and participation in early childhood education and care (ECEC ) and tertiary education has more than doubled, to 40% and 50%, respectively. An increasing focus on learning outcomes has led to major reforms of the teaching profession and the establishment of a strong evaluation system. Improved governance and funding arrangements have laid the foundations for a system that is more efficient and meets the needs of a very diverse country. Nationwide consultations on education reform have forged a strong societal commitment to improvement. Together, these policies have brought the Colombian education system to a turning point on the eve of a post-conflict era.


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